The Activity Gap

Across the nation, middle and high income families far outspend lower income families on enriching activities, experiences, and other out-of-school supports that help their children succeed in school and beyond.

By 6th grade, middle-class children have spent an average of 6,000 more hours learning than children born into poverty.

That includes:

  • 3,060 more hours of after school and extra-curricular programming
  • 1,080 more hours of summer learning
  • 245 more hours of field trips

Researchers have found that this “activity gap” accounts for as much as two-thirds of the achievement gap between youth from low-income households and their more affluent peers.

In Philadelphia, the poorest of the nation’s ten largest cities, the youth ASAP serves experience significant challenges that threaten their well-being and future success.

According to the School District of Philadelphia:

  • 76% of students in the city come from circumstances of poverty
  • 37% of students are chronically absent from school
  • Less than 45% of 3rd graders read on grade level
  • Only 68% of students graduate high school in four years

There is also much data to suggest that schools are struggling to engage and motivate their students.

Recent surveys conducted by the School District of Philadelphia showed:

  • 30% of students report never or rarely feeling a sense of belonging
  • More than 50% of students in the District reported believing they cannot change how smart they are

To address the many alarming trends facing the city’s youth, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and School District Superintendent Bill Hite announced the launch of the Citywide Out-of-School Time Initiative in February 2017.

The Mayor’s vision for the Citywide Out-of-School Time Initiative called for an expansion of the kinds of programs and services ASAP currently provides, including activities and experiences aligned with the District’s academic goals, professional development for OST staff, and technology to make finding programs easier for families.

As one of the few citywide out-of-school time organizations, ASAP is committed to working closely with the Mayor and the School District to ensure that underserved youth in Philadelphia have the same after school and summer opportunities as their more affluent peers.

To learn more about how you can help ASAP close the activity gap for youth in Philadelphia, click here.