Just 27 percent of California children attend summer learning programs

Jun 9, 2011

When schools close for the summer, safe and enriching learning environments are out of reach and replaced by boredom, lost opportunities and risk for too many children. New analysis of data from the America After 3PM study measures the extent of this problem, concluding that just 27 percent of California’s schoolchildren (an estimated 1,844,377 kids) participate in summer learning programs – safe, structured programs that provide a variety of activities designed to encourage learning and development in the summer months.

Sixty-six percent of California kids (an estimated 3,278,892 children) not currently enrolled in a summer learning program would likely participate, based on parent interest. Five in six California parents (84 percent) support public funding for these programs.

The long summer break is a precarious time when many low-income children fall behind academically and lose the nutritious meals, supervision, and structure that school provides. This survey shows just how great the demand is for meaningful summer activities and that too many children are left wanting for quality programs – the very children who could benefit most if given the opportunity.

While ethnic minority and low-income children are more likely than others to be in summer learning programs, the unmet demand is great.

  • Thirty-five percent of African-American, 29 percent of Hispanic and 27 percent of low income children attended summer learning programs in 2008, compared to the national average of 25 percent.
  • Yet more than three in four African-American kids (77 percent) and at least two in three Hispanic (70 percent) and low-income (67 percent) kids would likely enroll in a summer learning program, based on parent interest.

Parents overwhelmingly support summer learning programs, and there is even greater support among parents of minority and low-income students.

  • Eight in ten parents (83 percent) support public funding for summer learning programs.
  • Fully 95 percent of African-American, 91 percent of Hispanic and 90 percent of low-income parents support public funding for summer learning programs.

Source: AfterSchool Alliance, “America After 3PM Special Report on Summer: Missed Opportunities, Unmet Demand,” May 2010.

By Myriam Grajales-Hall
Posted By - Communications Manager
By Afterschool Alliance
Written by