Barletta Sees SHINE-Eligible Grants into Juvenile Justice Bill
Rep. Barletta (right) and state Sen. Yudichak read to SHINE students at Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Wilkes-Barre.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today voted for juvenile justice reform legislation containing a change he negotiated to enable afterschool programs – like the successful SHINE (Schools and Homes in Education) program in Pennsylvania – to compete for federal grants to keep students steered on the right path. During consideration of the bill earlier this month in the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Barletta succeeded in inserting afterschool programs into the list of eligible recipients of grants to states to prevent juvenile delinquency. The change means that states will be able to compete for five-year grants to help local leaders meet specific needs in keeping students headed in the right direction through programs such as SHINE. The bill, the Supporting Youth Opportunity and Preventing Delinquency Act (H.R. 5963), which Barletta co-sponsored, today passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 382-to-29 and now heads to the Senate for its consideration.
“We have seen the success of SHINE back home as a very effective afterschool program, giving kids much more productive ways to spend their time when the school day is over,” Barletta said. “I am very proud to have expanded access to more grants for programs like SHINE, because we have seen how effective they can be in giving children greater educational opportunities.”
SHINE has already been a success in Schuylkill and Carbon Counties and expanded to Luzerne County last fall in the Wilkes-Barre Area, Greater Nanticoke Area and Wyoming Valley West school districts. It expanded to Hazleton earlier this year. The program, geared to grades K-8, focuses on a project-based STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) curriculum. SHINE links schools to homes to help children build a stronger academic and social foundation.
Barletta and Pennsylvania state Senator John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) have championed SHINE together, working closely with Luzerne County host institution Wilkes University and its president, Patrick Leahy. Barletta was also instrumental in saving an important SHINE funding source, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program.
Beginning in February 2015, Barletta began painstakingly working to restore the 21st CCLC funding, which had been slated for elimination. Barletta, however, negotiated 14 changes to the base text of the bill in support of afterschool programs, and specifically the SHINE model, in the House Education and the Workforce Committee. He also engaged in a colloquy with committee Chairman John Kline (MN-2) to establish a record of support for such programs. On the floor of the House, Barletta spoke in support of his own successful amendment that requires school districts to report to state agencies on the use of Title I money for afterschool activities to further demonstrate the importance of such programs. Finally, when the legislation reached the conference committee, Barletta sent a letter to lead House and Senate negotiators imploring them to preserve the 21st CCLC program. As a result, the conference report passed authorized $1 billion in funding for the 21st CCLC program.
Currently, SHINE of Luzerne County serves nearly 300 students from five area school districts: Wilkes-Barre Area, Wyoming Valley West, Nanticoke Area, Hanover Area, and Hazleton Area. The existing programs in Schuylkill and Carbon Counties bring the total number of students to more than 1,000.