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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Afterschool blues

Working parents have spoken. What will it take for their voices to be heard? Maybe a change in political leadership!
A new survey shows voters want the new Congress and their newly elected state and local officials to increase funding for afterschool programs. This should be a hot topic over the next few years.
A public opinion survey conducted on election eve and election day by Lake, Snell, Perry & Associates, Inc. for the Afterschool Alliance found that 72 percent of voters want newly elected public officials in Congress to increase funding for afterschool programs. Over the last five years, federal support for increased funding for afterschool programs has waned.
It's hard to believe a single politician wouldn't realize the huge benefit of keeping children safe and supervised. The number of kids home alone after the school bells ring is frightening. Some 14.3 million kindergarten through 12th graders in this country take care of themselves after the school day ends, including almost four million middle school students in grades six to eight. The parents of 15.3 million children say their children would participate if an afterschool program were available. Here's what the public thinks:
* Two in three voters (65 percent) say that afterschool programs “are an absolute necessity” for their community
*Support for afterschool crosses party and ideological lines.
*When asked if they’d support “increase[d] funding for afterschool programs even if it leads to a tax increase,” 69 percent of voters agreed.
Last week voters should their desire for change at the polls. Now it's up to lawmakers to hear us.

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