"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Monday, March 20, 2017

"They're Supposed to Feed Them So They Do Better in School"

Arguing that after-school and summer programs have not shown evidence of being effective, the Trump administration is now proposing to eliminate $1.2 billion in grants for these programs. Providing nutrition to needy children is obviously a benefit in itself. On the other side of the globe, Manila archbishop Tagle has called for Catholics to participate in Fast2Feed, a program that provides nutritious meals to thousands of poor children in the Philippines. The faithful are encouraged not just to fast but also exercise acts of charity during the current Lenten season.

Above copied from the Philippine Star
For Trump's budget director, Mick Mulvaney, true compassion is not asking its citizens to pay taxes for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC), a program according to Mulvaney, "does not work". In justifying the elimination of this after-school program, Mulvaney said:
"Let's talk about after-school programs generally. They're supposed to be educational programs, right? And that's what they're supposed to do, they're supposed to help kids who can't — who don't get fed at home, get fed so that they do better at school. Guess what? There's no demonstrable evidence they're actually doing that. There's no demonstrable evidence they're actually helping results, helping kids do better at school."
The problem with the Trump administration is its flagrant disregard of facts. There is evidence:
For the 2013-2014 academic school year, 9,556 centers received federal funding to implement the 21st CCLC grant. The majority of these were classified as school districts with community-based organizations following second. This program has served a total of over 2.2 million people and employed 116,845 paid and 31,054 volunteer staff. The majority of the paid staff were school day teachers and most of the volunteers were reported to be college students.

The inclusion of school day teachers as the primary means of staffing the program is a critical aspect to program success. Education professionals who can bridge the school day with out-of-school time staff the afterschool program. This best practice is a hallmark of high quality. The statistical results also support the value of this program. Both in mathematics and literacy/English, students showed improvement in achievement. This was further supported by teacher evaluations of student improvement both in achievement and behavior.

Over the past year this program served 1.8 million students across 54 states/territories. This translates to 1.8 million low-income students having a safe place to receive academic enrichment. This enrichment leads to improvement in achievement and behavior. In the long run these areas of improvement, as well as 21st CCLC students developing a positive relationship to school through their participation, means that these students are more likely to persist to graduation. The data and performance indicate that this broad reaching program touches students’ lives in ways that will have far reaching academic impact.
Yes, we can leave the obligation to care for the poor to the religious like the way they do in the Philippines. But our government is supposedly a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. We are the government and obviously we can choose to take care of the needy. If Trump cuts funding to programs that help poor children in school, I hope we do understand that we indeed have made the choice. In Trump, we simply chose not to care anymore.



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