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.


Students, particularly students of color, are falling behind in school

December 6, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

In early December, a surge of new data and research on student performance became available and the findings are consistently bleak. A national study from McKinsey & Co. estimated that pandemic-related disruptions and remote work in spring 2020 set students of color back three to five months and white students back one to three months in school material. More currently, many school districts have released data showing a sharp increase in failure rates this fall. The spike in failure rates tends to be much higher for students of color and also among English language learners and students in special education programs. All this evidence suggests that learning losses that began in the spring are continuing this fall and disproportionately impacting disadvantaged students. #covid-19 #education #racialequity

New Hampshire public school enrollment decreased in the 2020-2021 school year

November 23, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

New data from the New Hampshire Department of Education reveals changes in public school enrollment during the pandemic. While the state has been typically seeing a one percent decrease in enrollment each year, enrollment in the fall of the 2020-2021 school year had decreased by four percent. Much of this decrease is likely due to families choosing homeschooling or private schoolsover public school given pandemic related uncertainties. However, there was notable variation across the state. Concord, Manchester, and Nashua school districts all reported declines of 4-6 percent and while some more northern recreational areas reported massive spikes in enrollment (such as in Waterville Valley with a 200 percent increase). These enrollment increases are largely driven by families relocating to historically seasonal homes during the pandemic. Since state education funding is tied to the number of enrolled students, these changes—and how fleeting or enduring they are—add confusion to school district budgeting. #covid-19 #education

University enrollment decreases less than feared, increases seen at for-profit institutions

November 17, 2020 – Older Youth

Despite fears of university enrollment declines of 20 percent, early data fromone month into the fall semester show only a 3 percent overall decline in enrollment. According to these data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, public four-year universities have seen an enrollment decline of about 1.4 percent. However, for-profit colleges have seen an increase in enrollment, up by 3 percent. One factor contributing to this trend is that forprofit institutions tend to already be quite experienced and recognized in remote learning. Further, for-profits tend to be more financially nimble and have more access to unrestricted money, allowing them to spend more on marketing and expand financial aid to attract students. #covid-19 #education

Strategies for fostering engaging distance learning in early childhood education

November 9, 2020 – General

Adapting early childhood education, such as pre-kindergarten programs, to remote learning has been particularly challenging. As defined by the National Associate for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), ideal early learning environments use developmentally appropriate practices to promote joyful, engaged learning. Early childhood educators have developed some creative ways to engage young children and connect them with technology and other materials. For example, some educators have coordinated getting donated craft supplies to the homes of students, using puppets to speak on camera, and even rotating a class pet turtle among students’ homes. One teacher with a class of English Learners in Illinois created a YouTube channel where she reads books in English. #covid-19 #education

Pandemic interrupts post-high school plans for some, disproportionately for low income students

October 20, 2020 – Older Youth

New results from a nationally representative poll of high-achieving 2020 high school graduates finds that as of August, most students were continuing to pursue their post-high school plans of attending college. Almost 9-in-10 students applied to at least one college, and 86 percent were accepted to at least one (results collected before actual college attendance). However, the results diverged when researchers stratified the sample by ever having received free and reduced-price lunch: 47 percent who had subsidized meals had changed their plans due to COVID, compared with 28 percent who never had. Potential changes include attending a school closer to home, attending a two-year school instead of a four-year, and for 9 percent of low-income respondents, deciding to forgo college attendance altogether (compared with 5 percent of higher income students). The article suggests that the effects of these decisions are yet unknown, but could have similar long-term earnings impacts to those documented among millennials who came of age during the Great Recession. #covid-19 #education

Full-time enrollment in higher education is down across New England

October 16, 2020 – Older Youth

The Boston Globe describes fall 2020 higher-education enrollment at colleges and universities across New England. According to the New England Commission of Higher Education, full-time enrollment is down by more than 20 percent at over two dozen higher-education institutions in the region. Another 50 New England institutions report enrollment declines between 10 and 20 percent as compared with last year. These declines will accelerate financial pressures on institutions and also signal that current and potential students, perhaps especially low-income students, are finding college out of reach amid the pandemic. #covid-19 #education

