Survey Finds: Americans Reject Extended School Day in Favor of New Developmental Approaches in Afterschool

On inner-city youth life success, most policymakers and funders have it wrong

Nov 17, 2015, 09:12 ET from All Stars Project, Inc.

NEW YORK, Nov. 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Of all of the approaches being taken to address the impact of poverty on inner-city youth, afterschool is widely seen as among those with the highest potential to help – but there is controversy around the appropriate approach. Every year, trillions of dollars are poured by the American government, businesses, and philanthropists into afterschool programs that seek to "remediate" the failures of the classroom. But according to a new national survey conducted online in September among over 2,000 U.S. adults by Harris Poll on behalf of the All Stars Project, a privately funded national non-profit leading the way in the field of afterschool development, these efforts, though well-meaning, are getting it wrong. The majority (76%) of Americans believe that traditional, "remedial" approaches to afterschool, such as an extended school year and longer school days, are not an effective solution to help poor, inner-city youth succeed.

Tweet this: Survey Says Rethink Afterschool: Focus on Life Skills to Help Inner-City Youth Succeed http://bit.ly/1YdMSo8 #Afterschool @AllStarsProject

Among the findings:

  • The top response among 3 in 4 Americans, when asked what would help inner-city youth succeed in their lives, is a focus on life skills (e.g., communication, teamwork, social/emotional skills).
  • The second top response, noted among almost 2 in 3 (65%) Americans, is experience in the workplace (e.g., afterschool jobs).
  • Surprisingly, the vast majority of Americans (76%) do not support the extension of the school year and day, despite the policies currently in place in dozens of cities across the nation.
  • In fact, it appears that the lower the household income bracket, the lower the percentage of Americans who support this direction for dealing with the issues facing poor inner-city kids.
    • 27% of those with a HHI of $100k+ support extended school years as a solution compared to only 18% of those with a HHI of less than $50k who say the same
    • 20% of those with a HHI of $100k+ support longer school days as a solution compared to only 12% of those with a HHI of less than $50k who say this

"We commissioned this Harris Poll to conduct this survey to try to uncover what the attitudes of ordinary Americans are towards afterschool, and whether they see afterschool as something that can be used to help poor inner city kids achieve success," said Gabrielle Kurlander, CEO of the All Stars Project. "The results are truly eye-opening because policy makers are pushing for the extended school day, but across economic lines, the American people don't favor that as a way to engage poverty in our inner cities."

The All Stars Project's cutting edge performance-based approach to development encompasses and addresses the range of areas supported by U.S. adults as contributing to the success of inner-city youth. These include the development of life skills (e.g., communication, teamwork, social/emotional skills) supported by 75% of Americans, as well as non-traditional afterschool programs (e.g., leadership training, internships) (58%), and participation in performing arts programs (47%).

"The majority of Americans realize that there needs to be a fundamental shift away from remedial approaches to afterschool, to a focus on development, which includes exposing youth to people, places and things beyond what they experience in ordinary life," concludes Ms. Kurlander. "Let's not keep repeating what has failed in school, in afterschool. We must redefine what afterschool is and what constitutes success."

About The All Stars Project, Inc.
The All Stars Project is a privately funded national nonprofit organization founded in 1981 whose mission is to transform the lives of youth and poor communities using the developmental power of performance, in partnership with caring adults. From engaging young people with corporate America through its Development School for Youth, to the All Stars Talent Show Network (ASTSN), to building better police-community relations through Operation Conversation: Cops & Kids, the All Stars Project has seen the power of performance to change lives.  ASP is supported by some of America's leading companies including MetLife, DIRECTV, Viacom and Investors Bank.  Led by President and CEO Gabrielle Kurlander, the ASP involves over 10,000 young people every year in its afterschool programs in six cities across the country. Learn more at www.allstars.org, on Facebook and on Twitter @AllStarsProject.   

Survey Methodology: This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of the All Stars Project from September 9-11, 2015 among 2,120 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact ariane@warnerpr.com.

Contact: Ariane Doud, Warner Communications
(978) 283-2674 or ariane@warnerpr.com

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SOURCE All Stars Project, Inc.



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