Senate Committee Passes Key Before and Afterschool Amendment

Abbie Evans, Director of Government Relations
April 15th, 2015
Posted In: Advocacy

April 2015

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, or No Child Left Behind) is several years overdue for re-authorization but has been caught up in partisan fighting over key provisions like assessments, accountability and uses of funding. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee considered a bipartisan update of the law this week. A bipartisan amendment introduced by Sen. Murkowski (R-AK) in the Senate committee protects the current structure of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant, that provides funds for before and after-school activities, including mentoring. The amendment will continue to allow community-based organizations and nonprofits to apply for grants aligned to school achievement standards.

SenateCommitteeIn February, The House education committee passed their own version of the ESEA update, which streamlined many youth-specific programs including the 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant. Unfortunately, in this version the grant is likely to receive less funding overall and limits grant awards only to school districts, preventing community-based organizations from applying to run programs for students during or outside of the school day. With a recent report on grantees showing that 45 percent of all students participating improved
their reading grades, and 41 percent improved their math grades, the value of this funding is clear.

Both bills now must advance to a full vote in the House and Senate, respectfully, before legislators can begin working on hammering out the differences between the two versions. Until and unless an ESEA re-authorization bill passes Congress and is signed into law by the president, the current law will continue to direct education policy. This means we need supporters of before and after-school programming to reach out and express why funding is essential for the well-being of youth and local communities.

On Wednesday, April 15, the Senate education committee voted unanimously in favor of protecting community-based organizations access to 21st Century Community Learning Centers grants. Please consider sending the member representing your state a brief note of thanks on social media, by phone, email or letter.

Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee

Sen. Lamar Alexander (TN)
Sen. Michael Enzi (WY)
Sen. Richard Burr (NC)
Sen. Johnny Isakson (GA)
Sen. Rand Paul (KY)
Sen. Susan Collins (ME)
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (AK)
Sen. Mark Kirk (IL)
Sen. Tim Scott (SC)
Sen. Orrin Hatch (UT)
Sen. Pat Roberts (KS)
Sen. Bill Cassidy (LA)
Sen. Patty Murray (WA)
Sen. Barbara Murkowski (MD)
Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT)
Sen. Bob Casey (PA)
Sen. Al Franken (MN)
Sen. Michael Bennet (CO)
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (RI)
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (WI)
Sen. Chris Murphy (CT)
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA)

We will continue to provide updates on the progress of ESEA and the 21st Century grants as details unfold. Learn more about MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership’s advocacy efforts.


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