Solar-powered mobile hotspots bring internet to rural Virginia for remote learning

October 15, 2020 – Older Youth

Rural stakeholders continue creative provision of internet hotspots to support remote learning into the new school year. The Daily Yonder reports that school officials in rural Louisa County in Virginia initially used hotspots on school buses but struggled to secure a consistent power source. To address this, the school district’s technology director proposed mobile solar-powered hotspots. These “Wireless on Wheels” units cost around $3,000 apiece to create and are designed to continue running even on cloudy days. #covid-19 #rural #education

Another pandemic shift: In many school districts, 1 in 10 kindergartners didn’t show up

September 22, 2020 – General

School districts are seeing similar double-digit declines across the country, from Oakland, California to Philadelphia. Kindergarten enrollment is down 15% from last fall in Hawaii’s schools, according to state data. In Los Angeles, it’s down 14%. And in Gwinnett County, Georgia, where in-person classes have resumed, it’s down 10% since last fall, state and district figures show. The trend seems to cut across income lines, with declines in schools that serve mostly students from low-income families as well as wealthier ones. When the Education Week Research Center surveyed some 400 school district administrators and principals in late August, more than half reported seeing a decline in kindergarten enrollment — and the pattern was similar for high-poverty and more affluent school districts. #covid-19 #education

Tracking the COVID-19 Recession’s Effects on Food, Housing, and Employment Hardships

September 18, 2020 – General

The unemployment rate is very high and millions report that their households did not get enough to eat or that they are behind in paying the rent. CBPP is able to track the extent of this hardship thanks to nearly real-time data from several sources on the unfolding economic crisis. The impacts of the pandemic and the economic fallout have been widespread, but are particularly prevalent among Black, Latino,[1] Indigenous, and immigrant households. These disproportionate impacts reflect harsh, longstanding inequities — often stemming from structural racism — in education, employment, housing, and health care that the current crisis is exacerbating. Relief measures have mitigated hardship, but there are significant gaps and the measures are also temporary. The data, which we will update periodically, drive home the need for substantial, continued relief measures. #foodsecurity #education #racialequity #workforce

How courageous schools partnering with local communities can overcome digital inequalities during COVID-19

September 17, 2020 – General

Across the U.S., “pandemic pods,” or quarantine learning bubbles, are being established to protect students and teachers from the coronavirus, or COVID-19, and limit possible exposure within the group. Homeschooling has become an increasingly viable option for parents who can offer the space, time, structure, and technology to their children. Private and charter schools are also drawing the attention of families with children in public schools by offering more robust digital resources and student support. But these pathways to continuous learning are not available to students who may reside in communities with limited spaces for play, in geographically isolated rural areas, and among those with limited or no access to home broadband. These differences in resources result in the racial and income disparities that define the digital divide and have far-reaching implications for school-age children without internet access. #education #rural #racialequity

Strategies for school-community partnerships to reduce digital divide

September 17, 2020 – Older Youth

A new post from Brookings details ways that schools can benefit from partnership with local communities to address the digital inequalities that are critically relevant to learners in the COVID context. Specific strategies include repurposing space from shuttered businesses for small-group/cohort-based classroom purposes; encouraging businesses to donate (or offer at low cost) computers or office furniture to schools in exchange for tax credits; and intentionally providing Wi-Fi hot spots in homeless shelters and subsidized housing settings. The authors posit that creative thinking is necessary for reimagining schooling in ways that intentionally disrupt the pandemic’s exacerbation of inequality. #covid-19 #education

College enrollment declines, especially among disadvantaged students

September 16, 2020 – Older Youth

The Washington Post describes early signs of disproportionate college enrollment declines and higher dropouts among low-income students, students of color, and rural students. Declines in enrollment are greatest at community colleges. College enrollment increased during the Great Recession and tends to increase in any economic downturn, although the opposite is happening in the current pandemic-related recession. Some key reasons for this include concerns about exposure to the virus, lost income prohibiting enrollment, and challenges with virtual classes such as insufficient access to broadband and other technology at home. As enrollment declines unevenly, concerns about perpetuating inequality abound. #covid-19 #education #racialequity #rural