Report: Cities should implement afterschool programs
Out-of-school time (OST) programs should be priorities for more cities, according to a report issued by the Santa Monica, Calif.-based RAND Corp. and the New York-based Wallace Foundation. Using “existing providers,” such as libraries and small arts and sports programs, cities can set up OSTs that give children the chance to fill their spare time with enrichment and learning rather than idleness and risk, according to the “Hours of Opportunity” report.
The report examines The Wallace Foundation’s out-of-school time learning effort in five cities: Boston, Chicago, New York, Providence and Washington. “This initiative provided a proof of principle – that organizations across cities could work together toward increasing access, quality, data-based decision making and sustainability,” the report states.
Municipal agencies with a stake in how children spend their time, such as housing agencies, could be tapped to provide OSTs, according to the report. So could schools with space to house programs and buses to transport children safely. Cities can use websites to tell families about good, affordable programs, and data-collection software can be used to boost program effectiveness and document the return on investment from an OST.
OST systems are not easily built, however, in part because interlocking many parts means collaboration from many players, according to Hours of Opportunity. In addition, the “final impact” of the young systems remains to be seen, the report cautions. Other questions center on the extent to which system-building can take hold in cities without the type of seed funding the foundation supplied and how OST efforts will fare when facing hard economic times.
Download Hours of Opportunity.