What Ninth Grade Students in the Chicago Public Schools Do in their Out-of-School Time
Robert M. Goerge, Robert J. Chaskin2004
In recent years, interest in how youth spend time out of school has burgeoned, with cities like Chicago investing heavily in after-school programs for their public high school students. Researchers at Chapin Hall have turned their attention to children’s out-of-school routines with the belief that children’s chances of future success are shaped to a great extent by their experiences after school. In accordance with this new focus, a Chapin Hall survey of ninth graders in Chicago public schools attempts to examine more closely the after school time-use of Chicago youth. The survey, administered to students during January and February of 2003, was completed by half of Chicago Public Schools’ 33,000 ninth graders. The survey reveals that over a quarter of the students spend time in structured activities after school, while over fifty percent of the students reported participating in academic activities. On average, students spent more than two hours in structured activities if they participated in one, citing the opportunity to spend time with friends as key a factor – more important than skill acquisition or job preparation -- in their decision to participate in such activities. However, many students reported responsibilities in the home and conditions in their neighborhoods interfered with their ability to participate in programs during the after school hours. The survey is designed to provide policymakers with data to help them better fulfill the after-school needs of youth and their families and to serve as a baseline against which to measure the effects of improvements in after-school programming. The survey is part of a larger project that includes in-depth interviews of youth and a survey of youth-serving agencies that will provide information on the availability of programs.