Nov 17,2006 00:00
Bend Weekly News Sources
Voters See Afterschool Programs as Necessity for their Communities
Voters want the new Congress and their newly elected state and local officials to increase funding for afterschool programs, according to a public opinion survey conducted on election eve and election day. Developed by Lake, Snell, Perry & Associates, Inc. for the Afterschool Alliance, the poll found that 72 percent of voters agree that “our newly elected public officials in Congress should increase funding for afterschool programs,” and just 24 percent disagree. When asked if they’d support “increase[d] funding for afterschool programs even if it leads to a tax increase,” 69 percent of voters said they want funding to increase. Seventy-three percent want their newly elected state and local officials to provide more funds for afterschool programs.
· Eighty-two percent of voters agree that there should be some type of organized activity or safe place for children and teens to go after school every day that provides opportunities for them to learn (66 percent strongly agree).
· Support for afterschool crosses party and ideological lines. Eighty-eight percent of Democrats, 84 percent of Independents and 76 percent of Republicans agree on the need for an organized activity or safe place for children and teens, as do 70 percent of conservative men.
· Two in three voters (65 percent) say that afterschool programs “are an absolute necessity” for their community. Seventy-eight percent of Democratic women, 60 percent of Republican women and 96 percent of African American voters agree with that statement.
· When told that kids in afterschool programs are less likely to get involved in criminal activity, use drugs or alcohol, become teen parents and drop out of school, 89 percent of voters – including 85 percent of Republicans, 86 percent of men, 88 percent of people who attend a religious service every week, and 85 percent of Bush voters – say afterschool programs are very (66 percent) or somewhat (23 percent) important.
“Voter support for afterschool programs is broad, deep and enduring,” Grant added. “Americans recognize that these programs provide tremendous benefits. Lawmakers should pay attention. The federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers afterschool initiative is badly under-funded and, with the exception of California, few states are doing as much as they could to support afterschool programs. The result is that too many students are alone and unsupervised -– and at risk -– each afternoon when the school day ends. Changing that is a high priority for voters, and it should be a high priority for lawmakers as well.”