Proposal calls for $765 million investment in afterschool programming, community learning schools and full-day kindergarten
Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein, and members of the IDC, released, The 50 Hour Learning Week, a policy report calling for a total $550 million investment to expand afterschool programming, $155 million to create community schools and a $60 million fund to ensure every child has a seat in full-day kindergarten.
This comprehensive approach to education targets students’ needs both inside and outside of the classroom by expanding traditional school hours and filling after hours time with enriching activities that wind up saving taxpayers billions of dollars in the long run on childcare costs, remedial education programs and crime reduction benefits.
“New York State’s students deserve rich learning opportunities that seal their future success. Afterschool programs and the expansion of community schools place students in innovative learning environments well beyond traditional classroom hours, keeping them focused and performing at higher levels. The best investment we can make is in our children which is why the IDC wants to implement its 50 hour Learning Week proposal,” said Senator Klein.
“Our upstate students need expanded programming to receive the education they deserve — and that’s exactly what The 50 Hour Learning Week report and proposal will do. Many schools upstate would significantly benefit from the community learning school model — and this proposal would provide those schools the funding they need to support their students and families. Expanding afterschool programming and full-day kindergarten would also ensure that our students are receiving the education they need to prepare them for a bright future,” said Senator David Valesky.
“The 50 Hour Learning Week proposes an ambitious program that would expand education for all of New York’s students. These three key areas — afterschool programming, community learning schools, and full-day kindergarten are vital programs to ensure that our education system is supporting our students and families outside of the traditional school hours. In addition to helping students and families throughout the state, this proposal would save taxpayers millions in educational development costs and crime prevention, while resulting in higher earnings for New York’s future. It’s common sense — let’s support our students, families and the state,” said Senator Diane Savino.
“Students across our state deserve the best education that New York has to offer. The proposed 50 Hour Learning Week will provide our students with the tools they need to shape their academic success both inside and outside of the classroom. Their future is in our hands, let’s ensure that future is bright” said Senator David Carlucci.
“Right now, there are too many children that have not yet reached their full potential because we have not given them the tools yet to reach it. Studies have been conclusive: Access to after-school programming and the availability of all-day kindergarten has a far reaching butterfly effect on the life of a child and we need to do everything we can to ensure that they have an opportunity for a successful life. Like everything, success lies in building a strong foundation and it is exactly that foundation that the IDC is trying to establish for kids throughout New York State,” said Senator Tony Avella.
Extensive research has shown that afterschool programs lead to overall student development, lower a child’s risk of criminal activity, alleviate parents of child care stress, and reduce long-term financial costs to the state. Students who participate in afterschool programs are less likely to be referred to remedial or special education courses and are 2.1 percent less likely to repeat a grade, all of which have higher costs to the state.
The report reveals that for every $1 invested in afterschool programming, taxpayers save a whopping $3 — a savings of 300 percent.
For afterschool crime prevention programs, the benefits are even larger. Research shows that violent juvenile crime arrests peak by 20 percent, each hour, and youth victimized by violent crimes peak by 25 percent, each hour, during the after school hours. However, every $1 invested yields $5.92 in crime reduction benefits to the state.
The IDC proposes investing an increase of $301 million in afterschool programs to create 128,000 new seats for 167,000 students. This investment could save New York State taxpayers nearly $1 billion and yield nearly $2 billion in crime reduction benefits.
Community Learning Schools
Initially established by the Community Schools Grant Initiative in 2014, community learning schools provide students and their families rich, comprehensive programming for before and after school hours aimed at supporting communities through social services, as well as nutritional, medical, dental and mental health services. Analysis of 130 existing community learning schools has shown that this programming can increase student attendance, reduce chronic absenteeism and improve high school graduation rates by an average of 11 percent.
The IDC proposes a $50 million investment this year for Community Schools on top of the proposed $100 million by the Executive. In total, a the IDC would like to see a $200 million investment over four-years to establish 400 new community schools across the state. In addition, another $5 million should fund existing Community Schools.
For many young students, kindergarten can close the achievement gaps that are a result of income and education disparities in the home. Studies have shown that students who attend full-day kindergarten perform better throughout their academic years, and eventually obtain higher paid jobs, which in turn also leads to more tax revenue for the state.
It is estimated that if each student was given the opportunity to attend full-day kindergarten, the state could receive an additional $25 million in accumulated benefits.
While many school districts have a demand for full-day kindergarten, they lack the operation funds and capital expense money to expand their program. Over 30 school districts could benefit from new funds that would cover capital expenses for kindergarten program expansion.
Senate Bill S. 863-A, sponsored by Senator Carlucci and championed in the IDC’s New York 2020 Agenda: A Blueprint for a Better New York, would establish the Kindergarten Conversion Fund, which would use unclaimed lottery money to fund kindergarten programs, as well as related capital expenses, throughout New York State. The Kindergarten Conversion Fund could result in $60 million in additional funding for kindergarten programs, annually.