Congress should reject Trump’s budget proposal

The recent budget proposal from the White House included a shocker: The president wants to eliminate the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative, the main federal funding stream for afterschool programs. More astonishing was the rationale the White House offered: The budget chief said there’s “no demonstrable evidence” that after-school works.

He is flat wrong about that. Study after study has provided evidence that after-school programs work. They help improve students’ grades and test scores. They help improve attendance and behavior during the regular school day, building blocks of future success.

They help keep kids develop lifelong habits like physical activity and making health choices. They keep kids safe during a time of day when they might otherwise find trouble. They make it possible for their working parents to keep their jobs.

That’s what the research says, and there’s plenty of it.

STEMworks AFTERschool is an after-school program at Maui Waena Intermediate, Lahaina Intermediate, Lanai High and Elementary, Pukalani Elementary and Lokelani Intermediate serving more than 650 students a year, and we keep careful track of results. The evaluation from last school year shows that 77 percent of the students reported improvement in math and 63 percent of students reported improvement in science. www.stemworkshawaii.org.

Federal support for after school is modest, but crucial. Congress should reject the president’s proposal to cut it.

Paula Adams

Executive Director

Hawaii Afterschool Alliance

Honolulu

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