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School is Out. Where Are the Kids?

by KYW’s Dr. Marciene Mattleman

According to the Afterschool Alliance, the total school age population is 57.3 million. Schools are out; but where are the kids? Survey responses from 30,000 households across the country indicate that parents of an estimated 24 million children are interested in summer learning programs, but for millions they’re out-of-reach.

Data conclude that three-quarters of the nation’s school children don’t participate in supervised and sustained programs. Of those who do qualify for summer learning programs, 43% who attend are eligible for free or reduced price lunch. That programs are being cut to meet budget deadlines is a practice that leaves children at risk.

It’s been documented by the National Summer Learning Institute that children from low-income families in particular fall behind academically, lose nutritious meals and the supervision and structure that school provides.

Just as important is the role families can play. Reading to kids, having them join summer reading programs that are part of every library’s activities are important concomitants of a meaningful summer. A summer without learning is a total waste.