First, the district is asking the BASPs to commit to furthering the district’s goals of raising math and reading proficiency rates and “creating culturally inclusive and responsive school environments and classroom instruction, with a focus on equitable outcomes for students in protected classes.” (See also the BASP Q&A here.)
It is not clear to me exactly what changes the district is expecting from the BASPs to help raise reading and math proficiency rates. It’s my understanding that the BASPs currently give the kids a number of activity choices, including reading or homework time, but that they don’t engage in actual instruction per se. The children are already spending seven hours of the day in school; when the district added a half hour to their school day two years ago, we heard ongoing concerns about the long day that we were imposing on young kids. Recess and lunch time during the school day is minimal. I’m not at all persuaded that “more is always better” when it comes to instructional time. (See this post from years ago.) Especially given the lack of concrete details about what this new clause will require, I don’t blame people for being concerned about it.
Second, the district is asking the BASPs to commit to holding a certain number of spots open at each site to serve students experiencing homelessness or other emergency situations. This seems like a worthy goal, but it does impose a cost on the BASPs (who may have to turn away families on their waiting lists to leave those spaces open), which could affect their staffing and programming. I don’t have an immediate opinion on what is reasonable to expect from the BASPs here, but I’d like to hear the pros and cons.
The Q&A gives the impression that the district is playing hardball with the BASPs. It goes out of its way to state that BASPs that don’t like the proposed terms may end up getting charged for the use of the school buildings or even replaced with different providers. Maybe the district can offer a persuasive rationale for this approach, but it does come as a bit of a surprise, given that the BASPs are non-profit organizations, often run by parent boards, which in many cases have longstanding relationships with the district and with district parents.
Meanwhile, in related news, President Trump’s proposed budget would eliminate the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which funds before- and after-school and summer programs, on the grounds that “The programs lacks [sic] strong evidence of meeting its objectives, such as improving student achievement.” In my view, providing child care to working parents who need it is a perfectly good objective in and of itself, regardless of whether it raises anyone’s test scores. (See Freddie deBoer’s post here for an extended version of that argument.)