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Written by Jodi Grant   
Thursday, 15 January 2015 12:35

In 2009, the parents of 15.3 million children said they would enroll their child in an afterschool program if one were available.  Today, parents of nearly 20 million children want to enroll. For every child in an afterschool program, two more children are waiting to get in. 

And here’s where I get really excited—put all that demand together, and  we are now at a point where more than half of all school-age children in the U.S. are in an afterschool program, or would be if more programs were available.  Nearly 30 million students—more than the entire population of Texas—would be in afterschool programs today if the resources existed.

With this level of demand, we cannot accept cuts, budget delays and battles.  Afterschool is a new norm for our families, and it cannot be ignored as an extra, an option, the item first to go when belts are tightened.  Digging further in the data, we see parents paying more than ever for these services. Because they need afterschool, and they value what programs are doing for their children.  8 in 10 parents want more tax dollars invested in afterschool programs.

That leads me to the other exciting trend in the data:  the public is developing a better understanding of the potential of afterschool.  A place for hands-on learning, to explore different subjects, to work in teams and problem solve.  An environment that complements school day lessons but provides a different setting and approach.  Parents report that programs help develop workforce skills, and excite kids about learning.  We didn’t hear much about that from parents ten years ago.  Today, the public is ahead of our policymakers.  It’s our job to help them catch up.  

If you are as fired up as I am, let your Member of Congress know what programs are doing for kids and families in your community—and how many children are being left out in your state.

Last Updated on Friday, 26 June 2015 10:51