FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Laura Johnson
BALTIMORE, MD, July 10, 2019 – The National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) – the only national nonprofit exclusively focused on closing the achievement gap by increasing access to high-quality summer learning opportunities – fully endorses the bipartisan, bicameral Summer Meals and Learning Act of 2019, introduced by U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden of Oregon, Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, and U.S. Representatives Joseph Morelle of New York’s 25th District, and John Katko of New York’s 24th District.
Modeled after the successful Oregon Summer Learning, Library, Lunch (SL3) program, the new legislation, supporting state libraries, will create a new Federal grant program to allow schools that already serve free summer meals to keep their libraries open for student use during the summer months.
The summer months present an opportunity to close achievement and opportunity gaps – to help kids catch up, keep up and grow in meaningful ways. Summer learning loss, also known as the summer slide, is a well-documented phenomenon. Research confirms that many kinds of informal or high-quality formal enrichment opportunities can help students maintain or even increase their academic skills over the summer months, especially in reading. Good summer programs also provide students with access to nutritious meals since many children go hungry during the summer.
“You cannot learn on an empty stomach. Sadly, for many kids, summer equals hunger. Good summer programs provide students with access to nutritious meals, which millions of children in the U.S. need,” says Aaron Philip Dworkin, CEO of the National Summer Learning Association. “Programs that bring together natural partners like schools and libraries and include the critical summer meals component help communities efficiently use resources and ensure that youth who are most at risk have access to summer supports that help them thrive year-round.”
The Summer Nutrition Programs reached only one in seven children who ate a free or reduced-price school lunch during the 2016-2017 school year in July 2017.
Targeted federal support goes a long way toward helping states and local communities leverage their existing resources to maintain support for the most vulnerable students during the summer months. This legislation represents a major win in NSLA’s vision to keep all kids learning, safe and healthy every summer. Read official press release here.
About the National Summer Learning Association
The National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) is the only national nonprofit exclusively focused on closing the achievement gap by increasing access to high-quality summer learning opportunities. NSLA recognizes and disseminates what works in summer learning, develops and delivers community capacity building offerings and convenes and empowers key actors to embrace summer learning as a solution for equity and excellence in education. For more information, visit www.summerlearning.org.