Ready News: September 9, 2019

Three Case Studies Underscore Why Evidence-Based Practice Should Inform Policy
Three recent case studies by the Forum have shown how evidence can be used to improve program delivery, and why it should be used to develop good policy.

  • Using evidence for improvement at the local level: The Forum looked at the New York City’s Mayor’s Office of Economic Opportunity’s Young Adult Literacy program. The program serves youth and young adults aged 16 to 24 by providing reading, writing and math instruction in preparation for high school equivalency courses. Early evaluations demonstrated that the program was successful but struggling to retain participants. The program added an internship component with attendance requirements to increase retention.
  • The necessity of elevating evaluation: The Forum released a case study on the Year-Round Pell Grant. Using evidence to inform policy decisions is particularly challenging when the existing research base is thin and findings are not clear. This was the case for decisions regarding the Year-Round Pell Grant program which, over the course of the last decade, was created, discontinued, and reinstated. The brief explains how these policy decisions were or were not informed by evidence and how policymakers adjusted the program over time as research studies were completed and their results released.
  • Using evidence for improvement at the state level: The Forum wrote about ServeMinnesota, a statewide AmeriCorps grantee, and the improvements they made to their Reading Corps program, a K-3 literacy intervention that uses AmeriCorps members to tutor children. While Reading Corps demonstrated results, some children would regress once they left the individualized daily coaching sessions and returned to standard classrooms. ServeMinnesota added a weekly monitoring session to practice reading skills with children. Students who participated in this weekly session had higher probabilities of reaching literacy benchmarks.

Ready by 21 National Meeting: Date and Location Announced!!
The Forum for Youth Investment’s Ready by 21 National Meeting brings together more than 600 local, state, and national leaders who are committed to improving partnerships, policies, and practices for children and youth. These leaders manage change at all levels – from state policy coordination and community-wide cradle-to-career efforts to out-of-school time systems, single-issue coalitions and neighborhood-based initiatives. They come from business, nonprofits, education, policy, philanthropy and intermediaries at the national, state and local levels.

We’re excited to announce that we will be celebrating our 9th annual Ready by 21 National Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky from April 15 – Friday, April 17. The convening will take place at the Louisville Marriott Downtown.

Stay tuned for further details!

One Year On: Exploring the Continued Impact of the Foundations for Young Adult Success Framework with Camille Farrington
Free Webinar
Tuesday, September 17
3:00-4:00 PM EDT

Academic skills are not the only thing a child needs to succeed in life. What else is necessary and how can it be cultivated? How do we strengthen adult capacity and commitment? How do we address the power imbalances that keep us tethered to old definitions of learning?

Drawing on research from several fields in addition to theory and practice to identify building blocks for life success, the Foundations for Young Adult Success Framework, developed by the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research, establishes a framework to help answer these questions. The Framework remains essential to our thinking as new concepts and terminologies emerge and clash, especially around social and emotional learning (SEL).

In this session, the Forum’s President & CEO Karen Pittman will speak again with Camille Farrington, one of the chief architects of the framework, to explore how the framework remains critical to our efforts to put children and youth at the center and address equity.

In her own words, Camille’s work “really centers on the importance of how young people experience and make meaning of school, or whatever learning setting they’re in, and how that meaning that young people make not only has huge implications for whether or not they choose to engage in learning, but it also has big implications for their long term development and their sense of who they are.”

We hope you’ll join us.

Register now!

Karen Pittman Discusses Equity with the National Urban League’s Hal Smith

How can we move toward real educational equity? How do we define what that means?

What does social and emotional learning have to do with it? And why are some advocates cautious of the push for SEL?

The Forum’s President and CEO Karen Pittman recently sat down with the National Urban League’s Hal Smith to explore these questions. The conversation highlighted 12 equity indicators that were used to evaluate state-level education plans, highlighted in the recent National Urban League report titled “Standards of Equity & Excellence: A Lens on ESSA State Plans.” This conversation shared data on inequities, and profiled some examples of how these inequities can be addressed.

At one point in the discussion Karen asked Hal to define equity. Hal responded that “Equity is the intentional dismantling of aspects of privilege, of denied opportunity, of access, that it’s really about the intentional process and less about some kind of fixed-end state. What are the kinds of things that are barriers to young people, to families, to African-Americans writ large, and what can we do to dismantle them? How do we unhook the kinds of predictive power of zip code, of address from life chances?”

The Forum is committed to increasing access to high-quality, equitable learning environments, and is working closely with the National Urban League to move these ideas forward and develop a more interconnected and actionable definition of educational equity.

Explore the conversation recording, transcript, and selected excerpts.