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Proposed Priorities and Definitions on Discretionary Grants Programs—Summer Learning

Comments from The Wallace Foundation to U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona on issues including the definition of out-of-school-time settings
July 29, 2021


Wallace submitted this letter in response to the U.S. Department of Education's Proposed Priorities and Definitions: Secretary's Supplemental Priorities and Definitions for Discretionary Grants and Programs

Wallace recommends that the Department define "out of school time settings" in Priority 2 (a) (5) to include all kinds of programs that occur during the summer, before and after school, in the evenings, and on weekends; located in school buildings or community settings; managed or operated by schools, community organizations, parks, camps, faith-based organizations, and other entities; and serving children and youth in grades K-12. Without this change, the letter says, readers might believe that "out of school time" refers solely to afterschool programs and conclude that summer learning and enrichment programs are ineligible for funding. 

The letter details findings from Wallace's work in social and emotional learning (SEL) in relation to Priority 4, regarding meeting students' social, emotional, and academic needs. It says that SEL can play a meaningful role in helping young people to recover from the damaging effects on well-being of the COVID-19 pandemic.  In relation to Priority 2, regarding equity in student access to educational resources, Wallace notes the opportunities presented by summer as a time for learning and enrichment, and details research findings about summer learning from Wallace-commissioned and other research.  

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