Trump Budget cuts: After-school programmes do not help children's performance, White House claims

Charlotte England
President Donald Trump discusses the federal budget in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on 22 February 2017: Getty Images

The White House has claimed there is no evidence to suggest students benefit from the after-school programmes that Donald Trump’s proposed budget would stop funding.

Under the President's plans, $1.2 billion (£971 million) of funding for before and after school programmes will be eradicated, which experts say give children a safe and enriching place to spend time around school hours, and provide their working parents with childcare.

The Trump administration budget director Mick Mulvaney claimed at a press conference there was no evidence the programmes, which serve more than 1.6 million children nationwide, benefit student performance, and said therefore they should be shut down.

“They're supposed to be educational programmes, right?” Mr Mulvaney said.

“Guess what? There's no demonstrable evidence they're actually doing that. There's no demonstrable evidence they're actually helping results, they're helping kids do better in school.

“The way we justified it was: these programmes are going to help these kids do better in school and get better jobs. And we can't prove that that's happening.”

The programme Mr Trump is seeking to axe — known as the 21st Century Community Learning Centers — helps school districts, churches and nonprofit groups put on programmes for children who often have nowhere else to go after school.

In addition to being an important resource for parents, studies have shown that, contrary to Mr Mulvaney's comments, after-school programmes do help students' performance in terms of metrics such as grades, test scores, attendance, participation ratings and more.

Heather Weiss, the founder of the former Harvard Family Research Project, told the Washington Post that the White House's claims did not match research.

“There is a lot of evidence,” she told the Post. “Engaging kids in high-quality after-school and programs, many of which are supported by 21st Century Community Learning Centers grants, results in kids doing better in school. They’re more likely to graduate and to excel in the labor market.”