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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 14, 2007

Schumer Fights for Full Funding of Essential After-School Programs

21st Century Learning Centers Are Vital Part of After-School Programming That Keep Children Safe, Increase Learning, Help Working Families

Earlier this week, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer urged the Senate Budget Committee to support increased funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers in the Fiscal Year 2008 Budget. The 21st Century Community Learning Centers are essential to children and working families across America because they provide children with safe, quality after-school activities that contribute to learning and development.

"After-school programs are essential to our children and working families throughout New York and the country," Schumer said. "These programs keep our kids in after-school activities that contribute to their education and development. They also give working families peace of mind by providing kids a safe learning environment with friends and supervision. I will continue to fight for full funding for after-school programs and the 21st Century Community Learning Centers."

Working families around the country are relying on Congress to make more funds available for 21st Century Community Learning Centers so that a greater number of children will have the option of high-quality, safe, after-school learning activities - activities which are critical to their success in school, in life, and to their parent's ability to work. According to educational experts, students who regularly attend quality after-school programs have better grades and behavior in school, better peer relations and emotional adjustment and lower incidences of drug-use, violence, and pregnancy. Last year after-school programs served one million children, but still over 14 million children currently have no place to go when the school day ends.

Schumer joined a number of his colleagues in a letter led by Senators Chris Dodd and Susan Collins to Senators Kent Conrad and Judd Gregg, Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee. The letter stated, "Clearly, we need to do more for children and working parents when it comes to after-school activities. In fact, I and many of our colleagues recently formed a bipartisan, bicameral caucus to build support for after-school programs in Congress, and to translate that support into appropriations sufficient to meet the growing demand for after-school. I am proud that so many of us are willing to stand behind the notion that we must do all we can to meet the needs of American children and families."

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