On February 3, 2003, the Bush Administration unveiled its request to cut funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program by 40 percent in fiscal year 2004. This date also marked the administration's release of When Schools Stay Open Late: The National Evaluation of the 21st-Century Learning Centers Program, First Year Findings, the first report from the federally-funded evaluation being undertaken by Mathematica Policy Research. With these events as the backdrop, this commentary addresses the potential for, and threats to, the development of a healthy, connected out-of-school time system. When and how are evaluations useful? What does the 21st Century evaluation tell us? How do the findings square with other studies? What is the state of system building in out-of-school time? What challenges lie ahead?