By Katie Landes, Director of GSAN
Last week, the U.S. Senate voted to pass the Every Child Achieves Act, a bipartisan bill to rewrite the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), by a vote of 81-17. The legislation passed with strong bipartisan language maintaining and strengthening the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program, which provides effective before-school, afterschool, and summer learning programs to more than 35,000 youth in Georgia and 1.6 million students across the country.
Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant released a statement in support of the passage of the bill, stating in part:
The Senate today took a huge step to strengthen our children’s future by preserving dedicated funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) in its Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization, the Every Child Achieves Act. Strong, bipartisan support for the afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs that keep kids safe, inspire them to learn, and help working families made this outcome possible.
As passed, the Every Child Achieves Act also includes language supporting STEM in afterschool and early education. In addition to the 21st CCLC language, all three amendments will help set Georgia’s – and the nation’s – youth on a path to be successful in school, careers, and life.
Thank you to the afterschool supports who called and emailed our Senators encouraging them to strengthen the federal commitment to afterschool and summer learning programs. Don’t forget to reach out to Senator Isakson and Senator Perdue to thank them for their support of the Every Child Achieves Act and the 21st CCLC program.
Now, the legislation will need to go to a conference committee with the bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this month. This bill eliminated the dedicated funding for the 21st CCLC program, so it is critical to continue making the case to Congress that 21st CCLC as strengthened by the Senate bill should be included in the final bill that is sent to the President’s desk.