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Despite DeVos Claim, Data Show Effectiveness of After-school Programs

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos repeated today the Trump administration’s claim that no data shows after-school programs to be effective.

At the hearing of a House appropriations subcommittee, DeVos was countered by Rep. Katherine M. Clark, D-Massachusetts, who said: “What do you mean there is no data? There is study after study after study.”

In a blog written in response to the education secretary’s comments, Jodi Grant, executive director of the Afterschool Alliance, an after-school advocacy group, wrote that “reams of research, including studies of every kind, demonstrate the enormous and diverse benefits afterschool programs provide to students, families, schools and communities.”

Research on the federally funded 21st Century Community Learning Centers, for example, shows the after-school program improved kids engagement in learning and their school attendance. Evaluation of the 21st Century programs in Washington state showed student gains in reading and math. A 2016 report looking at the program’s 15-year history, funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, found what it called overwhelming proof that the program is a success.

In other research, students in the YMCA High School Youth Initiative, which serves low-income youth, raised their grades in English and math compared with peers who did not attend the program.

[Related: Trump Proposal Zeros Out 21st Century Program; Advocates See Devastation for Needy Families]

[Related: Our Los Angeles Bureau coverage and video about how after-school programs are effective]

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