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.


Pandemic sparks changes to standardized testing, reducing burdens for low income students

January 19, 2021 – Older Youth

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that COVID-19 has triggered long-considered changes to standardized testing; in the latest example, the College Board is nixing SAT Subject Tests and the SAT’s essay section. Citing declining demand for these offerings, particularly amid remote-learning environments, the College Board is discontinuing these tests effective immediately. The Chronicle notes widespread support among educators and advocates, who have long criticized the tests as a barrier to college entrance for lower-income students and students of color who are less likely to have access to specialized tutoring and insider knowledge that can enhance test performance. Still, some experts warn that the loss of these specific tests means college admissions offices will simply substitute emphasis on Advanced Placement exams or extracurricular activities, which would still leave lower-income students at a disadvantage. #covid-19 #education #racialequity

Biden proposes EITC expansion to young childless workers

January 15, 2021 – Older Youth

The Senior Director of Federal Tax Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Chuck Marr, is praising President Joe Biden’s proposed expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). This expansion would address the persistent EITC gap facing workers age 19-25, who under current EITC law, are only eligible to claim the EITC if they have a child at home. The proposal would benefit 17.4 million young workers, including concentrations of Latinx and Black workers. Marr notes that these workers are disproportionately low earning: the three occupations with the greatest number of newly eligible workers are cashiers, cooks, and retail salespersons, all industries that have been newly recognized as essential in the pandemic. #workforce

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

Administration for Children and Families report outlines research on the “success sequence” for young adults

January 12, 2021 – Older Youth

A new report from the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation at the federal Administration on Children and Families summarizes years of existing research on a transition to adulthood framework that is increasingly popular in federal programming. The framework is a sequence of key adolescent and young adult milestones that when achieved in a specific order are understood to improve chances of achieving middle class status in adulthood. Among these milestones are high school graduation, full-time employment, and delaying parenthood until after marriage. The Mathematica researchers who authored the report conclude that the three milestones are indeed associated with adulthood economic outcomes—and with each other—but note that evidence confirming causal pathways and the importance of the specific graduation-workpost-marital-childbearing sequencing is not robust. #olderyouth

Boys lag girls in high school graduation rates

January 12, 2021 – Older Youth

Scholars from the Brookings Institution collected data on 2017-2018 high school graduation rates from 37 states (including Maine) and found that despite interstate variation in overall graduation rates, in each state assessed, boys’ graduation rates were lower than girls’ (82 versus 88 percent overall). The U.S. Department of Education requires states to report overall graduation rates, rates by race-ethnicity, and rates by selected subgroups (for instance, children with disabilities and English learners). Although the federal government does not require reporting by gender, many states collect this information anyway; aggregated state data allowed researchers to identify this gender gap, but also to note that graduation rates are especially low for Black and Hispanic boys. The researchers call for the federal government to add gender measures to existing tracking efforts so that patterns at the intersection of race-ethnicity and gender can be more readily monitored and addressed. #education #racialequity

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

Federal student-aid policy change eases administrative burden for low-income and disadvantaged students

December 2, 2020 – Older Youth

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on a new policy change that will make the process of applying for federal student aid less cumbersome. The U.S. Education Department is reducing the percentage of student aid applications that are selected for “verification”—an additional and lengthy review step requiring more paperwork and typically required of 30 percent of Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) applicants. Verification is time-consuming and often confusing, especially when students do not have external support. While the intent is to reduce fraud and correct errors, research has found that the administrative burden of verification may outweigh the benefits. Informed by this research and their own data analysis, the Education Department’s Office of Federal Student Aid decided to reduce the percentage of FAFSA filers required to complete verification from 30 percent down to 18 percent. While low-income students will still be disproportionately burdened by verification, the change means that fewer disadvantaged students will have to navigate this red tape. #education

The transition to adulthood is complicated for DACA recipients in mixed-status families

November 30, 2020 – Older Youth

A new article in the Journal of Family Issues explores the transition to adulthood and changing family roles of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients living in mixed-status families (where some members are undocumented). Through in-depth qualitative interviews with DACA recipients in Florida, the researchers found that while DACA has expanded opportunities for recipients, it is also still characterized by instability and insecurity. Recipients’ transitions to adulthood are still complicated by their legal status precarity and their close connections to family members who remain undocumented. As they transition into young adulthood, DACA recipients were not able to “individuate” or distinguish themselves as adults separate from family systems the same way their peers with citizenship status are able to. Additionally, the new legal benefits granted to the DACA recipient can lead to youth taking on the role of ‘institutional broker’ in their family, helping undocumented members interface with government entities and outside organizations. #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

New Hampshire reports spike in number of children awaiting psychiatric services

November 19, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

The State of New Hampshire’s Office of the Child Advocate reports a substantial increase in children needing emergency mental health care during the pandemic. In the first few months of 2020 before the pandemic hit, the daily count of people under 18 years old in emergency rooms awaiting acute psychiatric care was less than 15. In fall 2020, the daily count rose to a ‘historic’ 30+ kids. Although an inadequate number of psychiatric beds in the state is contributing to the backlog, one of the best ways to address this challenge is through bolstering prevention mental health services for children to avoid a crisis warranting emergency care. #covid-19 #mentalhealth