Only one in four U.S. children attend summer learning programs, according to a new analysis by the Afterschool Alliance. That means this summer that approximately 24 million schoolchildren who likely would enroll in such programs will go without.
“For millions of children in America, when schools close for the summer, safe and enriching learning environments are out of reach, replaced by boredom, lost opportunities, and risk,” the alliance found in revisiting data from the study, “America After 3 P.M.” The study’s findings are based on a survey of nearly 30,000 American households in 2009.
The summer learning report comes at a difficult time for summer school programs generally. As this Associated Press story makes clear, many communities are cutting summer school for budget reasons.
The alliance’s findings hold significant implications for poor children, who typically fall behind their better-off peers with access to formal and informal summer learning options. “If we are to overcome the achievement gap, we must find ways to increase opportunities for high-quality summer learning and encourage more children to participate in them,” Nancy Devine, the director of communities for the Wallace Foundation, said in a press release on the summer learning study. The “America After 3 P.M. Special Report on Summer” is sponsored by the Wallace Foundation.
That said, all is not lost. Stay tuned...later today, I’ll be writing with more encouraging news from the National Summer Learning Association.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Beyond School blog.