The 21st-Century Community Learning Centers, which receives federal funding to provide after-school and summer programs and other enrichment activities, needs more oversight, finds a new report from the federal Government Accountability Office.
The U.S. Department of Education “lacks useful data” about the programs’ effects on children’s attendance and discipline, even though research suggests the program helps in those areas, the GAO found. Programs receiving grant money tend to have a more positive effect on behavioral outcomes than on reading and math scores, the report says, but only 26 states choose to measure either the attendance or disciplinary records of students who participate, or both. Moreover, the Education Department had not set any performance measures for social-emotional skills, though social-skill development is one of the program’s goals, the GAO found.
A version of this article appeared in the May 10, 2017 edition of Education Week as Extracurricular Activities