School is out and the Oregon State Legislature almost is too. If you haven't reached out to your state legislators about why afterschool is important to you and your community- now is the time.
State Budget Update
With revenue reform attempts over for the session, the legislature is achieving needed cost containment by cutting both tax expenditures and existing programs. The Legislature passed a package of bills that will ensure Oregonians retain access to health care- the provider tax we've talked about before. Beyond that, the legislature is reducing the cost of delivering state services- mostly by cutting existing programs.
The legislature is still in session for about another two weeks, and we won't know what will make the cut until it closes. Now is the time to contact your legislators and ask them to advocate for families and children and oppose cuts to safety net programs.
The school year has in part always been based on adult working-schedules. During the early 1800s, school was open during the winter and summer so children could help with the spring planting and fall harvesting. In the late 1800s, summer was designated as a time for family vacations and a break for students- experts at the time worried about the stress and physical damage of being in school nonstop. Our current summer landscape has been in place since the 1930s when it became a model of remediation and credit recovery for students struggling academically.
The need for more summer programming is high not only because of parental demand, but also the costs of summer vacation/care, academic losses and summer food insecurity. Summer learning loss accounts for 2/3 of the achievement gap of low income youth and often holds back entire classes as teachers are forced to spend at least a month re-teaching material students forgot over the summer. In Oregon, only one out of every six kids served by the National School Lunch Program during the previous school year was reached was reached by the Summer Nutrition Programs. This gap in access not only contributes to summer hunger, but both physical and emotional-developmental issues that make it harder on them to learn when school starts back in the fall.
Read our Smart Summers Report for more information on why summer matters and the particular issues surrounding summer programming.
Summer Learning Advocates Hill Day
With federal budget cuts looming for summer programs as well as afterschool, the
National Summer Learning Association brought together members from its network of youth advocates for a Day at the Hill this week. They sought to raise awareness of the importance of summer learning experiences, advocate for greater resources for local summer learning programming, and foster greater communication between Congress and local summer learning alternatives.
See highlights of the event here.
This advocacy event was part of the lead-up to National Summer Learning Day on July 13th. Show your support for summer programming by hosting or attending a Summer Learning Day Event!
Staying Up to Date with State Policy
We know how important it is to stay up-to-date on current state legislation and encourage those of you who are interested to know more about the happenings in Salem, you can follow bills directly from theOregon State Legislatureor contactJames Bartato get weekly updates from Children First about a plethora of child related issues.
Take Individual Action
You can make a difference. Call on congress to protect funding for afterschool and summer learning programs. Need help finding your legislators?
Click HERE. Need talking points to support your own stories of afterschool? HERE is evidence showing that Afterschool Works.
Thank you for your support of afterschool in Oregon and across the nation.
OregonASK is a collaboration of public and private organizations and community members which seek to address common-issues and concerns across all out-of-school time services- child care, recreation, education and youth development.