George W. Bush 2000 On The IssuesAfter-School Enrichment
“Everyone agrees there is a problem in these empty, unsupervised hours after school. But those hours should not only be filled with sports and play, they should include lessons in responsibility and character. The federal government already funds after-school programs. But charities and faith-based organizations are prevented from participating. In my administration they will be invited to participate. We will empower parents with more choices in after-school programs.”
-- Governor George W. Bush
After-school programs engage children in a wide variety of productive activities. In addition to academic lessons, these can include lessons in responsibility and character, time with mentors and other role models. Studies indicate that after-school and community enrichment programs help reduce drug abuse, teen pregnancy, and criminal behavior by providing supervised activities during the peak hours for juvenile crime. For example, a study by Columbia University found that housing projects with Boys and Girls Clubs have 13 percent fewer juvenile arrests and 22 percent less drug activity than projects without Clubs. An evaluation by Public/Private Ventures found that kids who were part of the Big Brothers/Big Sisters after-school mentoring program were half as likely to begin illegal drug use or have hit someone; and were 38 percent less likely to initiate alcohol use.
Unfortunately, federal after-school programs tend to discourage the participation of some of the most effective groups, including faith-based and other community organizations. For example, under the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which is one of the largest federal sources of funding for after-school activities, only schools are eligible to compete for funds. The Administration has, as part of its plan to re-authorize the 21st Century program, proposed opening just 10 percent of the program’s funding to competitive bidding.
In addition, the current structure of federal after-school programs does not give parents the flexibility or resources they need to choose the right program for their child. Although three-fourths of elementary and middle school parents said they would want their children in after-school programs, only 31 percent of primary school children and 39 percent of middle school children actually attend after-school programs. As President, Governor Bush will take a more inclusive approach to after-school enrichment and will:
Open the Entire 21st Century Program to Competition: Governor Bush will introduce legislation to open 100 percent of the 21st Century program’s funding to competitive bidding. This will allow youth development groups, local charities, churches, synagogues, mosques and other community and faith-based organizations to compete for these federal funds on an equal footing with schools. Preference will be given to partnerships between schools and these groups.
Fund New After-School Programs Using Certificates: Governor Bush will empower lower-income parents by providing certificates to help defray the cost of after-school activities of their choosing – whether run by a community group, a neighborhood church, or a local school. An additional $400 million a year will be added to the Child Care Development Block Grant to the states to help 500,000 low-income parents pay for after-school programs.
Source: George W. Bush for President 2000 Web Site
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