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.

New Hampshire seeks contract with Vermont hospital to serve children’s mental health needs

December 6, 2021 – Young Children, Older YouthCOVID-19, Mental Health

Facing enduring elevation in the number of children seeking inpatient mental health services, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services is proposing to contract with a Vermont hospital to provide 10 additional inpatient beds through the next six months. The department estimates 100 children could be served by such a contract—children who are otherwise waiting weeks in the emergency room for an inpatient bed in New Hampshire to become available. The director of the New Hampshire chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness noted that wait-list length has approximately quadrupled since before the pandemic and estimated that a 15-child waitlist is equivalent to a two-week wait for services. Per state data, a record 51 children were awaiting services in February 2021, although this has dropped to 12 as of December 2021. If approved, the Vermont contract would be renewable for up to four years, allowing the state to complete its planned purchase and expansion of an existing hospital to better align with child and family needs in the state.

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.

Report gathers evidence on measuring quality in home-based childcare

October 22, 2021 – Young Children, Older Youth, FamiliesChildcare, Racial Equity

As part of its “Home Based Child Care Supply and Quality Project,” the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation has published a literature review that summarizes features of childcare quality in home-based settings. The work finds wide variation in the definition of home-based childcare (HBCC), but some common features of quality, including those related to learning environments and the provider’s relationships with children and families. The review finds that HBCC providers often excel at certain quality features like mixed age and nontraditional hours care, but also that there is scant scholarship on family friend and neighbor (FFN) care, compared with licensed/registered/listed family childcare (FFC). The paper concludes with recommendations that future research focus on children, families, and providers from historically marginalized groups, on HBCC for older children or children with disabilities, and on drawing in multiple or mixed methods to best understand the breadth and long-term outcomes of HBCC experiences.

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.

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

FAFSA verification requirements waived for 2021-2022 school year

July 13, 2021 – Older YouthEducation, Racial Equity

The U.S. Department of Education has waived verification requirements for most information required to complete the federal financial aid form for 2021-2022. The verification process typically requires selected applicants—typically between 15 and 40 percent of all applicants—to undergo an auditing process to verify that the financial information they submitted on federal financial aid forms is correct. (A separate Washington Post analysis of 2010 to 2020 data finds that students in majority Black or Hispanic neighborhoods, or who are Pell-grant eligible, are disproportionately likely to be selected for verification). Although this process aims at reducing fraud, it hinders low income and first generation students who may struggle to locate required tax paperwork or complete the complex forms without family or school support, thereby becoming ineligible for financial aid. Without this administrative burden, disadvantaged students have one less chance for falling through the cracks in the transition to college. #racialequity #education

Early evidence suggests four-day school weeks don’t meet all their aims

July 12, 2021 – Young Children, Older YouthCOVID-19, Education, Rural

Four-day school weeks have become increasingly common in rural places, with 662 districts in 24 states using this model pre-pandemic. To ease remote learning implementation and reduce costs, the COVID-19 pandemic increased adoption of this model both in and out of rural areas, with the aim of reducing budgetary issues, attracting teachers, and improving student attendance. While there is some evidence that teachers view the model as a benefit, there are minimal budgetary savings or attendance improvements. Little evidence exists on the implications for student achievement, but early data from Oklahoma and Oregon suggests outcomes depends on how learning time is structured. One major downside to a four-day school week is in reduced access to school-based services, like childcare, physical activity, and school-meal programs that students and families rely on during the typical work-week. #covid-19 #education #rural

U.S. Census Bureau describes living arrangements of young parents

June 14, 2021 – Older Youth, FamiliesHousing

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), about half of young parents (ages 15-22) lived with their spouse or unmarried partner. While 22.7 percent of young parents live with a spouse, 30.2 percent live with an unmarried partner and the other half report living with no spouse or partner present (47.1 percent). The author notes that this follows the larger trend among young adults to live with an unmarried partner rather than marry and/or to marry later (median age at first marriage is about 30). Two-in-five young parents live with one or both of their own parents, although this rises to three-in-five among young solo parents. Living arrangements also varied by sex, with young fathers less likely to live with any of their children than young mothers (56.5 percent compared to 85.6 percent). #housing

Experimental test of early tuition commitment increases low-income students’ college application and enrollment

June 1, 2021 – Older YouthEducation

A study published in the American Economic Review used a randomized controlled trial to test whether clarifying financial aid availability to low-income, high-achieving high school seniors alters their college application decisions. Partnering with the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, researchers mailed information to about 2,000 Michigan students in 2015 and 2016. Students in half of the 500 schools selected for the study received mailers that encouraged them to apply to the University and committed to providing four years of free tuition for those admitted. Students in the other schools received no mailings. The authors found that the mailer increased the likelihood of applying to the university from 26 percent among controls to 68 percent among the treatment group, and the share enrolling from 12 percent to 27 percent. #education