The readers’ forum

Quality after-school programs a smart investment


Education Commissioner Tony Bennett is to be applauded for his quick response to allegations of widespread fraud by private, for-profit providers of supplemental educational services in Florida.

These services, which can also be provided by nonprofits, school districts, faith-based organizations and others are intended to provide low-income students in poorly-performing schools with additional educational support to help meet minimum academic performance standards.

Ensuring every child has access to quality educational opportunities is essential to Florida’s economic stability and future growth. However, I believe the tens of millions of dollars in education funding being steered to private tutoring firms could be better spent.

While tutoring can be a powerful tool for many children, quality afterschool programs provide opportunities that not only support children’s cognitive development, but their physical, social and emotional development as well.

Directing families and resources to providers of proven, high-quality services, including the Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCA’s, Communities In Schools and accredited quality afterschool providers is a solution worthy of consideration.

Children attending quality afterschool programs attend school more regularly. They perform better on tests. They have fewer behavioral problems and are less likely to use tobacco, alcohol or drugs.

Quality afterschool programs also provide a safe, nurturing environment that decreases the likelihood that children will become victims or perpetrators of criminal activity.

Here is just some of the research:

• The Legislative Office of Program Policy Analysis and Governmental Accountability found that elementary and middle school participants in the Boys and Girls Clubs performed better on the FCAT in reading (elementary school only) and math at grade level versus a comparison group of students who were not in quality afterschool programs.

• A Florida TaxWatch study of Boys and Girls Clubs found gains on reading and math standardized test scores.

• The Ounce Prevention Fund of Florida’s evaluation of the YMCA Reads program found reading improvement across the board regardless of grade level, gender, or race.

• The National Institute on Out of School Time’s evaluation of Jacksonville TEAM UP found gains on standardized tests of reading and math.

Supplemental education services provided as part of a high-quality afterschool program help bridge the gap for disadvantaged children, which is crucial to Florida’s ultimate economic success.

Let’s be smarter about how we spend our limited dollars by investing in providers that have demonstrated success in improving student outcomes.

Larry Pintacuda, CEO, The Florida Afterschool Network, Tallahassee

Read more Letters to the Editor stories from the Miami Herald

  • The readers’ forum

    Miami Dade College has critical unmet financial needs

    The recent exchange of words between the president of Miami Dade College and some members of the Miami-Dade legislative delegation was unfortunate, but it has focused our community’s attention on the critical unmet financial needs of MDC. I’m confident that our legislative leaders will rise above the fray and do what is right for our community.

  • Go Heat, but . . .

    Your April 17 story The Heat Unites Us was very optimistic, and that is admirable and to be expected for journalists at a local newspaper like Miami Herald.

  • Restore libraries

    There’s an important perspective to be added to the April 11 article Without more tax dollars, Miami-Dade library system would fire more than half its full-time staff.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category