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 3PM highlighting an increase in participation rates and demand for high quality summer learning programs.
Results from the 2014 America After 3PM 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 for 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 over the course of the summer when not in school due to a lack of enrichment and engagement activities during the summer. By some estimates, summer loss is equal to about 1 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 to be 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 that 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 metaanalytic review.” Review of Educational Research, 66, 227–268.