DC Action Commends Introduction of Universal Out-of-School-Time Amendment Act

Press Release
For Immediate Release: December 4th, 2023

Contact Info

Mat Hanson
Chief of Staff
DC Action
mhanson@dckids.org

Washington, DC (December 4, 2023)–Recognizing that out-of-school-time (OST) opportunities, including afterschool and summer programs, are critical for young people’s growth and development, Councilmember Matt Frumin (Ward 3) is introducing the Universal Out-of-School-Time Amendment Act of 2023 to ensure all District young people can access high-quality, affordable, and engaging OST programs.

“Research has proven time and again that how youth spend time outside of the classroom dramatically impacts their social and emotional well-being, academic outcomes, college and career readiness, and community safety,” said DC Action Executive Director Kimberly Perry. “Though progress has been made in recent years, access to OST programming is inadequate and inequitable in the District of Columbia, with only one seat available for every three young people.”

“There is no better moment, and fewer more pressing or impactful uses of District resources, than investing right now in making universal out-of-school-ime a reality for our youth,” said Councilmember Frumin, author of the bill. “I hear from parents and students all the time about the urgent need for high-quality, affordable, and accessible programming afterschool and in the summer–this legislation gives the city a road map for expanding these critical programs and improving education, safety, and socioeconomic security.”

Specifically, the Universal Out-of-School-Time Amendment Act of 2023 will:

  • Require the District to guarantee free or affordable OST programming for every student enrolled in DC public or public charter school by 2035.
  • Prioritize needs of youth who are at-risk, low-income, English language learners, involved in the justice system, or who have disabilities.
  • Prioritize expansion to address long-standing geographic disparities in OST services to close the opportunity gap between Black and brown youth and White youth.
  • Facilitate interagency collaboration to meet youth development needs and achieve universal access to OST programming.
  • Mandate 90% of grant funds administered by the Office of Out-of-School-Time Grants and Youth Outcomes (Learn24) be awarded to community-based organizations.
  • Add needed metrics, standardization, transparency, youth input, and racial equity analysis to OST data collection and reporting, the biennial OST needs assessment, and the Out-of-School-Time Commission’s triennial strategic plan.

“For DC Strings Workshop, where we primarily focus on serving youth in underserved neighborhoods, universal OST is critical to our mission of creating avenues where music education provide safe spaces for every child who wants to express their creativity and broaden their exposure to the arts,” said Andrew M. Lee, Artistic/Executive Director of DC Strings Workshop. “The role of the arts in transforming lives for youth is well documented and critical to combating the learning loss and healing from the traumas our youth experience. With the introduction of Councilmember Frumin’s legislation, the District will bring more – and more equitable – access to the arts for DC’s school children. This bill would be a big win for our communities most in need.”

“Our programs give youth opportunities to build critical academic and social skills that give them the tools and confidence to effectively navigate the world around them.” said Andria Tobin, Executive Director of Kid Power Inc. “But afterschool programs in the District do so much more than skill building – we provide youth spaces to feel a sense of belonging and emotional safety and a deeper connection to their community. We currently only have the funding to serve 325 youth in our program, but are thrilled that this bill can create a game plan for the city to expand community-based opportunities that invest in engaging, educationally-rich experiences for every child who wants to participate in a program like ours,” continued Tobin.

Across the District, approximately 37,000 public school students participate in afterschool programs and around 32,000 participate in summer programs that are publicly funded. However, 53,000 students are missing out on afterschool programs and 57,000 are missing out on summer programs that are publicly funded. To understand how OST program access differs across Wards, visit www.WeAreDCAction.org/OST to see the 2023 OST Ward Snapshots.

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About DC Action

DC Action is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization making the District of Columbia a place where all kids grow up safe, resilient, powerful and heard. DC Action uses research, data, and a racial equity lens to break down barriers that stand in the way of all kids reaching their full potential. Our collaborative advocacy campaigns bring the power of young people and all residents to raise their voices to create change.