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December 15, 2022

Marking 20 Years of Progress in Expanded Learning for California’s Students

Prop49 Tiffany Berry Marking 20 Years of Progress in Expanded Learning for California’s Students

When the USC Schwarzenegger Institute wanted to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Proposition 49, which funds life-changing expanded learning programs for children throughout California, it turned to experts at Claremont Graduate University to tell the story and help inspire a national conversation.

Research Professor Tiffany Berry, who is nationally recognized for her evaluation of educational programming, teamed with Assistant Professor Michelle Sloper from the Claremont Evaluation Center and Public Profit’s Corey Newhouse to produce California’s Expanded Learning Programs Since Proposition 49 Passed in 2002: Progress, Evidence, & Future Directions. CGU graduate student Diana Ventura was instrumental in providing hands-on support for the paper.

Among the findings:

  • Expanded learning programs, which inspire and engage students before school, after school, during intersession, and in summer, provide significant long-term net savings to society. For every dollar spent, communities saved an estimated $9 to $16, primarily through reductions in criminal behaviors and incarceration, as well as improved health outcomes and less reliance on social programs.
  • Access to expanded learning programs benefits families by lowering their stress about their child’s wellbeing in the afterschool hours and helping parents save money that otherwise would have paid for childcare.
  • Children who participate in expanded learning programs feel more connected to their peers, to caring adults, and to their schools. They also attend school more often, yielding substantial attendance-based funding for schools.

In 2021, California deepened its commitment through the creation of the Expanded Learning Opportunities Program, which allocates an additional $5 billion to support expanded learning programs for every elementary and middle school in the state.

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who championed Prop. 49, attended the celebration on November 16 at Bell Gardens Intermediate School. The event included a student dance performance—the result of expanded learning.

Read the executive summary for a high-level overview of the impact of Prop. 49 on expanded learning programs. The full report goes into greater detail and offers recommendations about making the most of California’s commitment to expanded learning.