After-School Programs Step Up as Key Partners in STEM Education
By Anita Krishnamurthi
Full STEM Ahead: Afterschool Programs Step Up as Key Partners in STEM Education, describes parental attitudes and perceptions of STEM programming in their child’s after-school setting.
The America After 3PM survey is the nation’s most comprehensive household survey of how children spend the hours after school and asks parents and guardians of school-age children in the United States about availability and access to after-school programs. The 2014 survey, which followed prior surveys conducted in 2004 and 2009, reveals that over the past decade, the number of children in after-school programs has grown from 6.5 million to more than 10 million. Parents of an additional 19.4 million children would enroll their children in a program if one were available to them.
In addition to asking for information about after-school programs generally, the 2014 America After 3PM survey was the first to ask about children’s participation in programs offering STEM-learning opportunities, making it possible to produce a special report on STEM. Full STEM Ahead: Afterschool Programs Step Up as Key Partners in STEM Education, describes parental attitudes and perceptions of STEM programming in their child’s after-school setting.
The large number of households surveyed allows us to report responses across regions and demographics including income, race and ethnicity, and gender; analyze differences in the demand for, access to, and satisfaction in after-school programs by income, race, and ethnicity; and determine the opportunity gaps that persist. Key findings of the report:
African American and Hispanic parents have a more positive opinion of and experience with after-school STEM programs compared to Caucasian parents. For example, 60% of African-American and 57% of Hispanic parents consider the availability of STEM programs as an important factor when choosing their child’s after-school program, compared to 47% of Caucasian parents. Seventy percent of African-American parents and 68% of Hispanic parents report higher levels of satisfaction, compared to 63% of Caucasian parents.
Anita Krishnamurthi (AKrishnamurthi@afterschoolalliance.org) is Vice President for STEM Policy at the Afterschool Alliance in Washington, DC.
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