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English Learner Testing during the Pandemic: An Early Readout and Look Ahead

May 17, 2022

In addition to upending daily life in the classroom, the pandemic has affected how states administer annual assessments to their students—disrupting a key means of collecting data on new or growing learning gaps that demand attention. This report explores how states have approached testing English Learners during the COVID-19 pandemic, and what 2020-21 assessment data can and cannot tell us.

Educating English Learners During the Pandemic: Insights from Experts, Advocates, and Practitioners

April 13, 2022

There is a growing body of evidence about the disproportionate impact the pandemic had on English learners (ELs). We sought to capture the complexity of learning conditions for this student population during the COVID-19 pandemic by interviewing 20 EL education leaders. These experts' experiences revealed that while remote learning posed significant challenges to EL education and services, educators improvised, collaborated, and continued to innovate throughout the pandemic. To help EL students moving forward, education leaders on all levels must acknowledge both the struggle and perseverance that shaped their educational experiences during the pandemic.

Racial Equity Framework for Gun Violence Prevention

February 16, 2022

This report urges us to think carefully about the relationship between gun violence prevention and racial equity. Racial equity impact assessments (REIAs), such as the assessment proposed in this report, guide advocates, policy makers, and researchers through a thorough examination of policies with an equity lens to anticipate the potential outcomes and mitigate foreseeable risks. It requires one to ask fundamental questions about when to justify involvement with the criminal legal system, identify the costs and benefits of engagement, and think about alternatives to minimize harm. This framework acknowledges that solutions to gun violence, however well intentioned they may be, can exacerbate or compound upon the harms suffered by impacted communities if they are made without careful analysis and the input of those directly affected by it.Gun violence affects everyone. It inflicts an enormous burden upon our country, particularly within under-resourced Black and Latino/Hispanic communities. The politics of guns and race have long been intertwined, but racial equity only recently became a focal point of discussions among gun violence prevention groups, catalyzed by the advocacy of community-based and BIPOC-led organizations.In partnership with many stakeholders across the gun violence prevention movement, this racial equity framework is a resource that can be used by policymakers, researchers, and organizations working in gun violence prevention. Representatives from the six authoring organizations comprised a small working group to plan development of the report and convened a series of conversations to share proposals and review feedback from expert contributors. In addition to advancing racial equity, the core values of inclusion, collaboration, and consensus-building guided the project from early stages through completion.Building upon existing racial equity work and guidance, this report is informed by the public health model of social determinants of health and has been tailored to the specific needs of gun violence prevention. The tools and recommendations proposed in this report are derived from relevant academic literature, racial equity impact assessments, and frameworks for building more equitable social movements.The racial equity framework for gun violence prevention is divided into three main sections: The first section introduces the most relevant considerations about gun policy and race. It helps contextualize the issue of racial disparities in gun violence and the role of the criminal legal system. The second section is the racial equity impact assessment tool (REIA) for gun violence prevention policy. It includes the analysis of the foundational assessments that were considered to develop the tool and a practical explanation of each of the questions that comprise the REIA. The third section provides resources to build a more equitable gun violence prevention movement. It describes the need to center and invest in BIPOC-led organizations and presents a set of recommendations for developing and sustaining a more equitable gun violence prevention movement. 

Child Access Prevention Laws and Firearm Storage: Results From a National Survey

February 1, 2022

IntroductionChild Access Prevention Negligent Storage (CAP-NS) laws seek to reduce pediatric firearm injury by imposing sanctions on gun owners if children gain access to unlocked guns. Whether these laws affect the storage behavior they aim to encourage is not known because historical panel data on firearm storage do not exist. As a result, assessing how much, if at all, firearm storage changed because of CAP-NS laws requires an indirect approach.MethodsData for this study came from a web-based survey conducted by the research firm Ipsos from July 30, 2019 to August 11, 2019. Respondents were adult gun owners drawn from an online sampling frame comprising approximately 55,000 U.S. adults recruited using address-based sampling methods to be representative of the U.S. population. The primary outcome was the proportion of gun owners in CAP-NS versus non-CAP-NS states who had ≥1 unlocked firearm. Estimates are presented by CAP-NS status, for gun owners overall and for those who live with children, before and after adjusting for potential confounders. Data were analyzed in 2021.ResultsIn adjusted analyses, gun owners in CAP-NS states were no more likely to lock firearms than were those in states without these laws. In addition, most gun owners reported not knowing whether they lived in a state with a CAP-NS law.ConclusionsCAP-NS laws have at best modest effects on firearm storage. If the storage effect is as small as this study indicates, the mortality benefits previously attributed to CAP-NS laws are overstated. As such, developing interventions that effectively reduce firearm mortality by reducing access to firearms remains an urgent clinical and public policy priority.

The Colleges Where Low-Income Students Get the Highest ROI

January 24, 2022

College typically pays off for low-income students, but not as much as it does for their peers. Low-income students, whose families earn $30,000 or less per year, comprise more than one-third of college students. The Colleges Where Low-Income Students Get the Highest ROI finds that low-income students have a lower return on investment (ROI) than all students, largely because they tend to earn less as adults. This holds true across public and private institutions and certificates, associate's degrees, and bachelor's degrees. Among institutions that primarily award bachelor's degrees, public institutions generally lead to the highest ROI for low-income students during a 40-year timeframe ($951,000), followed by private nonprofit institutions ($863,000) and for-profit colleges ($763,000). The ROI for low-income students follows a similar pattern at colleges that primarily grant associate's degrees and certificates, with the highest returns from public institutions, followed by private nonprofit and for-profit institutions. However, low-income students' returns from associate's degrees can exceed $1 million, and certificates can be just as lucrative, depending on which college a student attends.

