2009 SUMMER LEARNING TALKING POINTS
Summer Resource Gap
Most people have a wonderful image of what summer is all about for young people. It’s atime for something different -- recreation, vacations, creative exploration & enrichment.Yet the reality is very different for many young people and their families in the U.S. whostruggle to access –
High-quality educational and developmental opportunities
Safe places to be with adult supervisionParents consistently cite summer as the most difficult time to ensure children haveproductive things to do, and as a difficult time to find high-quality child care.We are working to make high-quality summer learning opportunities a reality for moreyoung people in this country. Working families need more choices and opportunities forchildren over the summer months. As a nation, we owe it to our children to send them back to school in the fall ready to learn and succeed.
Support for summer learning comes from the highest levels of government:
The Obama administration strongly supports summer learning programs. President Obamawas a sponsor of STEP UP as a U.S. Senator. In a speech to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Obama encouraged innovation in when and where our children are learning. Inrecent interviews, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan expressed concern about studentsfrom low-income families losing ground academically during the summer, and the need formore learning time for youth.
Funding - STEP UP
Despite the extensive research on the benefits of summer learning,
there are no federalpolicies that exclusively target summer
as a strategy to close the achievement gap. InAugust 2007 Congress passed the Summer Term Education Program for UpwardPerformance as part of the America Competes Act, STEP UP was sponsored by thenSenator Barack Obama.
However, Congress has not yet funded STEP UP.
STEP UP would be a good first step in addressing the void in federal policy by creating apilot program to provide summer learning opportunities for children attending schools inlow-income communities. If funded, the pilot program would provide at least five weeks of summer programming for more than 100,000 elementary school students in high-povertycommunities in five states. The National Center for Summer Learning is leading advocacyefforts urging Congress to provide up to $300 million in funding for STEP UP as part of the FY2010 budget.