Resource Library

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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.


Georgetown proposes holistic approach to youth policy in the transition to adulthood

December 7, 2021 – Older YouthEducation, Racial Equity, Workforce

Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce has published a new report describing how pandemic-era demand for workers intersects with the longer-term trend of a “deteriorating” labor market for young adults. The authors identify the “dot-com” bubble recession of 2001, the Great Recession, and the COVID-19 recession as discrete events in shaping youth employment prospects. Further, they note that longer-term economic shifts mean employers favor workers with greater technical knowledge and more experience over young workers. The paper also notes the racial-ethnic disparities in the share of young adults who are disconnected from work and school, at 12 percent for white youths age 16-21 and 17 percent for Black youths. To address the longrunning challenge, the authors propose an “all-in-one” system that builds a pipeline from pre-kindergarten to employment without silos. The authors suggest multiple strategies for creating the pipeline, including recognizing the complementary nature of classroom learning, occupational exploration, and work-based learning from kindergarten to college; or offering field trips and career days to children, apprenticeships and cooperative extension opportunities to high schoolers, and paid internships and enhanced work-study opportunities to college students, all in service of building a modern network for young adult success.

States, including Maine, are leveraging COVID relief funds to advance equity in childcare

November 30, 2021 – Young Children, FamiliesChildcare, COVID-19, Education, Mental Health

The Center for Law and Social Policy has published a factsheet highlighting the ways that some states are investing American Rescue Plan Act funds to advance equity and bake in policy change that will support ongoing federal investment. The report specifically highlights Maine’s plan to use federal relief funds to expand mental health and socioemotional support programming to children and providers, as well as the state’s shift to enrollment-based reimbursement for subsidies (rather than the traditional attendance-based). Other states’ efforts to increase pay, reduce barriers to access through higher eligibility cutoffs or waived copays, stabilize provider revenue through higher subsidy reimbursement, or to support home-based childcare providers are also lauded.

Preschool enrollment continued to inch upward pre-pandemic

November 22, 2021 – Young ChildrenEducation

The U.S. Census Bureau tracks changes in preschool enrollment between 2005 and 2019, finding that just under half of 3- and 4-year-olds are enrolled. Although overall enrollment has fluctuated by just a few percentage points over time, the more consistent trend is the shift toward public preschool, as more states implement their own public programs. In Washington, DC, where universal public preschool was unveiled in 2008, more than 80 percent of 3- and 4-year-olds were enrolled. Because the data do not cover the pandemic period, the Bureau utilized a separate source to describe national preschool enrollment trends in 2020, finding that enrollment fell from 54 to 40 percent between 2019 and 2020.

Kindergarten enrollment trends back up, but administrators remain cautious

November 10, 2021 – Young ChildrenCOVID-19, Education

A new report from education blog Chalkbeat describes the unevenness that the pandemic has wrought for kindergarten enrollment. While enrollment fell nationwide by 9 percent in 2020, many districts saw enrollment rise in 2021, although often not to pre-pandemic levels. While trends of decreased enrollment reduce pressure on state budgets, fewer students can mean decreased public support for school systems within the community. As educators and administrators grapple with the long-term trends, getting children up to speed on basic skills interrupted by the pandemic remains the immediate priority.

College enrollment down in Maine, but especially in community colleges

November 7, 2021 – Older Youth, FamiliesCOVID-19, Education, Maine, Workforce

The Portland Press Herald reports substantial declines in Maine’s Community College System enrollment levels since pre-pandemic, with declines happening in both fall 2020 and 2021. Enrollment has also declined, albeit by less than half as much, in the University of Maine System. The article suggests that the greater declines among the community college system are attributable to the demographics of its student body, which tends to enroll more lower-income and non-traditional students who may have been harder hit by the workforce shifts and parenting strains than students in the University setting. In addition, the tight labor market is attracting current and potential students to choose work over enrollment. Within the college systems, administrators also note greater interest in in-person versus virtual, and short-term training or credentialing programs, preferences which may be indicative of trends that predated the pandemic.

Adding data on social emotional learning and school climate did not improve the accuracy of identifying students at risk, but may support interventions

November 1, 2021 – Older YouthEducation

School districts tend to rely solely on academic measures to identify students who are struggling or “at-risk” of poor academic outcomes such as not graduating or being college ready. Researchers at the Regional Education Laboratory (REL) Mid-Atlantic wondered if adding measures of school climate and social and emotional learning (SEL) competencies might improve the accuracy of early warning systems, or if existing academic measures sufficiently capture the elements of SEL and school climate. Using survey data from the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), they found that adding SEL and school climate measures did not substantially improve the accuracy of identifying students at risk of not being college ready. These findings suggest that it may not be worth the time and expense for school districts to add new measures of SEL competencies and school climate into their early warning systems. However, authors note that these measures provide depth that may help districts better understand how to support students who are identified as struggling.

