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.


Disrupted plans for post-secondary education especially consequential for low income students

January 13, 2021 – Older Youth, Families

Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce researchers report on data from the National Student Clearinghouse and the Household Pulse Survey, finding that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in lower college enrollment, a finding that bucks the trend of higher enrollment in every recession since the 1960s. The authors find that among households where at least one person had postsecondary plans for fall 2020, 37 percent canceled plans entirely for pandemic-related health or income reasons. These shifts were especially prevalent in low-income households and households with members seeking a certificate or training program diploma (54 percent, versus the 25 percent of households whose members sought a bachelor’s degree). Those seeking bachelor’s degrees were more likely to pivot to remote learning, an option less available for training programs. The authors argue that because delayed and disrupted college-going is linked with increasing heightened risk of noncompletion, some of these low income students may never attend college, further calcifying structures of inequality between high and low income populations. #covid-19 #education

In-person K-12 classes do not drive COVID-19 outbreaks, CDC study finds

January 13, 2021 – Older Youth

Recent research from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)- affiliated authors finds that counties where K-12 schools remained in-person did not have higher numbers of COVID-19 cases than counties where K-12 schools operated online only. In general, outbreaks at K-12 schools have been limited. The study also finds that the number of COVID-19 cases was much lower among younger children (especially ages 0-13) than among young adults (ages 18-24). This suggests that the risk of contributing to coronavirus transmission may be higher in high schools than in elementary schools. #covid-19 #education

Public school enrollment drops, especially among youngest students

January 5, 2021 – General

An American University policy researcher published a piece on The Conversation citing early evidence from a National Public Radio survey of 60 school districts across 20 states. That survey found that school enrollment dropped in fall 2020, with declines in public kindergarten enrollment averaging 16 percent. The author notes that health concerns, limited in-person options, wariness of virtual kindergarten, and family constraints around work and child care have likely all contributed. While delayed or forgone kindergarten isn’t necessarily harmful—particularly if families are able to substitute this time with high-quality at-home learning—for children with more at-home stressors and material hardship, missed school can widen existing inequalities in early education. In addition, decreased enrollment has implications for schools, including reductions in public funds allocated on a per-child basis and a larger 2021-2022 kindergarten cohort who may require intensive supports. #covid-19 #education

School meal delivery offers teachers difficult glimpse into students’ living arrangements

January 3, 2021 – Older Youth

An article from USA Today documents a sobering side effect to school systems’ conversion to school meal drop off models in the pandemic: often for the first time, school staff and educators saw firsthand their students’ living conditions. While teachers delivering meals in rural Illinois were shocked and troubled to find students living without indoor plumbing, electricity, and windows, they also found that seeing students’ home lives prepared them to better support those learners. In addition, parents noted that seeing school staff during meal drop-off provided a sense of “normalcy” amid the upheaval of the pandemic. #covid-19 #education #foodsecurity

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

Can public education return to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic?

October 29, 2020 – General

For now, public education is in chaos, with different schooling combinations of in-person hybrid, fully remote, and plain homeschooling evident—sometimes all in one locality. Brookings reports that the politics now and in the foreseeable future will be fierce, just as we predicted in an earlier Chalkboard post. Even when the health crisis wanes, there will be pressures in two directions: one to put the old arrangements back into place just as they were before the pandemic hit, and the other to keep the crisis adaptations that have worked, at least for some students and their families. #education

COVID-19 could erase parenting gains of the last 30 years

October 26, 2020 – General

Brookings research has attributed income-based inequalities in young children’s academic achievement and educational attainment in part to differences in the home environment; that is, to differences in what parents do and the goals that drive their behavior. However, in our studies using data on parenting behavior and parental goals over the past 30 years, we found that income-based differences in parenting have been steadily decreasing. For instance, since the mid-1980s, low income parents have greatly increased the time they spend in enrichment with young children, such as reading to them, telling them stories, and taking them to the library. And, when we look at parents’ goals for children, we see a complete convergence in trends over time, such that high and low income parents today are equally likely to value children’s ‘thinking for themselves’ and ‘working hard’ over ‘being obedient,’ a trait low-income parents consistently rated as more important than higher income parents throughout the 20th Century. #education

Can new forms of parent engagement be an education game changer post-COVID-19?

October 21, 2020 – General

Brookings reports while there are many schools and organizations around the globe that have long practiced and advocated for teaching and learning approaches that employ innovative pedagogies and put student agency at the center, they have until now remained the exception rather than the norm. The question is: will the COVID-19 pandemic help change that? In particular, will parents’ recent insight into their children’s learning be a new driver for change? Many parents from rural communities in Botswana and India to urban centers in the United States and the United Kingdom have seen up close—and likely for the first time—inside the black box of classroom activities. Will parents’ unprecedented exposure to children’s education shape their beliefs about what a good education looks like over the long term? #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