Survey Shows Summer Learning Gains Ground

July 25, 2014
By Educator Innovator

New research from the 2014 edition of America After 3PM, the most comprehensive household survey of how students in America spend their after school hours, shows that summer learning programs are strongly supported by parents and that participation in summer learning programs is on the rise.

According to the survey of nearly 14,000 families:

  • Eighty-six percent of parents indicate support for public funding for summer learning programs, a statistically significant increase of 3 percentage points over the already very strong support registered in 2009.
  • One-third of families report at least one child participated in a summer learning program last summer, up from the 25 percent of families reporting at least one child participated when the survey was last conducted in 2009.
  • Demand for summer learning programs for 2014 is high. More than half of families reported a desire to participate in a summer learning program this summer.
  • 13 percent of families reported that summer programs were available to them at no cost in 2013. However, the vast majority of parents paid for programs and the average weekly per-child cost for a summer learning program was $250— high enough to put the programs out of the reach of many children and families.

With increased awareness of the problem of summer learning loss, especially among low-income students, it is encouraging to see data that suggest parents and guardians are increasingly recognizing the important role that summer learning programs can play in helping keep kids on track for success. However, the cost data raise concerns about equity and whether or not the very students who might most likely benefit from programs are able to access them. Download the one-pager or graphics providing an overview of the findings.

Initiatives like the Summer to Make, Play & Connect, Cities of Learning, and Maker Party are undoubtedly playing an important role in helping make sure that more students, of all income levels, have access to quality summer learning opportunities.

In October, look for the release of the 2014 edition of America After 3PM, which will provide a detailed view of afterschool programs, including access to STEM learning opportunities, physical activity, and healthy meals and snacks. Additional details on summer learning, including state-level data, data by race, gender and more will be available in 2015.