Alaska Ranked ‘Top Ten State for Afterschool,’ Even as Unmet Demand for Programs Increases
Student participation that exceeds the national average and overwhelming parent satisfaction with afterschool programs make Alaska a “Top 10 State for Afterschool,” according to a household survey commissioned by the Afterschool Alliance. Nevertheless, unmet demand for programs—the percentage of Alaska parents who say they would enroll their child in an afterschool program if one were available to them—is high, especially among low-income families, who report cost as a significant barrier. Despite being in the top ten, for every child in an afterschool program in Alaska today, three more are waiting to get in.
America After 3PM 2020 is based on survey responses from more than 30,000 American households, including 249 in-depth interviews in Alaska. It was completed before the coronavirus pandemic struck. It finds that 17 percent of Alaska students (21,584 children and youth in all) are enrolled in afterschool programs. But 56,705 Alaska students are still without the afterschool programs their parents say they need.
“Alaska is doing better than most and that’s an important accomplishment that speaks to the state’s strong commitment to children and youth,” says Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “But much more work remains. America After 3PM 2020 paints a picture of unmet need, and that is a problem we must fix. Every parent should have access to an affordable, quality afterschool program that will keep their child safe, supervised and learning.”
Senator Lisa Murkowski spoke at a briefing to release the new study.
“We are determined to continue the progress to make afterschool programs available to all children and youth here in Alaska,” says Thomas Azzarella, director of the Alaska Afterschool Network. “America After 3PM 2020 finds incredibly strong support for afterschool programs among parents here in Alaska, with 97 percent saying they are satisfied with the program their child attends. Also encouraging is the overwhelming support for public funding of afterschool, with 88 percent of Alaska parents expressing their support. Students and families need afterschool programs now more than ever, since the pandemic has changed school schedules, disrupted our economy, and put many children and youth at risk.”
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