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.


23.5 million workers with young children do not have a possible caregiver at home

July 8, 2020 – Families

As reopening schools and child care programs this fall looks more challenging amid rising COVID-19 cases, a Brookings analyst estimated the impact this might have on working parents. Forty-one million workers have at least one child under age 18, comprising nearly one-third of the national workforce. Working parents with children under age 14 account for over one-quarter of the workforce, or 33.5 million workers. Of these working parents with young children, the majority—70 percent or 23.5 million workers—do not have any available caregivers at home. Likely the ability of these parents to continue working or return to work will depend on schools and child care programs reopening. #education #workforce #covid-19

Strategies for supporting informal child care providers

June 24, 2020 – Young Children

Mathematica, in partnership with foundations in the Bay Area and in Detroit, has been shared some of their key findings from years of work on informal child care. As questions about school and child care re-openings and capacity remain, the authors expect reduced access to formal settings and increased reliance on informal caregivers. Supporting informal caregivers and enhancing the quality of this care will become increasingly important. Such supports include promoting subsidies for informal providers (available in some states), building informal caregiver networks and incorporating informal caregivers’ input into programming that is offered around child development and education. #covid-19 #education

Maine Data Glimpse: Pandemic Shift to Remote Learning

June 17, 2020 – Older Youth, Young Children

The U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey is a unique source of timely data on how households are faring across the United States and in each state during the pandemic. Topics include household income and employment changes, mental health, food insufficiency, and the shift to remote learning. In this data glimpse, we use these new data to explore remote learning shifts in New England and the United States. #covid-19 #education

Brookings experts propose new formula to allocate federal education aid to states

June 15, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

Experts at Brookings argue that future federal education aid should not be distributed through existing formulas (like the Title I formulas used to distribute CARES Act funding), which cause confusion around spending restrictions and reduce local flexibility. Instead, authors propose allocating aid based simply on child poverty rates, wherein states with higher rates would receive more aid per student. Currently, states with higher levels of child poverty tend to spend far less on education—one factor that reduces allocations under Title I. #covid-19 #education

Only 20 percent of K-12 school districts offered rigorous remote learning this spring

June 15, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

A new report from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) finds that only about one in five K-12 school districts offered “rigorous” remote learning this spring. A remote learning plan was defined as “rigorous” if it: used online platforms to deliver content; included synchronous learning (such as over Zoom); tracked attendance or participation; and included some amount of grading. Further, only 12 percent of school districts classified as high poverty had rigorous plans. Of course, this metric assumes at-home internet access and sufficient access to devices; AEI suggests that paper packets are not as effective as online platforms, particularly when there is little grading and/or accountability attached. #covid-19 #education

Educators go to great lengths to follow up with students absent from remote learning

June 14, 2020 – Families

As schools moved online in response to the pandemic, some students went missing. Determined educators in Detroit, Michigan followed up with the families of students who had been absent from remote learning. If several phone calls were not returned, some teachers went directly to the student’s house to try to find them and make sure they were okay. Detroit has been hit hard by the coronavirus and many families had lost someone or needed extra support. One school kept a log of daily calls to families in a shared spreadsheet and made note of anyone who was sick or facing financial challenges. The school has been using the log to organize condolence cards, gift cards, and grief counseling for families. #education #covid-19

Children still need physical education in remote learning environments

June 3, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

One aspect of K-12 education that has often been left out during the transition to remote learning is physical education. A University of South Carolina researcher notes that without the structure of a school day, many children are typically less physically active over the summer. This summer, with many activities canceled, children may be even less active than usual, which has implications for longer-term health and child wellbeing. The author provides age-appropriate suggestions for parents, such as playing catch with elementary students to develop motor skills. #covid-19 #education

Student debt relief needed in coronavirus recovery

June 3, 2020 – Families

Experts at Brookings suggest that student debt cancellation—or some other form of long-term student debt relief—is needed in the next national COVID-19 relief bill. Although the CARES Act does provide some student debt relief by temporarily suspending some payments, authors suggest a more comprehensive solution will be necessary. Even before the pandemic, “almost two-thirds of student borrowers were unable to pay down the principal or even all of the monthly interest on their loans, resulting in increasing debt balances.” Borrowers of color, especially Black borrowers, are disproportionately burdened by student debt and supportive policies can begin to address these longstanding inequalities. Brooking authors estimate the impact of various levels of student loan forgiveness ($10k, $20k, and $30k), finding that a $20k of forgiveness would provide total relief for almost half of all borrowers. #covid-19 #education

Research finds that promoting virtual charter schools is a poor policy response

June 2, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

In the context of pandemic-related virtual learning transitions, Brookings researchers summarized their recent publication comparing student achievement (as measured by test scores) in Indiana virtual charter schools and traditional in-person public schools. Using longitudinal education data, the authors found that attending a virtual charter school has clear and consistent negative effects on math and language scores. When they compared in-person charter schools to traditional public schools, there was no difference in achievement. While this work pre-dates the pandemic, the authors raise concerns about expanding virtual charter schools during the pandemic as a policy response, despite Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s pursuit of this strategy. #covid-19 #education

Even before the pandemic many low-income students faced limited technology access

May 29, 2020 – General

Using data from the nationally representative Understanding America Study, researchers from the University of California explored issues of student access to technology. The researchers found that 85% of families with at least one school-aged child had access to the internet and a home computer, although rates were much lower (63%) among families earning $25,000 or less per year. The researchers note that children in these families may still have access to technology through tablets, smartphones, or public WiFi, but that the quality of their educational experience likely differs from those among their higher income peers. #covid-19 #education

Remote learning best practices based on available evidence

May 28, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

The Regional Education Laboratory (REL Mid-Atlantic) recently published a review of existing research on remote learning strategies and promising practices that teachers can implement quickly. For example, studies have found poorer results for students in courses where there is little to no real-time interaction with their instructor. Teachers can create additional opportunities for synchronous interactions by holding virtual office hours or meeting with students by phone. Among the other helpful strategies identified were the importance of ongoing feedback and support from teachers, enhancing online learning with other resources, and tying academic material to the real world. #covid-19 #education

Education aid needed to avoid detrimental K-12 cuts

May 27, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

Amid state and local revenue losses, there is concern that school funding will be reduced to balance budgets. Cuts to funding, teachers, staff, and even school days were made during the Great Recession and many school districts have still not recovered. The HEROES Act, which has been passed in the House and now faces the Senate, includes important education aid for states and localities. Researchers at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities identify several crucial measures in the HEROES Act, including direct and flexible funding to states, territories, tribes, and localities; direct funding to local school districts; and increasing the federal matching rate for Medicaid which will offer direct savings to states. #covid-19 #education