It’s Time to Invest in Afterschool, Not Cut

A Message & Invitation from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

I have been an advocate for after-school programs for over 25 years and I am thrilled to welcome leaders from education, after-school, government, business, and nonprofit organizations who share my passion for protecting America’s greatest resource - our kids - to a National After-School Summit. Tomorrow, after-school representatives from 47 states will meet at the USC Schwarzenegger Institute in Los Angeles to reiterate their commitment to after school programs and to remind Congress that these programs are not just another line in the budget.  We know firsthand that after-school programs help kids succeed in school and in life. 

Over the past decade, demand for after-school programs has continued to climb. 19.4 million children would sign up for an after-school program--if one were available.  In fact, for every child in a program, another two are waiting to get in. 

It’s no wonder demand is high. After-school programs are helping address some of the most critical issues we face, like preventing juvenile crime, preparing kids for college and the workforce, and reducing alarming high school dropout rates. 83 percent of parents with a child in an after-school program say programs help reduce the likelihood that kids will commit crimes, use drugs, or become a teen parent.  Youth who participate in after-school programs are more likely to graduate from high school and go on to college.  These outcomes produce a strong return on investment:  every $1 invested in afterschool programs saves taxpayers $9.

With a proven track record of impact and cost-effectiveness, afterschool programs are a no-brainer.  Yet the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative, which provides after-school programs to 1.6 million kids across the country, is threatened with extinction.  Our nation, and our youth, cannot afford to lose after-school programs.  In fact, cities, states, the federal government, and the private sector should be pitching in with greater investments. 

I hope you’ll join me and innovative industry leaders and mayors from across the United States for this important conversation.  Tune in to the live webcast of the National After-School Summit and let Washington know that you support the protection and expansion of after-school programing.