White House: There’s No Evidence After-School Programs Help Kids’ Performance

Mar 16, 2017

The White House claimed on Thursday that there's no evidence students benefit from after school programs, which President Donald Trump's proposed budget would stop funding.

The budget eliminates funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers, which supports before and after school programs for 1.6 million children, the Washington Post reports. Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney claimed at a press conference that there's no evidence those programs benefit student performance.

"They're supposed to be educational programs, right?" Mulvaney said to reporters. "Guess what? There's no demonstrable evidence they're actually doing that. There's no demonstrable evidence they're actually helping results, they're helping kids do better in school.

He continued, "The way we justified it was: these programs are going to help these kids do better in school and get better jobs. And we can't prove that that's happening."

Studies have shown that after school programs do help students' performance in terms of metrics such as grades, test scores, attendance, participation ratings and more. Research from the Global Family Research Project (formerly the Harvard Family Research Project) backs that up. So does research from the Afterschool Alliance, a nonpartisan organization that supports programs and resources for students.

Heather Weiss, the founder of the former Harvard Family Research Project, told the Washington Post that the White House assertion did not match research.

“There is a lot of evidence,” she told the Post. “Engaging kids in high-quality after-school and programs, many of which are supported by 21st Century Community Learning Centers grants, results in kids doing better in school. They’re more likely to graduate and to excel in the labor market.”

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