Resource Library

COVID-19 Update: The John T. Gorman Foundation is curating a list of resources, emerging best practices, and innovative ideas from across the country to help local organizations serve vulnerable Mainers during the coronavirus outbreak. To access those resources, visit or enter Covid-19 in the keyword search. Those results can be further focused by using the “Filter by” menu above to filter by population type (Young Children, Older Youth, Families, and Seniors) or by clicking the following links: childcare, education, food security, housing, rural areas, and workforce.

The John T. Gorman Foundation strives to be data-driven and results based and seeks to promote information and ideas that advance greater understanding of issues related to our mission and priorities. In our effort to promote these values, we offer these research and best practice resources collected from reputable sources across the country. The library also includes briefs and reports the Foundation has commissioned or supported, a listing of which can be found here.


Patterns in flu vaccination rates reveal potential COVID-19 vaccination challenges

January 21, 2021 – Families

A new brief from the State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) uses flu vaccination data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify populations likely to be harder to reach with the COVID19 vaccination. The researchers report that overall adult flu vaccination rates in 2017-2019 were 39 percent—about half the level that would be needed to reach herd immunity against COVID-19. (Maine’s rate was 41 percent). Although some sub-groups at risk for COVID-19 demonstrate higher uptake of flu vaccines—older adults and those with pre-existing health conditions—low-income, Black, and Hispanic groups have significantly lower than average rates of flu vaccination. The authors further caution that the multiple doses necessary could further complicate delivery of this specific vaccine. Recognizing states as made of multiple, diverse populations, many of whom will require targeted outreach, will be key to achieving population immunity. #covid-19 #racialequity

Pandemic provides lessons for child welfare system

January 19, 2021 – Families

Scholars from the American Enterprise Institute partnered with experts in academia, state departments, and the law to outline some of the challenges that COVID-19 has wrought for child welfare systems, and the lessons to be gleaned from this era. The report notes that while the stressors of the pandemic have likely heightened child maltreatment incidence, state child welfare systems have received fewer reports than usual during the pandemic. With fewer opportunities for reporting via schools, and state departments delaying, canceling, and reconfiguring usual child welfare activities, the risks to children are especially high. The authors suggest finding ways to detect maltreatment outside of schools (note that many of these suggestions amount to mandating greater surveillance of poor and low income parents). Other suggestions focus on enhancing system logistics: deeming child welfare workers as essential so that they may continue timely work, allowing virtual court proceedings to avoid placement delays for children, strengthening foster parent recruitment efforts, and better integrating child welfare systems with community agencies that can serve to meet families’ other needs. #covid-19

Pandemic sparks changes to standardized testing, reducing burdens for low income students

January 19, 2021 – Older Youth

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that COVID-19 has triggered long-considered changes to standardized testing; in the latest example, the College Board is nixing SAT Subject Tests and the SAT’s essay section. Citing declining demand for these offerings, particularly amid remote-learning environments, the College Board is discontinuing these tests effective immediately. The Chronicle notes widespread support among educators and advocates, who have long criticized the tests as a barrier to college entrance for lower-income students and students of color who are less likely to have access to specialized tutoring and insider knowledge that can enhance test performance. Still, some experts warn that the loss of these specific tests means college admissions offices will simply substitute emphasis on Advanced Placement exams or extracurricular activities, which would still leave lower-income students at a disadvantage. #covid-19 #education #racialequity

Biden proposes EITC expansion to young childless workers

January 15, 2021 – Older Youth

The Senior Director of Federal Tax Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Chuck Marr, is praising President Joe Biden’s proposed expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). This expansion would address the persistent EITC gap facing workers age 19-25, who under current EITC law, are only eligible to claim the EITC if they have a child at home. The proposal would benefit 17.4 million young workers, including concentrations of Latinx and Black workers. Marr notes that these workers are disproportionately low earning: the three occupations with the greatest number of newly eligible workers are cashiers, cooks, and retail salespersons, all industries that have been newly recognized as essential in the pandemic. #workforce

English learner students are young, economically segregated, and often overlooked in school equity work

January 14, 2021 – General

In advance of anticipated attention to school segregation under the Biden administration, a new piece from the Brookings Institution identifies a less explored axis of segregation: that of English Learners (ELs). Making up 10 percent of students nationwide, these learners are most often elementary school aged, and disproportionately concentrated in high-poverty schools. Specifically, ELs are sorted even more strongly by school poverty status than students of color: the poorest 30 percent of schools serve 46 percent of all ELs and 33 percent of all students of color. EL students also score especially low on standardized tests, although those in higher income schools are more likely to score as proficient, perhaps due to greater school resources. The authors call for specific consideration of ELs in future education policy noting that simple integration of these students is not enough; without intentional language support, general integration strategies could leave EL students without appropriate communication resources. #education #racialequity

Disrupted plans for post-secondary education especially consequential for low income students

