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Focusing on Critical Programs and Partnerships in the Federal Budget

By America Forward Policy Director Jacek Pruski

With the President’s budget for fiscal year 2018 (FY18) now proposed, and its substantial cuts to nondefense discretionary spending detailed, Congress will now begin the process of determining how to fund the federal government for FY18. At America Forward, we have always advocated for bipartisan, results-oriented policies that leverage innovation, evidence, and public-private partnerships to scale solutions to our most intractable social challenges. In this spirit, we are an active voice in the budget process, urging lawmakers to consider carefully the real-world impacts of their budgetary decisions.

Through our Evidence in Action blog series, we continue to  highlight the voices of the more than 70 social innovation organizations that make up the America Forward Coalition, the results-driven solutions our community has for our country’s most pressing social problems, and the evidence-based federal programs that are critical to scaling the impact of this work.

Below, we share the real-life implications of decreased funding for critical and effective federal programs, in the areas of national service and school leadership:

  • “If national service is defunded, that would mean nearly 75,000 fewer young people serving local communities; 590,000 students without mentors and teachers who improve academic performance; 55,000 veterans and military families who are not receiving critical services; 40,000 economically disadvantaged individuals without housing assistance; and 800,000 people who are not prepared for natural disasters.” — Service Year Alliance
  • “If AmeriCorps is defunded, it would put at risk the service of 3,000 City Year AmeriCorps members serving more than 200,000 students in more than 300 schools in 28 U.S. cities every day. AmeriCorps makes it possible for our diverse teams of City Year AmeriCorps members to serve full-time alongside teachers, establishing relationships with students and providing evidence-based, integrated academic and social-emotional supports to help students and schools succeed.” — City Year
  • “If the School Leader Recruitment and Support Program (SLRSP) is defunded, we would lose the only federal program specifically focused on investing in evidence-based, locally-driven strategies to strengthen school leadership in high-need schools. In the past, SLP (the previous version of SLRSP) seeded some of the country’s most innovative and effective principal preparation programs–including the New Leaders Aspiring Principals program, which was recently identified by the Rand Corporation as the principal preparation program with the highest evidence of positive impact on student achievement.” — New Leaders
  • “If AmeriCorps is defunded, Jumpstart would be forced to reduce service by nearly half, eliminating access to our high-quality language, literacy, and social-emotional program for nearly 5,000 preschool children from low-income families.” — Jumpstart
  • “If AmeriCorps is defunded, 240 Corps members would no longer be available to provide college access and success coaching to 30,000 low income students per year in six states (MN, WI, NE, OR, PA, and IL) and at nearly 360 colleges and universities across the country.” — College Possible
  • “If AmeriCorps is defunded, 22 new early childhood teaching residents will not earn Master’s degrees in evidence-based early learning methods to unlock the potential of  three and four-year children to thrive in K-12 each year.” — AppleTree Institute
  • “Cut to CNCS funding would put at risk the service of 350 Reading Partners AmeriCorps members plus 22 VISTA members serving more than 12,000 students in more 200 schools in 14 U.S. cities. Reading Partners AmeriCorps Members recruit over 14,000 community volunteers who execute an evidence-based literacy program in schools to support students who are off-track in reading.” — Reading Partners
  • “If AmeriCorps is defunded, it would be the end of The Corps Network’s Opportunity Youth Service Initiative, which annually gives over 500 economically disadvantaged young adults across 13 states the chance to earn money and education awards through conservation-related service. In 2016 alone, young adults serving in AmeriCorps through The Corps Network’s Education Awards Program restored over 145,000 acres of public land and over 3,600 miles of trails and/or waterways. These vital conservation efforts would not happen without AmeriCorps. ” — The Corps Network

We urge policymakers to continue funding for effective social innovation programs, including the national service and school leadership programs outlined above and many others leveraged by the America Forward Coalition, that are providing solutions to our nation’s most pressing social problems.

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