Reviewing the literature on the Head Start-kindergarten transition yields new theory of change

October 27, 2021 – Young ChildrenChildcare, Education

The Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation at the Administration for Children and Families has published a new literature review summarizing existing knowledge on the transition between Head Start to kindergarten for children, families, and educators, with the goal of understanding systems-level practices that can build on the successes of early learning. From the specialized and targeted knowledge base, the report yields a theory of change that the authors suggest can support successful transitions to kindergarten.

Research links achievement of young adulthood milestones to economic stability, finds sequence matters less

September 30, 2021 – Older Youth, FamiliesEducation, Workforce

A new report from the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation examines the 20-year-old policy approach focused on the “success sequence,” or the idea that young adults who complete adulthood-transition milestones in a specific order are more likely to become economically successful. The report considered the completion, timing, and order of these milestones, including high school completion, full-time work, marriage, then childbearing. The authors find substantial variation in the transition-to-adulthood pathways by gender, race/ethnicity, and parental education, but also identify a link between these milestones and economic self sufficiency in adulthood. However, in contrast to the milestones’ typical framing as a “sequence,” the report finds that achievement of the milestones, rather than their timing, is the main driver of economic success in adulthood. The authors also find no link between the milestones and family stability in adulthood, suggesting that the framework may be of less utility in a family-policy setting than in an economic policy setting.

College collects outside-the-classroom data on students to provide supports needed to keep them in the classroom

September 16, 2021 – Older YouthChildcare, COVID-19, Education, Food Security

The Chronicle of Higher Education describes how the pandemic has inspired colleges to enhance data collection on students’ basic needs as a strategic effort to support student well being and improve graduation rates. The article highlights Amarillo College, a two-year college in Texas with about 9,000 enrolled students. While the school has asked students about housing and food insecurity for five years, the pandemic encouraged administrators to invest in more sophisticated data infrastructure. Responses to the survey have been used to meet broad student needs—like partnering with community organizations to implement more bus routes—and in the pandemic, for identifying specific students who need assistance with rent, food, and childcare (using federal pandemic relief funds). In the years since implementing the initial student survey, the college has seen its graduation and transfer rates nearly double, from 30 to 58 percent.

Why We Can't Wait for A New Deal For Youth

August 20, 2021 – General – COVID-19, Education, Racial Equity

CLASP Center for Law and Policy has launched a New Deal for Youth. At a time of pandemic, recession, public lynchings, and uprisings for racial justice, our nation is at a crossroads. The mounting stress and economic fallout from COVID-19 and racial turmoil is widening the equity gap for young people and communities of color. Young people are leading in the face of these entrenched challenges and demanding to be seen and heard. We are in a crisis and need action and investment from the public and private sector to support solutions proposed for decades by young people and racial justice leaders. We can’t wait for economic justice. We can’t wait for healing and wellbeing. We can’t wait for safe communities. It is time for a New Deal for Youth that responds to the historic roots and current scale of the crisis. When the once-in-a-lifetime catastrophe is over, our future as a nation will depend on how intentionally we invest in this generation. #racialequity #education #covid-19

No Child Left Offline: It’s time to prioritize digital equity in America’s public schools

August 2, 2021 – Young Children, Older YouthCOVID-19, Education, Mental Health, Racial Equity

The pandemic’s impact on K-12 students has yet to be fully realized, but schools are bracing for learning losses, mental health challenges, and vast systemic and educational disparities revealed from the switch to remote learning. More than 9 million students did not have access to broadband service or an internet-enabled device at the beginning of the pandemic, having no choice but to miss online school. And because the virus has disproportionately impacted communities of color, students of color have been disproportionately learning remotely. To promote digital equity in education, Brookings scholars propose a “No Child Left Offline” initiative. #covid-19 #education #racialequity #mentalhealth

Reducing the Black-white racial wealth gap will require dedicated and comprehensive policy solutions

July 28, 2021 – FamiliesChildcare, COVID-19, Education, Housing, Racial Equity, Wealth & Assets, Wealth and Assets, Workforce

A new issue brief from the Center for American Progress examines the Black/white wealth gap and summarizes a set of proposals and policy actions to address the gap. Some recommendations include allowing the U.S. Postal Service to conduct banking services to increase community access; investing in research and development opportunities for Black innovators and inventors; dedicating additional funds for Black entrepreneurs; developing a National Savings Plan to provide retirement accounts to public sector workers; and investing in young children through childcare and education. #racialequity #childcare #education #housing #workforce #covid-19 #wealth&assets