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A Demographic and Economic Profile of Duluth, Minnesota, and Superior, Wisconsin

August 1, 2017

In this brief, we present a demographic and economic profile of Duluth, MN, and Superior, WI, with a specific focus on families with children. The cities, situated at the western point of Lake Superior, share a rich economic history as major ports for coal, iron ore, and grain. Each city is also home to numerous colleges and universities, including the University of Minnesota-Duluth and the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

State EITC Programs Provide Important Relief to Families in Need

February 28, 2017

The federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is one of the largest anti-poverty programs in the nation, offering tax credits to low- and moderate-earning families. The amount of EITC benefits varies by earnings and the number of dependent children in a family, with considerably more generous benefits going to families with children. In addition to the federal EITC, as of 2015, twenty-six states and the District of Columbia provided additional EITC dollars. Most state EITCs are generally structured such that they offer credits equal to a proportion of the federal EITC, varying from 3.5 percent in Louisiana to 40 percent in Washington, DC.

A Profile of Youth Poverty and Opportunity in Southwestern Minnesota

February 14, 2017

Like many rural communities across the United States, Southwestern Minnesota (hereafter SW Minnesota; see Box 1) has an aging population, evidenced by a growing share of seniors and a declining share of children and young adults, particularly among the non-Hispanic white population. As the population ages, it is also becoming more diverse, as racial-ethnic minority population is far younger, on average, than the non-Hispanic white population and contains a disproportionate share of children and young adults. Much of the growth in diversity is driven by an expanding population of immigrants. These residents, typically in their young working-age years, often establish themselves in SW Minnesota and go on to have families of their own.

Most U.S. School Districts Have Low Access to School Counselors

October 25, 2016

In education today, diverse movements such as the "whole child" approach, "conveyor belt" services, and "Let's Move!" share a common understanding that children bring a host of needs to school and often require more than academic support. Students living in poverty often benefit from more intensive support, as they are much more likely to come from difficult circumstances such as less stable homes and more violent environments. It is difficult to estimate the number of children with social or emotional impediments to learning, but by any measure it is substantial. Addressing the non-cognitive challenges these students face is important not only for them but for their peers, who can experience harmful spillover effects. Even students who perform well can face "last mile" hurdles that prevent them from successfully transitioning to suitable college or career options.School counselors, tasked with addressing the academic, career, personal, and social needs of students, play a crucial role in bridging these gaps. Perhaps the most popularized aspect of their work is conducting one-on-one and small group counseling with students in need, but in addition school counselors often work closely with school administrators, teachers, school support staff, parents, and outside community members to design, implement, and evaluate comprehensive wellness programs within schools. For instance, such curricula may aim to provide drug abuse awareness, foster non-cognitive academic skills, or develop appropriate social connections. Additionally, school counselors play an important role in meeting the needs of, and advocating for, students with a disability.

Exclusionary Discipline Highest in New Hampshire’s Urban Schools

March 1, 2016

Exclusionary school discipline—that is, suspension and expulsion—disproportionately affects already disadvantaged students on both the national and state levels. In New Hampshire, students attending larger urban schools, male students, students of color, students eligible for free and reduced-price lunch, students with disabilities, and homeless students are more likely to experience exclusionary school discipline, although racial disparities appear to stem largely from the greater racial diversity at the urban schools that use this type of discipline at higher rates with all students. Previous research indicates that exclusionary discipline and the resulting loss of classroom time is associated with poorer academic outcomes. Therefore, regardless of the precipitates of exclusionary discipline, it is worth exploring the extent to which exclusionary discipline is experienced among New Hampshire students.

Federal EITC Kept 2 Percent of the Population Out of Poverty

November 17, 2015

This brief documents the proportion of Americans who would have been poor absent the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), all else being equal, across 2010–2014. We examine Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) rates as well as hypothetical increases in the rates of SPM poverty in the absence of federal EITC benefits. It is important to note that we do not model behavioral changes that might result from the removal of EITC benefits, so the analyses presented here are a simplified representation of such a hypothetical scenario. The SPM is an obvious choice for this analysis because unlike the Official Poverty Measure (OPM), which only accounts for before-tax cash income, the SPM also considers in-kind benefits, tax credits, and out-of-pocket work and medical expenses when estimating resources. We present SPM rates for all individuals (Table 1) as well as for children only (Table 2), analyzing trends across regions, metropolitan status, and by state. Importantly, geographic differences in the cost of housing are accounted for in the SPM rates, and consequently the analyses presented here give a more accurate sense of the poverty reducing impact of EITC benefits.

Limited Access to AP Courses for Students in Smaller and More Isolated Rural School Districts

February 11, 2015

The call for college and career readiness pervades state and federal policy initiatives, reflecting agrowing sense that an increasing number of high school graduates are underprepared for the demandsof postsecondary education. Despite the push for high, common standards, high school students engage invery different curricula in terms of both content and rigor. Advanced Placement (AP) coursework offers highschool students more intense academic training, consisting of a series of college-level courses and assessments. Completing AP coursework may give students valuable experience, and college credit is often earned throughsuccess on end-of-year examinations. This brief assesses trends in access to, enrollment in, and success in APcoursework (see Box 1 on page 2) in relation to school district poverty, racial composition, and urbanicity (seeBox 2 on page 4). It uses data merged from the 2011– 2012 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), the 2012 Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE), and the 2010 Decennial U.S. Census. These data reflect APaccess, enrollment, and success only at the district level. Consequently, it is not possible to draw conclusionsabout individual students or school-level trends from this analysis. Note that when examining AP enrollmentand success, we consider only those districts that offer some access to AP coursework.

Restraint and Seclusion of Students With a Disability Continue to Be Common in Some School Districts: Patterns Remain Relatively Consistent Despite Recent Policy Changes

October 28, 2014

In 2013, Carsey released a brief that analyzed rates of restraint and seclusion using a large, nationally representative data set of U.S. school districts. This brief serves as a follow-up to the previous brief, and its findings are particularly germane for two reasons. First, whereas all previous surveys of restraint and seclusion practices from the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) surveys provided only representative samples, the most current survey was issued to all districts in the United States. Therefore, we were able to analyze a more comprehensive data set approximately twice the size of the one used in the 2013 brief. Second, approximately one-half of U.S. states updated their policies on restraint and seclusion between the 2009–2010 and 2011–2012 CRDC surveys,as lawmakers and civil rights advocates are increasingly questioning the use of restraint and seclusion in schools. Therefore, it is plausible that the frequency of restraint and seclusion in schools could have changed considerably during this time.

Variation Found in Rates of Restraint and Seclusion Among Students With a Disability

December 17, 2013

The restraint and seclusion of individuals— practices usually associated with highly restrictive environments—are extreme responses to student behavior used in some public schools (see Box 1). This brief aims to answer important questions about the extent and use of restraint and seclusion in schools. Do rates of restraint and seclusion vary based on the disability status of students?How frequently do schools restrain and seclude students? Do trends of restraint and seclusion vary across district poverty rate and racial composition? This brief draws on data from the 2009– 2010 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) and the 2009 Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE).