In November 2002, California voters passed Proposition 49, setting the stage for the largest statewide expansion of after school services in the nation. Prop 49 mandated that $550 million be made available each year for kindergarten through ninth grade after school programs. The release of those funds was triggered in September 2006 when Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law Senate Bill 638, the After School Education and Safety program. With the infusion of this legislation, there was opportunity to re-do, invigorate, change, and even create new programs to help children grow into their amazing potential.
Priority was given to schools where 50 percent of the students qualified for free and reduced lunch (California Education Code, 2010b). The After School Education and Safety (ASES) program, along with the federally funded 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, provides opportunities for 400,000 students across California to take part in after school programs (California After School Network, 2009).
With after school programs now under the jurisdiction of the California Department of Education (CDE), program goals had to be aligned with those of the CDE to close the achievement gap. That meant educational components would now become a more significant focus of the after school programs.
The Program Elements of the ASES Program clearly state that education will be carried out in two areas:
1) Education and Literacy Element “…must provide tutoring and/or homework assistance designed to help students meet state standards in one or more of the following core academic subjects: Reading/language arts, mathematics, history and social studies, or science. A broad range of activities may be implemented based on local student needs and interests.”
2) Educational Enrichment Element “…must offer an array of additional services, programs and activities that reinforce and complement the school’s academic program. Educational enrichment may include but is not limited to, positive youth development strategies, recreation and prevention activities. Such activities might involve the visual and performing arts, music, physical activity, health/nutrition promotion, and general recreation; career awareness and work preparation activities; community service-learning; and other youth development activities based on student needs and interests (California Education Code, 2010a).”
For additional information on ASES funded programming, please visit CDE at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/ba/as/