Recent budget cuts by the Oakland Unified School District school board have led to cutting or trimming back its afterschool sports programs. How will these cuts impact your family?
By Conduit Staff
Our question this week stimulated concerns by several of our readers that budget cuts by the Oakland Unified School District to reduce or limit the district’s afterschool recreational sports programs will be harmful both to kids and to the neighborhoods they live in.
The programs have traditionally been focused on the children of lower-income families whose parents’ work schedules often leave kids unsupervised in the late afternoon hours. The after-school programs also prevent school-age kids from being glued to their computers and not getting any exercise or fresh air.
“These cuts will reduce opportunities for students and will ultimately impact their access to college and careers. It will also impact school enrollment and outside resources coming to the district,” said one reader.
It is well established that when high school and lower-grade students have enriching afterschool programs to attend, their academic scores increase and their health and well-being increases.
Moreover, having these programs running from 3 to 6 p.m. weekdays helps keep so-called latch-key (unsupervised) kids from getting involved in criminal mischief or joining street gangs -- a point another reader was very concerned about.
“Where will these kids go after school? If they are roaming the neighborhood bored, they can and will get into trouble. For some of these kids, these sports programs are the only channel to help dissipate their considerable pent-up physical energy.”