A recent Wallace Foundation report reveals higher numbers of parents enrolling children in summer learning programs. The data collected indicates that more parents are interested in high-quality summer learning programs for their children. Afterschool Alliance compiled a similar report called America After 3 PM, highlighting increased participation rates and demand for high-quality summer learning programs.
Results from the 2014 America After 3 PM survey found that 33% of families had at least one child participate in a summer learning program in the summer of 2013, a 25% increase from the summer of 2009. The survey also indicates the demand for summer learning programs is high. Fifty-one percent of those families surveyed say they would like their children to participate in a summer learning program next summer.
These reports suggest an increased awareness of summer learning loss. Summer learning loss is a phenomenon where primarily low-income students lose academic skills and knowledge throughout the summer when not in school due to a lack of enrichment and engagement activities during the summer. By some estimates, summer loss equals about one month of learning.1
Unfortunately, cost is a concern for many families. Only 13% reported that summer learning programs were offered at no cost. In 2013, the average weekly cost was $250, which puts summer programs out of reach for many children, especially those of low-income families. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services considers 10% of a family’s income the benchmark for affordable child care. The average weekly price of $250 is often unattainable for low-income families.
Since 2009, there has been a 3% increase in parents who support public funding for summer learning programs. Eighty-six percent of parents surveyed indicated they support public funding, with fewer than 1 in 10 parents in opposition.
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1Cooper, H., Nye, B., Charlton, K., Lindsay, J., & Greathouse, S. 1996. “The effects of summer vacation on achievement test scores: A narrative and meta-analytic review.” Review of Educational Research, 66, 227–268.