DoEd Releases Guidance on Homeless Children and Youth: DoEd releases guidance to states and school districts on the new provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) for supporting homeless youth. The new provisions address the needs of homeless individuals, and ensure educational rights and protections for homeless children and youth. The guidance released will assist state and local partners in understanding and implementing the new law in order to better protect and serve homeless students and help schools in providing these students with much needed stability, safety, and support. The guidance was informed by the input of a diverse group of stakeholders to best address the needs of homeless youth.
Children Whose Parents Are Substance Abusers Have Increased Medical Risks: Children whose parents use alcohol or drugs are at increased risk of medical and behavioral problems, according to a new report.The American Academy of Pediatrics, which published the report, urges pediatricians to assess children’s risk, and intervene when necessary. About 20% of U.S. children grow up in a home in which someone misuses alcohol or has a substance use disorder, the report notes.\
IES Funds Center to Improve Virtual Learning: The DoEd Institute of Education Sciences (IES) makes an $8.9 million grant to the University of Florida for a new Research and Development (R & D) Center that will focus on personalizing and improving virtual learning. The Virtual Learning Lab will conduct a focused program of research to learn whether precision education can improve students’ ability to pass an end-of course exam. The researchers will address the challenge of improving low-achieving students’ achievement in algebra, using Algebra Nation, a free online learning platform for students and teachers designed to promote mastery of basic algebra.
Poverty Rose in 2015: The level of human need in the United States increased 15% on a year-over-year basis in 2015, a report from the Salvation Army and Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana U. finds. Based on aggregate data tracking seven services commonly delivered by nonprofits — meals provided, groceries, clothing, housing, furniture, medical assistance, and help with energy bills — the Human Needs Index found that the level of need nationwide fell from 3.00 in 2012 to 2.57 in 2013 and 1.97 in 2014, but rose to 2.28 in 2015 — with increases in all categories except groceries provided. North Dakota had the highest HNI score, followed by Nevada, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.
Funders Should Support Worker-Owned Businesses: Supporting worker-owned businesses can help create quality jobs, sustain communities, and address the seemingly inexorable rise in income inequality, a report from the Surdna Foundation finds. The report, Ours to Share: How Worker-Ownership Can Change the American Economy, examines the role broad-based worker-ownership is playing, and has the potential to play in making the U.S. economy more inclusive. According to the study, worker co-ops and firms that offer employee stock ownership plans (ESOP) demonstrate slightly higher worker productivity than traditional firms and are more likely to be sustainable in the event of an economic downturn.
Report Calls for Supporting Entrepreneurship Among Mothers: While mothers who start their own businesses may have more flexibility than those in a traditional workplace, they often face a “double whammy” — both as women and as entrepreneurs, a report from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation finds. The report, Labor After Labor, finds mother-entrepreneurs face many of the same challenges as women employees in traditional workplaces, including negative stereotypes regarding their skill level, higher financial barriers, greater family conflict, a lack of supportive mentors and peers, and difficulty realizing the work-life balance that attracted them to business ownership in the first place. Indeed, the participation rate of women in the labor force has stagnated since 2000, while their entrepreneurship rate remains about half that of men.
Improving Early Child Ed Gateway to Lowering Poverty: Billion-dollar philanthropic investments in key areas could improve social mobility and revive “the American dream” for low-income families, a report from the Bridgespan Group argues. The report, Billion Dollar Bets to Create Economic Opportunity for Every American, identified four areas in which investments of $1 billion could dramatically improve the lifetime earnings of low-income Americans. The researchers evaluated proven interventions and promising innovations in the four areas, which they then narrowed to six “big bets” — improving early childhood development, establishing clear and viable pathways to careers, reducing rates of conviction and incarceration, reducing unintended pregnancies, reducing the effects of concentrated poverty on those living in distressed neighborhoods, and improving the performance of public systems that oversee social services.
Performance-Based Ed Funding Doesn’t Work, Study Finds: Performance-based funding support for public universities not only fails to boost college completion rates but also reinforces existing disparities in those rates, a report from the Century Foundation argues. The report, Why Performance-Based College Funding Doesn’t Work found that while 32 states have adopted performance-based funding policies, research shows that such policies generally do not result in improved service delivery. Indeed, 12 studies highlighted in the report found no statistically significant improvement in graduation rates or the number of degrees and certificates awarded annually in states with performance-based funding, compared with those without such policies, while in some performance-based states degree productivity actually fell. Conversely, when provided with additional resources, colleges increased their degree-completion rates, even in the absence of explicit performance goals and financial incentives.
Fidelity Charitable Grants Driven by Social Giving Healthcare: In its fourth annual giving report, Fidelity Charitable reports that its more than 80,000 donor-advised funds awarded grants totaling $3.1 billion in 2015, once again making it the second largest U.S. grantmaking organization, after the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. According to the 2016 Fidelity Charitable Giving Report nearly 734,000 grants were awarded to more than 106,000 organizations in 2015, with increases in giving to relief organizations and for social fundraising events. Group participation in giving activities such as charity walks also increased, especially for nonprofits focused on health care and medical research.
Funders, Advocacy Groups Becoming More Transparent, Study Finds: Nonprofits, advocacy group, and foundations around the world are becoming more transparent about their funding sources, a report from Transparify, a watchdog group, finds. Based on an analysis of funding and donor information disclosed online by 200 advocacy groups and foundations, the report said. It found that 67 of the organizations analyzed were “highly” or “broadly” transparent, up from 35 and 51, respectively, in the 2014 and 2015 reports. Of the 43 U.S.-based organizations included in the report, 14, including the Center for Global Development, the Pew Research Center, and World Resources Institute, were rated “highly transparent” (five stars).
White House Launches Data-Driven Justice Initiative: The White House rolls out a public-private initiative to encourage the use of data to reduce mass incarceration in the United States.
Through the Data-Driven Justice (DDJ) Initiative, a coalition of 67 city, county, and state governments will work to adopt data-driven strategies aimed at diverting low-level offenders with mental illness out of the criminal justice system. DDJ also will work to equip law enforcement and first responders with protocols for de-escalating crisis situations. The coalition includes the governments of Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Utah.
Nonprofits Concerned About New Federal Overtime Rules: While most nonprofits support fair labor standards and paying workers overtime, new federal overtime rules will force many organizations to reduce staff and cut back on services unless governments take steps to revise existing contracts and agreements, a survey conducted by the National Council of Nonprofits finds. It found a third of respondents anticipate that compliance with the new requirements will lead to increased suffering in communities as nonprofits are forced to cut back on services. According to NCN, nonprofits with government grants and contracts find themselves being asked to provide services at rates that do not take into account the increased costs imposed by the new regulations, which go into effect in December.