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.


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.

Economic Research Service finds rural America losing population

November 18, 2021 – FamiliesCOVID-19, Racial Equity, Rural

The Economic Research Service has released its Rural America at a Glance report for 2021, finding that the rural population shrank by 0.6 percent between 2010 and 2020. The authors find that the decline has been driven by losses in rural counties designated as persistently poor, where the population has dropped by 5.7 percent. In the meantime, urban populations grew by 8.8 percent, and even persistently poor urban places, by 5.8 percent. Analysis of pandemic-era measures show that rural places have experienced more infections per 100,000 residents than urban places, and rural vaccination rates trail urban rates by more than 10 percentage points. While job loss has recovered in both types of places, rural residents in persistently poor places are disadvantaged by their lower broadband connectivity rates. Finally, the paper shows that persistently poor rural counties are twice as racially diverse as their nonpoor rural counterparts. Between population loss, low broadband connectivity, and disproportionately pandemic impacts, the report’s findings suggest that rural Black, Latinx, and American Indian residents face a nexus of economic challenges.

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.

Barriers and opportunities to connecting home-based childcare providers with federal programs

November 9, 2021 – Young ChildrenChildcare, COVID-19

A new paper from the Urban Institute focuses on supporting home-based childcare (HBCC) providers’ participation in federal programs, from childcare scholarships to financial supports from the Small Business Administration. The report cites evidence that during the pandemic, parents have preferred the smaller and more flexible settings HBCC providers offer. The authors cite unfamiliarity with the programs, challenges enrolling, and difficulty meeting program requirements as key challenges facing HBCC providers. Given new pandemic-era funding for the childcare sector, authors note that states could provide dedicated outreach and support staff for helping HBCC providers navigate the federal programming landscape. They also cite formal HBCC network opportunities as a promising model, and suggest that fully utilizing federal resources is key to stabilizing the HBCC sector.

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.

Amid national improvement, October jobs report shows no recovery for women and workers of color

November 5, 2021 – FamiliesCOVID-19, Racial Equity, Workforce

Although the recent Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report showed a small decline in employment nationwide (4.8 to 4.6 percent), these gains have notbeen uniformly realized. Adult men saw a decline in unemployment of 0.4 percentage points (to 4.3 percent), while adult women experienced a 0.2 percentage point increase (to 4.4 percent). Black unemployment rates remain more than three percentage points higher than the national rate, at 7.9 percent in October, with Hispanic rates also above national levels, at 5.9 percent.

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.

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.

Bipartisan Policy Center report identifies roles for community foundations in meeting local childcare challenges

October 21, 2021 – Young Children, FamiliesChildcare

To supplement federal and state efforts to support the childcare sector, a new report from the Bipartisan Policy Center calls attention to the role that community foundations can play in local-level interventions. The authors suggest that these foundations benefit from deep local knowledge, a high degree of trust, and capacity to leverage non-governmental sources of funding that can support the sector in their own communities. The report highlights the efforts of foundations in eight states, and lists strategies that many foundations share, including funding needs assessments, shared service models, and advocacy efforts.

Summary of early childhood educator convening focuses on racial, economic, and social justice

October 21, 2021 – Young Children, FamiliesChildcare, COVID-19, Racial Equity, Workforce

The Urban Institute recently published coverage of its January 2021 convening of early childhood education researchers, which focused on strengthening financial equity and workforce wellbeing among educators with a racial, economic, and social justice lens. The paper summarizes discussion and presentations from the event, concluding that the pandemic worsened conditions of pay and wellbeing for early educators in ways that reflect much longer-running conditions of structural racism. Focusing investment on home-based providers or infant/toddler educators—sectors in which women of color are disproportionately represented—could provide a pathway to addressing this gap.

Women are advancing in the workplace, but women of color still lag behind

October 20, 2021 – General –

Race and gender continue to create divergent and uneven outcomes for women of all races and for men of color. This is particularly evident in the underrepresentation and experiences of women employed in professional occupations. An oft-cited statistic, for instance, reveals that as a result of factors including, but not limited to, motherhood penalties, gender discrimination, and occupational segregation, women make 79 cents for every dollar men earn. But Black women earn only 64 cents on the dollar, and for Latinas it is a dismal 54 cents. As it was in the early 20th century, women of color continue to experience occupational and economic disadvantages that reflect the ways both race and gender affect their work experiences. #workforce #racialequity