Defending Democracy: Addressing the Dangers of Armed Insurrection

January 3, 2022

The growing presence of firearms in political spaces endangers public health, safety, and the functioning of democracy. Far from being an outlier, the January 6th insurrection at the United States Capitol was part of a long line of events in which individuals have sought to use political losses to justify violence or threats of violence to disrupt our government and limit civic engagement. These attacks on our nation and democratic institutions are preventable, but not without purposeful action.This report is both an examination and a warning of the threat that armed insurrectionism poses to democracy in the United States. It also counters the reckless and false narrative that the Constitution creates rights to insurrection and the unchecked public carry of any firearm, and rejects the notion that violence has any place in our nation's politics. The report concludes with recommended policy approaches that policymakers and advocates can use to address the dangers posed by armed insurrectionism. 

Youth Policy: How Can We Smooth the Rocky Pathway to Adulthood?

December 6, 2021

While boosts in labor demand have helped young workers as the economy recovers from the COVID-19 recession, young people continue to grapple with a youth labor market that has been deteriorating for 20 years. Their prospects have been dimmed by three major recessions: the burst of the dot-com bubble (2001), the Great Recession (2007-2009), and the COVID-19 recession (2020). Further, long-term structural changes in the economy have favored older workers with more experience, training, and education while limiting opportunity for young workers.Youth Policy: How Can We Smooth the Rocky Pathway to Adulthood? examines the United States' fragmented and inadequate approach to youth policy against the backdrop of these economic pressures and recommends changes necessary to move toward a more comprehensive and holistic approach.

Leaders in the Tumult: Schooling Innovations and New Perspectives From a Year Interrupted

October 27, 2021

This brief is the first of three briefs emerging from our conversations with members of the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). This brief presents the principals' perspectives on the changes that their schools experienced and on the innovations that they led in their schools during 2020–2021. The second brief provides principals' perspectives on changes to their work, priorities, and profession; and the third brief provides principals' perspectives on policies that can advance student learning and heal schools and communities.

Michigan Redistricting Draft Map Analysis

October 11, 2021

Michigan has embarked on an historic redrawing of boundaries for its 13 U.S. House, 38 Senate and 110 House districts. Redistricting was entrusted this year to 13 members of the Michigan Independent Redistricting Commission (MICRC) randomly selected from a pool of qualified applicants.This report provides a quantitative analysis of the collaborative Draft Proposed maps, as those maps were collaboratively drawn by the MICRC and released on Oct. 11, 2021. For the collaborative maps, the Commission voted to release four congressional maps, three Michigan Senate maps, and three Michigan House maps. These Draft Proposed maps will be subject to a round of public hearings to be conducted around the state from Wednesday, Oct. 20 to Wednesday, Oct. 27.In this report, the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at Michigan State University analyzes these 10 collaborative Draft Proposed maps.

The College Payoff: More Education Doesn’t Always Mean More Earnings

October 6, 2021

The College Payoff: More Education Doesn't Always Mean More Earnings explores how lifetime earnings vary by education level, field of study, occupation, industry, gender, race and ethnicity, and location. The lifetime earnings of a full-time full-year worker with a high school diploma are $1.6 million, while workers with an associate's degree earn $2 million. However, at least one quarter of high school graduates earn more than an associate's degree holder. Bachelor's degree holders earn a median of $2.8 million during their career, 75% more than if they had only a high school diploma. Master's degree holders earn a median of $3.2 million over their lifetimes, while doctoral degree holders earn $4 million and professional degree holders earn $4.7 million. However, one quarter of workers with a bachelor's degree earn more than half of workers with a master's or a doctoral degree.

When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2019 Homicide Data

September 29, 2021

When Men Murder Women is an annual study released by the VPC for Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October. State by state, the study details the circumstances of all reported homicides of women by men in single-victim/single-offender incidents. The study also ranks the states based on their rate of females killed by males. This research is used by state and local advocates to educate the public and policymakers on the realities of domestic violence and promote effective solutions to protect women and children from abusers.

How the Firearms Industry Markets Guns to Asian Americans

September 16, 2021

Exploiting the increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, the gun industry is targeting the Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) community as potential new gun buyers and future pro-gun advocates.The firearms industry and gun lobby are currently targeting minority communities in their marketing in response to long-term stagnation in the traditional gun market of white men. Until recently, this campaign focused primarily on Black and Latino Americans, but the gun industry is now ramping up its efforts targeting Asian Americans.Asian Americans have low gun ownership rates, strongly support stricter gun laws, and are the fastest growing voter group in the United States. As a result of their increasing size and consumer power, Asian Americans are viewed as an untapped market by gunmakers. And in the eyes of the firearms industry and gun lobby, the purchase of a firearm is the first step down the path for new gun owners to become future pro-gun advocates and voters.