Urge Congress to Support the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program in the Senate Every Child Achieves Act

Yesterday, a letter was delivered to Capitol Hill to urge Congress to support the 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) program. Among other important initiatives, CCLC supports expanded learning time (ELT). Our organization is proud to be a signatory.

Signatories represent a broad and diverse coalition of 671 organizations, including 112 national organizations - among them, Afterschool Alliance, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Citizen Schools, and the YMCA of the USA – and community leaders, teachers, and principals representing all 50 states. 21st CCLC programs nationwide offer 1.6 million, mostly low-income, students a critical set of services and supports in a range of areas including fitness, nutrition, arts, social and emotional well-being, STEM, youth justice, safety, and academic support.

Together, we as signatories, are calling on Congress to maintain the Title IV language in S. 1177, the Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA), which authorizes the 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) initiative as a separate and specific federal funding stream.There is a groundswell of support for the Senate 21st CCLC language, which passed unanimously and by bipartisan vote through the Senate HELP (Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions) committee in the spring. This language will allow schools and community organizations across the United States to continue offering expanded learning time opportunities to our students.

The overwhelming support of 21st CCLC is no surprise; this federal program has had far-reaching impacts in our communities. 21st CCLC leverages school and community partnerships to maximize federal funding to help millions of children become successful in school and life. More than a decade of research shows that students participating in these programs demonstrate improvements in homework completion, class participation and attendance.  For many communities, these services are a non-negotiable. They are part of the fabric of community life.

Our President and co-founder, Jennifer Davis, sums up the importance of this timely advocacy effort:

The 21st Century program provides crucial federal support for expanded-time schools that integrate community partners into the school day to increase learning time for students for core academics and engaging enrichment programs, as well as creating planning, collaboration, and professional development time for teachers. The Senate’s version of the reauthorization will preserve the grant program that so many districts and families rely on, while making it more flexible for local communities and schools to choose how to expand learning opportunities for their students.

We are proud to stand as part of this unprecedented coalition supporting expanded learning opportunities for all students.