In their Dec. 20 column, “Increase funding for after-school care” (Ideas), Gail Cornwall and Leslie Einhorn correctly highlight the federal government’s failure to maintain proper supports for children after the school day is over. It is important to note, however, Massachusetts’ growing commitment to them. In the latest state budget, the Quality Enhancements in After-School and Out-of-School Time (ASOST) grant was funded at historically high levels, which will give thousands of more students access to high-quality programs. Further, the state’s Every Student Succeeds Act gives local school superintendents the ability to direct funds toward after-school programming.
As data have continually shown the effectiveness of this critical programming, more policy makers at the State House have come to the table to champion the cause. The Legislature’s Afterschool and Out-of-School Time Coordinating Council found that too many Massachusetts children still lack access to after-school and summer learning programs, and recommended creating dedicated funding streams — including tapping revenue from the sale of recreational cannabis and creating tax incentives for businesses that invest in these programs. Federal lawmakers should look to the leadership of those in Massachusetts who have worked diligently over the past 20-plus years to grow the quality and accessibility of after-school programming.
CEO, Massachusetts Afterschool Partnership