Reflections on System Building: Lessons From The After-School Movement
On February 3, 2003, the Bush Administration unveiled its request to cut funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program by 40 percent in fiscal year 2004. This date also marked the administration's release of When Schools Stay Open Late: The National Evaluation of the 21st-Century Learning Centers Program, First Year Findings, the first report from the federally-funded evaluation being undertaken by Mathematica Policy Research. With these events as the backdrop, the authors of this issue of the "Out-of-School Time Policy Commentary" series address the potential for, and threats to, the development of a healthy, connected out-of-school time system. The authors summarize the 21st Century evaluation and address questions including when and how evaluations are useful, how the findings compare with other similar studies, how advanced system building is currently in the out-of-school time field, and what challenges lie ahead. Modified Author Abstract.