Barletta Calls on Education Secretary to Restore SHINE Funding
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) recently sent a letter to U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos requesting that the Trump Administration reconsider its proposal to eliminate the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Program, which provides federal funding for afterschool programs such as SHINE. Earlier this month, Barletta sent a letter to Office of Budget and Management Director Mick Mulvaney calling on the administration to preserve federal funding for afterschool programs. Barletta and state Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) have been leading advocates for SHINE, or “Schools and Homes in Education,” which is a successful educational program in Carbon, Luzerne, and Schuylkill counties that receives nearly half of its funding from the 21st CCLC program.
“I write to express my unwavering support for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Program and for afterschool programming across the country,” Barletta wrote. “I have seen firsthand the positive impact that this dedicated funding stream has had on students and their families, which is why I have consistently worked with my colleagues in the House to preserve its existence. Therefore, I urge the Trump Administration, with your leadership, to reconsider its proposal to eliminate the 21st CCLC Program.”
SHINE is an afterschool program for students in grades kindergarten-eight that focuses on a project-based STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) curriculum. The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning recently analyzed 75 studies of 68 afterschool programs and found that students showed improved behavior and performed better academically than students who did not participate in afterschool programs. And according to a study from 2007 to 2012, of the 1,600 students who participated in SHINE during that period, 79 percent improved their academic performance; 96 percent advanced to the next grade; and 92 percent had exceptionally good or satisfactory attendance.
This is not the first time that the 21st CCLC program has been slated for elimination. Beginning in February 2015, Barletta began working to save the program after an early version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization eliminated it. As a result of Barletta’s efforts, the 21st CCLC program was reauthorized on a bipartisan basis under the Every Student Succeeds Act.
“When you awaken the minds of young children with hope and possibility of what their futures can be, there’s not stopping them,” Barletta said. “That’s what afterschool programs achieve, and we must work to clear the way for more students to be successful."
Barletta has been recognized for his work on behalf of afterschool programs, such as SHINE. Last year, Barletta was the only House member to receive the 2016 Congressional Voice for Children Award from the National Parent Teacher Association, due to his leadership in saving federal funding for after-school 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.
Click here to view the letter to Secretary DeVos.