June 11, 2021

The summer of 2021 will be vitally important, as students and families try to recover from the isolation, trauma, and learning loss the pandemic caused. Yet a new study that looks in-depth at summer learning in 2019 and 2020 finds that Latinx student participation in programs remains low, despite some recent growth and remarkably high parent satisfaction. Just 44% of Latinx families with children report that their child was involved in a summer learning program in 2019 – an increase from 39% in 2013 and 29% in 2008. But while 2.7 million Latinx children took part in a structured summer experience in 2019, nearly 4.4 million more would have been enrolled if a program were available to them, their parents said.

Commissioned by the Afterschool Alliance and conducted by Edge Research, it finds that 47% of families overall report at least one of their children participated in a summer program in 2019, compared to just 44% of Latinx students.

Then in 2020, participation in summer programs dropped further, as the pandemic upended education and work and family life. Just 28% of Latinx families report that their child participated in a structured summer experience last year, compared to 34% of families overall. More than half of Latinx students who participated in a summer program last year (56%) did so virtually. A structured summer experience is defined in the study to include a summer learning program, sports program, summer camp, summer school, or summer job or internship, but is different from child care.

“More than ever, our kids need academic help, social/emotional support, and opportunities to engage with peers and caring adults, be physically active, and have fun,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “We must do better by giving all students access to the summer learning programs they need. Cost and transportation should not remain barriers to participation. Lawmakers recognized that by including significant one-time funding for afterschool and summer learning programs in the American Rescue Plan. Now we are looking to states to ensure those funds are well-used. This summer, we have a responsibility to meet the need for Latinx youth as we work to meet the needs of all children and youth.”

In both 2019 and 2020, large majorities of Latinx parents expressed satisfaction with the structured summer experience their child attended and said they support public funding for these programs.

Summertime in America for Latinx Families and Communities is based on responses from more than 29,500 U.S. families, including more than 4,000 Latinx families, and builds on household surveys conducted in 2004, 2009 and 2014. It includes national-level findings from smaller surveys of parents and program providers conducted in 2020 and 2021. Core findings from the new study:

  •     Latinx parents give high marks to their child’s summer programs. In 2019, an extraordinary 96% of Latinx parents were satisfied with the structured summer experience their child attended and 67% were extremely satisfied.
  •     A safe environment, knowledgeable and caring staff, convenient hours, opportunities for physical activity, opportunities to build life skills, and a variety of activities are extremely important in selecting summer learning opportunities for their children, Latinx parents say. Many more Latinx than White parents say that academics and reducing risky behaviors are extremely important in choosing a summer program for their child. In 2020, 74% of Latinx parents said safety and cleaning precautions to prevent coronavirus were extremely important in choosing a program.
  •     Priorities vary by race. Black, Latinx, and Native American families are much more likely than White and Asian American parents to say that a variety of activities, snacks and/or meals, physical activity, building life skills, and academic enrichment (including keeping their child from losing academic ground and STEM learning opportunities) are extremely important when selecting their child’s summer activities.
  •     Cost, transportation, and lack on information on programs are barriers to participation for Latinx families. Two in five Latinx parents who did not have a child in a structured summer experience in 2019 (39%) did not enroll their child because programs were too expensive. One in five cited issues with transportation (21%) and not knowing what programs were available (20%).
  •     Ninety percent of Latinx parents favor public funding for summer learning opportunities for young people in underserved communities. Support is broad-based and bipartisan.

Findings from Summertime in America for Latinx Families and Communities are based on a nationally representative survey of randomly selected adults who live in the United States and are the parent or guardian of a school-age child who lives in their household. A total of 29,595 households, including 53,287 children and 4,096 Latinx households, were surveyed in English or Spanish and answered questions regarding the summer of 2019. The overall margin of error for child-level and household-level data is +/- < 1 percent. The survey included at least 200 interviews in every state and the District of Columbia. Data was collected between January 27 and March 17, 2020, by Edge Research.

To download report, CLICK HERE.




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