Whitehouse, Cicilline Introduce Community Partnerships in Education Act to Support Afterschool Learning

Apr 6, 2015 Issues: Education

PAWTUCKET – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Congressman David N. Cicilline spoke at the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island this afternoon in order to highlight the Community Partnerships in Education Act that they have introduced in Congress.

“Providing students with fulfilling after-school activities is a critical part of helping our kids and their families succeed,” Whitehouse said. “After-school programming can complement the lessons students learn in class while giving parents who work peace of mind about what their kids are up to after school lets out. I enjoyed visiting the kids in PASA’s Afterzone in Providence today, and I’ll keep working to support these vital programs.”

“We need to make sure that all young people are given the support they need both to do well in school and develop the skills to necessary succeed when they go to college or begin a career,” said Cicilline. “I am proud to have authored the Community Partnerships in Education Act which will give Rhode Island’s young people engaging and impactful opportunities after their school day ends.”

The Community Partnerships in Education Act supports quality afterschool programs by incentivizing and requiring partnerships between schools and communities to increase student engagement in community services that support education, athletics, and job readiness. The proposal ensures strong school-community partnerships for program planning, professional development, school curricula, and student data. It also strengthens the role of results-oriented intermediaries and advances the growth of effective systems through data sharing.

Experts believe after-school programs are one of the single most effective ways to keep children safe outside of the school day and on track for success. Studies show that children who regularly attend quality afterschool programs perform better in school; have lower incidences of drug use, violence and pregnancy.

According to recent reports, 11.3 American million children are left unsupervised after school between the hours of 3pm and 6pm. In Rhode Island alone, more than 27,000 of school-aged children are responsible for their own care after getting out of school.

“Expanding community partnerships will help us deliver the key ingredients for success to more students throughout our communities,” said Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza. “I thank Senator Whitehouse and Congressman Cicilline for their leadership in Washington and PASA for their continued work in Providence.”

Cicilline established the Providence After School Alliance to serve more than 1,000 middle school students with hands-on learning opportunities during his time as Mayor, and he first introduced the House version of the Community Partnerships in Education Act last fall. Cicilline also led a letter to the House Appropriations Committee earlier this year requesting $1.15 billion in funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program.

Whitehouse is leading the effort to pass the legislation in the U.S. Senate.