Barletta Announces Creation of Congressional Afterschool Caucus, Named Republican Co-Chair
HAZLETON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today announced the formation of the Congressional Afterschool Caucus, of which he will serve as the Republican Co-Chair. The caucus brings together a group of bipartisan lawmakers to support afterschool programs and advocate for sufficient resources to promote quality educational programming in Pennsylvania and across the country.
Barletta, a member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, has long been a champion of afterschool programs such as Schools and Homes in Education (SHINE), located in Carbon, Luzerne, and Schuylkill counties. SHINE is a successful afterschool program geared towards grades K-8 and focuses on a project-based STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) curriculum. The program links schools and homes in order to help children build a stronger academic and social foundation.
“I am proud to lead the Congressional Afterschool Caucus along with my Democratic colleague, Congresswoman Nita Lowey of New York,” said Barletta. “Afterschool programs, like SHINE, give students of all ages the opportunity to have brighter futures while also helping working families. When you give young children hope and the possibility of what their futures can be, there’s no stopping them. I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to continue advocating for programs like SHINE, and believe the caucus will be helpful in educating other members about the positive impacts of afterschool programming.”
Since coming to Congress, Barletta has fought for programs supporting afterschool education. For example, upon learning that the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Program, which provides funding for programs like SHINE, was slated for elimination in February 2015, Barletta worked painstakingly to ensure its survival. As a result of his efforts, the 21st CCLC Program was approved on a bipartisan basis in the Every Student Succeeds Act, legislation reauthorizing our elementary and secondary education programs.
Just last week, Barletta voted for, and the House passed, an amendment that restored the funding for the 21st CCLC Program to $1.1 billion, preserving afterschool programming for over 100,000 students across the nation. The program's funding was originally slated to be cut to a funding level of $1 billion. The amendment restoring $100 million of the program’s funding passed the House by a bipartisan vote of 228 to 118.
“Afterschool programs are critical to fostering student development and achievement through activities that complement classroom learning, and they are also indispensable for parents who need a safe and educational alternative to costly child care,” said Congresswoman Lowey. “I look forward to once again serving as Co-Chair of the Congressional Afterschool Caucus and to working with our members to support afterschool programs and to highlight the good work these programs do for families in our communities.”
“We are thrilled that Representatives Lou Barletta (R-PA) and Nita Lowey (D-NY) will co-chair the House Afterschool Caucus this year,” said Jodi Grant, executive director of the Afterschool Alliance. “Both are powerful, longtime champions who understand the essential role that afterschool and summer learning programs play in keeping kids safe, inspiring them to learn and helping working families. The Caucus has never had stronger leadership, and we have never needed it more than we do right now, when we are facing unprecedented threats to federal funding for afterschool. The decisions Congress makes in the next few months will help shape the future for millions of students and families as well as their schools and communities.”
Barletta has consistently been recognized for his work on behalf of afterschool programs. Last year, Barletta was the only House member to receive the 2016 Congressional Voice for Children Award from the National Parent Teacher Association, as a result of his leadership in saving federal funding for afterschool programs. He was also named an “Afterschool Hero” by the Afterschool Alliance for his strong support and work on learning programs. And, the Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network named him an Afterschool Champion for his commitment, dedication, and outstanding work on learning programs.