Column: Affordable, high-quality, after-school programs vital

Back-to-school time brings more than sales on pencils and notebooks. It puts at the forefront education and debate about the best pathways for children’s achievement in school and beyond.

A key part of the equation is after-school programs, which provide children a foundation for academic learning and the social and emotional development necessary for school and life success.

More than ever, affordable, high-quality after-school programs fulfill a critical need for working parents and low-income families: a safe, supportive, engaging space for youth. Programs done well draw on research, evaluation and best practices to offer rich learning experiences and are flexible to meet the ever-changing needs of today’s youth and emerging populations.

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