There's a 6,000-hour education gap by sixth grade.
Over 75 percent of afterschool funding comes from parents, resulting in a 6,000 hour education gap by 6th grade between low-income students and their middle-income peers.
There is a nationwide shortage of afterschool and summer workers, leading to reduced access for students.
Even before the pandemic, afterschool and summer programs struggled to hire due to low wages and the lack of advancement opportunities. Covid has only exacerbated these challenges, leading to reduced program access and widespread closures affecting families across the country. Additionally, the decentralization of funding for out-of-school means that evidence-based practices are not consistently implemented, limiting the number of programs that meet the needs of students.
Parents continue to struggle to find out-of-school options for their children.
Fifty-two percent of summer programs had waitlists in 2021, compared to 40 percent in the previous summer. Between 2014 and 2020, 1.9 million students from low-income households left afterschool and summer programs, while only 450,000 students from higher-income households left during the same period. Low-income families stated that cost was the main barrier to participation. On the positive side, during this same time period, the number of afterschool programs offering technology and engineering learning opportunities rose from 30 to 39 percent.
The lack of in-person out-of-school programming has led to reduced time for students to practice social-emotional learning (SEL) skills.
Out-of-school settings are particularly well-suited for the promotion of SEL outcomes due to their greater flexibility. This is particularly true for high quality STEM programs: students in these programs reported greater SEL growth versus those in lower-quality programs, and research shows a strong correlation between STEM and SEL outcomes. However, the decrease of in-person programming during Covid has made SEL outcomes more difficult to both realize and measure.
Out-of-school programs improve academic measures and teacher skills.
Students regularly participating in afterschool programs experience increases in academic performance and improve the likelihood of graduating from high school. Additionally, the math achievement gap between low‐ and high‐income students narrows when low‐income students attend afterschool programs. Lastly, teachers and community members often value out-of-school STEM programs for their impact beyond student outcomes and engagement, including their ability to enhance teachers’ professional development and skills.
Children cannot be what they do not see.
Families are crucial for STEM confidence, with early math skills being the best predictor of later academic success.
Math skills upon entering kindergarten are the best predictor of 8th grade performance regardless of race, gender, or SES; children who consistently struggle with math are less likely to receive a high school diploma or attend college.
Yet three out of ten Americans consider themselves bad at math.
Over half of 18- to 34-year-olds regularly say they cannot do math and STEM anxiety has been shown to be highly transferable from parents to child. But these mindsets are malleable: Overdeck Family Foundation funded research that showed improving parents’ perception of their children’s math abilities can improve children’s math performance by as much as three months.
Activating the power of collaboration between teachers, students, and families.
Bringing engineering home, even for the youngest learners.
Using summer to nurture students' interest in STEM and innovation.
Scaling high-quality summer and afterschool programs, even in remote and hybrid environments.
Strengthening students' STEM skills through interactive games and a partnership with the NBA.
Advocating for increased access to high-quality afterschool opportunities for students nationwide.
Providing STEM enrichment that builds positive math attitudes and confidence.
The Family Math Initiative
Working with families to increase children’s early math fluency and confidence.
Increase Out-of-School STEM Opportunities
Increase the quality, supply, and positive perception of joyful and rigorous out-of-school STEM programs.
Expand Family STEM
Increase availability of family STEM opportunities and environments that elevate the role of families in supporting children’s learning.
Explore Student Self-Directed STEM
Explore the ability of student self-directed STEM experiences to provide students more agency and opportunity to follow their STEM passions on their own and with peers.
What features and practices of out-of-school STEM programs and self-directed student STEM experiences have a significant impact on student engagement?
What are the top priorities for teachers, school leaders, and/or district leaders in partnering with out-of-school STEM providers?
What practices and capacity-building efforts best equip an organization to plan and conduct rigorous studies that lead to increases in ESSA tier?