America After 3 Report Details Maryland's Afterschool Participation and Support
On Thursday, October 16th, the Afterschool Alliance published statewide data for the 2014 America After 3 survey. This report is released every five years, and provides data on afterschool participation, demand for afterschool programs, and parental satisfaction and support of afterschool programs. Responses for the America After 3 report are collected through household surveys and in-depth interviews.
The 2014 data on Maryland show that the state ranks in the bottom 10 for afterschool participation, however parental satisfaction remains high. Of the households surveyed, 16% - two points below the national average - responded that their children participate in afterschool programs, with 36% indicating that they would participate if such a program were available. Among the parents of those participating in afterschool programs, 87% are satisfied with the program’s quality. Nearly two-thirds of parents agree that their child’s afterschool programs help promote such skills as teamwork, leadership, critical thinking, and excitement in learning.
As disappointing as the findings are in terms of youth participation, parental satisfaction in afterschool programs remains encouraging. Maryland is home to high-quality programs that parents support, and 84% of those parents approve of public funding for afterschool programs. With such support and awareness of the benefits of afterschool and summer learning, we know that demand for such programs has outpaced supply.
The message from the 2014 America After 3 report is clear: additional resources are needed to increase access to afterschool and summer learning opportunities in Maryland. Over a quarter of a million youth are not currently enrolled in an afterschool program, but would like to be were one available. MOST has used October to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Lights On Afterschool by raising awareness of these impacts in hosting What Does the Research Say?, a research forum that highlighted the growing body of research around afterschool and summer learning, and through the release of two important documents: Expanding Opportunities, Improving Lives: Afterschool’s Return on Investment for Maryland, and the Maryland Afterschool and Summer Opportunity Fund: Comprehensive Plan & Recommendations.
MOST’s mission of “more and better” out of school time opportunities for all Maryland youth aligns perfectly with the challenge ahead. If Maryland is to climb out of the bottom 10 states in youth participation, it is incumbent upon us as a coalition to advocate for increased access for the two-thirds of our youth currently left out of programs. Satisfaction and support have increased since the previous America After 3 report. The time has come for Maryland to increase student involvement, and join the top 10 states for the next report in 2019.