New York, NY – On Tuesday morning, Committee on Youth Services Chair, Deborah Rose held a hearing on legislation establishing a universal after school program for New York City youth, sponsored by Progressive Caucus co-chair Ben Kallos.
Endorsed by the Progressive Caucus in its 18 Progressive Policies for 2018 platform, the Introduction 1100 would require the Department of Youth and Community Development to provide a universal after school program for all students in New York City and require the DYCD to report their plan to expand the after-school programs in the city, their process to establish universal after school, and any issues regarding capacity and/or participation rates.
While the city’s number of funded seats during the school and summer school has increased since 2014 with the help of the Department of Youth and Community Development, the city still fails to meet the needs of all students. Currently, the number of seats offered in after school programs only covers about 9% of public-school students in kindergarten through fifth grade. After school programs are immensely valuable to all students but especially to students coming from marginalized and low-income communities.
“Universal access to after school will increase and equalize educational opportunities, keep kids out of the criminal justice system, and make life easier for parents whose jobs keep them at work until at least 5pm, if not longer. As a new parent myself, I rely on an extended day and enrichment activities to keep my daughter busy while my partner and I are working,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus. “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs must be satisfied if we want every child to reach their full potential, this means addressing physiological needs with universal breakfast, lunch, snack, and supper, safety needs with child health plus, and finally love, belonging, and esteem through universal after school. I want to wake up in a city where every child has the love and self-esteem they need to grow up to their full potential.”
“After-school programs provide a safe, stress-free environment for children to receive additional academic and social support while their parents contribute to the necessary economic well-being of their families. These programs have been found to improve student outcomes and provide equity and opportunity by leveling the playing field. This bill makes an investment in the future of our city by ensuring that no child is turned away,” said Committee on Youth Services Chair and Progressive Caucus Member Debi Rose.
“Universal after-school programming would provide New York City students with a safe, supportive environment where they could engage in additional academic and extracurricular activities. Working families would no longer have to pay for after-school out of pocket or worry about having their children home alone,” said Council Member Diana Ayala, Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus. “As a working mother who has relied on after-school throughout my career, I wholeheartedly support this legislation and look forward to working alongside my colleagues to ensure a successful passage.”