January 13, 2021 – Older Youth, Families

Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce researchers report on data from the National Student Clearinghouse and the Household Pulse Survey, finding that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in lower college enrollment, a finding that bucks the trend of higher enrollment in every recession since the 1960s. The authors find that among households where at least one person had postsecondary plans for fall 2020, 37 percent canceled plans entirely for pandemic-related health or income reasons. These shifts were especially prevalent in low-income households and households with members seeking a certificate or training program diploma (54 percent, versus the 25 percent of households whose members sought a bachelor’s degree). Those seeking bachelor’s degrees were more likely to pivot to remote learning, an option less available for training programs. The authors argue that because delayed and disrupted college-going is linked with increasing heightened risk of noncompletion, some of these low income students may never attend college, further calcifying structures of inequality between high and low income populations. #covid-19 #education

Dollar General to compensate workers for getting vaccinated against COVID

January 13, 2021 – Families

The Washington Post reports on Dollar General’s announcement that it will compensate employees who receive the COVID-19 vaccine, in recognition that hourly-paid workers may otherwise be forced to choose between a paycheck and taking time off to get vaccinated. The retailer notes that employees who report having received the vaccine will be compensated with four hours of regular pay to address any lost working time or additional transportation costs that vaccination may have triggered. The statement notes that vaccination is encouraged but not mandatory for employees. This announcement makes the retailer one of the nation’s first to offer this type of compensation. #covid-19 #workforce

Administration for Children and Families report outlines research on the “success sequence” for young adults

January 12, 2021 – Older Youth

A new report from the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation at the federal Administration on Children and Families summarizes years of existing research on a transition to adulthood framework that is increasingly popular in federal programming. The framework is a sequence of key adolescent and young adult milestones that when achieved in a specific order are understood to improve chances of achieving middle class status in adulthood. Among these milestones are high school graduation, full-time employment, and delaying parenthood until after marriage. The Mathematica researchers who authored the report conclude that the three milestones are indeed associated with adulthood economic outcomes—and with each other—but note that evidence confirming causal pathways and the importance of the specific graduation-workpost-marital-childbearing sequencing is not robust. #olderyouth

Boys lag girls in high school graduation rates

January 12, 2021 – Older Youth

Scholars from the Brookings Institution collected data on 2017-2018 high school graduation rates from 37 states (including Maine) and found that despite interstate variation in overall graduation rates, in each state assessed, boys’ graduation rates were lower than girls’ (82 versus 88 percent overall). The U.S. Department of Education requires states to report overall graduation rates, rates by race-ethnicity, and rates by selected subgroups (for instance, children with disabilities and English learners). Although the federal government does not require reporting by gender, many states collect this information anyway; aggregated state data allowed researchers to identify this gender gap, but also to note that graduation rates are especially low for Black and Hispanic boys. The researchers call for the federal government to add gender measures to existing tracking efforts so that patterns at the intersection of race-ethnicity and gender can be more readily monitored and addressed. #education #racialequity

Tribal nations focus on protecting elders to preserve culture after immeasurable losses to COVID-19

January 12, 2021 – Seniors

With COVID-19 killing Native people at nearly twice the rate of white people, the loss of tribal elders has spurred a cultural crisis for many tribes. With many tribal cultures reliant on oral tradition and few remaining speakers of native languages, tribal nations are worried about the cultural annihilation that comes with losing elders to COVID-19. To mitigate this threat, tribal leaders and nonprofits are working to reach and protect those most in need. Strategies have included delivering groceries and hygiene supplies to elders, training young people to monitor their grandparents’ vital signs with tribe-distributed thermometers and oxygen meters, and prioritizing tribal elders at the front of vaccination queues. However, vaccination efforts among this group are complicated by the fact that many tribal elders live in very rural communities without transportation. Importantly, these elders also experience deep mistrust of the government and medical institutions, seeded by long histories of forced assimilation, medical experimentation, and other brutal acts of racism. #covid-19 #racialequity #seniors #rural

Texas leaders react to early documentation of racial inequity in vaccination sites

January 9, 2021 – Families

Pairing data from the state health department and demographic surveys, the Texas Tribune has documented the clustering of vaccination sites in affluent and white neighborhoods, where selected sites of hospitals, nursing homes, and pharmacies are often located. These spatial mismatches are particularly problematic since many of the underserved communities of color include residents without reliable access to transportation, and multigenerational families at high risk for infection. The article notes that a few days before publication, local legislators had contacted the governor urging him to consider better targeting vaccinations to minority neighborhoods, and includes an update that days after publication, Governor Greg Abbott authorized 28 additional vaccination hubs for local dissemination, some of which fall into majority Hispanic neighborhoods. #covid-19 #racialequity

Early analysis shows white populations overrepresented in vaccine receipt

January 8, 2021 – Families

Business Insider documents a new analysis of vaccination data for six states (largely in the Southeast) that both have high shares of Black residents and collect detailed vaccination and race data. The piece shows that in each state studied, Black vaccination rates were lower than among white people, with the imbalance particularly striking in North Carolina, where 21 percent of the population is Black, but only 10 percent of vaccine recipients are. The analysis acknowledges that differences in occupational structure and age may play a role in the early rollout, as does incomplete data, but emphasized the importance of reaching populations – particularly in the health care industry—who may be experiencing language barriers or fear as hurdles to vaccination. #covid-19 #racialequity