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No Educator Left Behind

No Educator Left Behind is a series providing answers from the U.S. Department of Education to questions about the federal No Child Left Behind Act and how it will affect educators.


What assistance for after-school programs does the No Child Left Behind Act offer?

U.S. Department of Education:

Title IV, Part B, of the No Child Left Behind Act authorized the 21st Community Learning Centers Program, an after-school initiative to provide opportunities for students and their families to continue to learn new skills and discover new abilities after the school day has ended. Congress has supported this initiative by appropriating substantial funds for after-school programs.

The focus of the program is to provide expanded academic enrichment opportunities for children attending high-poverty, low-performing schools. Tutorial services and academic enrichment activities are designed to help students meet local and state academic standards in such subjects as reading and math. In addition, to enhance the academic component of the program, 21st Century Learning Center programs provide youth development activities, drug and violence prevention programs, technology education, art, music and recreation, and counseling and character education.

An evaluation of the programs' first year reveals that most 21st Century programs need to do a better job of implementing high-quality, engaging activities. Although center activities change, depending on where and with whom students spend their after-school time, the programs appear to have low levels of student participation, little influence on academic performance, and no influence on feelings of safety among children or on the number of "latchkey" kids. (More information is available at Evaluation Shows Improvements Needed in After-School Program.)

States now administer the 21st Century program, and many states are taking applications for 21st Century Community Learning Center grants. For more information, see the 21st Century Community Learning Center program state page, the state contact list, and Frequently Asked Questions about the state program.

Read previous questions and answers in our No Educator Left Behind archive.


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