Out-of-School Time Policy Commentary #6: Participation during Out-of-School Time: Taking a Closer Look
This commentary examines the issue of youth participation in out-of-school time programs from two perspectives. It begins broadly and with a youth-centered lens, by asking how children and youth spend their discretionary time and how time use patterns relate to outcomes.
The word summer brings to mind images of a relaxed, unstructured season – a time markedly different from other seasons of the year. In the United States we have a particularly entrenched notion that summer is different – a notion reflected in popular assumptions about summer as a “break” and reinforced by carefree depictions of summer that abound in popular culture.
The non-school hours, often framed as periods of risk, idleness or remediation, in fact constitute a powerful opportunity for civic renewal, engagement and change. This commentary describes how out-of-school time programs make ideal contexts for nurturing civic engagement, exploring the issue from the practice, research and policy perspectives.
By Karen Pittman, October 2006
The buzz about improving the high school graduation rate is becoming a roar. Governor’s children’s cabinets are picking this as the leading indicator result for youth, foundations are re-upping their commitments and youth organizations are recasting their wares to reflect better in this new accountability light.