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Glowing Up: Spy Hop's Creative Community Helps Youth Flourish Now and Into the Future

June 11, 2024

The current generation of teenagers, the tail end of Gen Z, faces unprecedented challenges and anxieties, exacerbated by the global pandemic and existential threats such as climate change, gun violence, and the rise of automation and AI. Addressing these issues requires skills like creative problem-solving, teamwork, and resilience. Spy Hop's after-school programs provide a nurturing creative community that fosters these essential skills while promoting strong social relationships and connections with peers and mentors.Research findings indicate that Spy Hop students, regarded as emerging professional artists, gain durable, lifelong skills through professional media arts instruction. They engage as cooperative community members in creative problem solving and critical reflection, contributing meaningfully to culture, community, and social discourse. Participants report building meaningful connections with diverse individuals, enhancing their cultural fluency and social-emotional wellness. Spy Hop's mentors and programs are credited with cultivating students' abilities to navigate diverse environments with empathy and understanding.In a two-year evaluation study combining qualitative and quantitative measures, researchers find that the Utah-based youth media nonprofit, Spy Hop uses a youth-centered, interest-driven approach that empowers young people to discover their voice, build a creative identity, and express themselves authentically through media art. An experiential learning environment provides a secure and inclusive "third space" where students develop media arts and literacy skills, confidence, and self-efficacy, preparing them for future success in education and careers. The study shows that the program's impact extends beyond adolescence, equipping youth to thrive amid social challenges and contribute meaningfully to society throughout their lives.

Love is the Foundation for Life: Schott Report on Black Males in Public Education

May 21, 2024

This report outlines the systemic opportunities and institutional barriers Black male students face and offers cross-sector recommendations for building the supports needed to improve education and life outcomes. The research findings were produced in partnership with the UCLA Center for the Transformation of Schools.The report highlights several key findings impacting Black males in public education:Between 2012 and 2020, Black students experienced the highest graduation rate improvement of all groups, cutting the racial gap between graduating Black and white students nearly in half and increasing the nation's overall graduation rate by 4%. Following the pandemic in 2021, Black life expectancy declined by four years (six years lower than whites), largely driven by the decline in the Black male life expectancy by five years, which represented the largest decline of any race or gender subgroup.High school graduation is a key factor in positively impacting life expectancy. Improvements in K-12 and higher education levels contribute nearly 10 months to the average life expectancy in a county for each standard increase in educational achievement.While there was an overall improvement in graduation rates for Black male students across all 15 districts analyzed, only one district, Mobile County, AL (88%), had a graduation rate above the national average (86%).Among the 15 districts analyzed, Detroit, MI (54%), Philadelphia, PA (59%), Baltimore City, MD (65%), Minneapolis, MN (65%), and Oakland Unified (71%) had the five lowest four-year graduation rates for Black males.

Messaging Guide: Making the Case for Learning & Employment Records with Employers

April 23, 2024

Over the last year, UpSkill America has held dozens of conversations and interviews with employers on the topic of Skills First approaches and specifically, employers' awareness, understanding, and challenges with Learning and Employment Records (LERs). While there is still much to learn about the impacts of these tools, and an ever-increasing pace of change in the skills-based movement, we share this guide to support the field's efforts to better engage employers in the design, development, and deployment of LERs.A messaging guide can be a powerful tool to ensure your communications are consistent, clear, and targeted. This guide is designed to:Empower the stakeholders, including government, academic, and technical leaders who are developing and advocating for LER solutions, to communicate clearly and consistently about their tools and the value of these innovations.Enable more effective engagement of employers in LER pilots and expansion projects, particularly relating to skills-based hiring and talent management.Support employer involvement in discussions about LERs, the design and development of these tools, and integration with existing policies, practices, and processes.

The Creation Generation

April 16, 2024

Platforms such as Roblox and Minecraft are leading a groundbreaking shift in gaming for Generation Alpha, moving beyond simple gameplay in pre-made environments to empower players to build and shape their own digital worlds and stories. This shift marks the rise of "creation gaming," a mode where the act of self-directed building and creativity are central to the gaming experience. This new paradigm offers Generation Alpha unprecedented levels of autonomy, creativity, and control, enabling them to collaborate with peers, develop diverse skills, and reshape their educational journeys and outcomes.Intrigued by the potential of this emerging trend, we delved into its implications for the educational goals of Generation Alpha and the novel prospects it unveils. Our findings reveal that creation gaming is transforming how children explore creativity, learn new skills, and participate in educational endeavors through play; nurturing vital cognitive, social, and creative competencies, bolstering academic achievement and personal development. Furthermore, there's a noticeable eagerness among children to blend creation gaming and play-based learning within their school curriculums, underscoring the perceived educational value of these games.Yet, challenges remain, especially for children from lowerincome families who may not have the means to obtain the necessary technology and opportunities to immerse themselves fully in creation gaming. This disparity affects not just their involvement but also their ability to tap into the educational benefits these games offer. Bridging these gaps is crucial to ensuring every child can reap the learning benefits provided.Despite the challenges, creation gaming is becoming a powerful educational resource, opening up fresh paths for learning and skill enhancement. The advantages for children engaged in both playing and creating are substantial, indicating a promising horizon for the advancement of educational innovation and technology.

A Decade of Improving College Mental Health Systems: JED Campus Impact Report, Data from 2013 to 2023

April 11, 2024

JED Campus is a four-year, technical assistance program that provides colleges and universities with expert support, evidence-based recommended practices, and data driven guidance. The innovative program is designed to help ensure that higher education institutions have comprehensive systems, programs, policies, and supports in place to prioritize student mental health, reduce suicide risk, and create systemic change in their campus communities.As mental health challenges continue to rise for college students, JED Campuses have shown great progress and promise in supporting student emotional health and preventing suicide. JED's first evaluation report, completed in 2020, showed significant progress at the program level with policies and systems specifically. The findings were published in a peer-reviewed discussion paper by the National Academy of Medicine.This new report builds on those insights and highlights additional achievements that higher education institutions have made when engaged in JED Campus. New data analyses show student-level data explore how the achievements of JED Campuses are specifically linked to important and impactful outcomes around student mental health and suicide prevention.

PreK For All Roadmap takes a holistic approach to rolling out PreK For All

March 27, 2024

This is an article about rolling out Pre-K for all in Michgian. 

Connecting Civic Education and a Healthy Democracy

March 18, 2024

Connecting Civic Education and a Healthy Democracy highlights the need for state-level policies that expand and improve K–12 civic learning. The report calls for greater investment in civics and features examples of how coalition building has been used to advance more robust policies in a growing number of states.

The Institute of International Education: From Prima Donna Idealism to Parastatal Behemoth and Neoliberal Broker (1919–2003)

March 14, 2024

The Institute of International Education (IIE) administers the most prestigious awards for international education such as the Fulbright awards. IIE has dominated international education from 1919 to the present as an intermediary between states and private organizations. The Institute's combination of private administration and capital with the brand of the US government has characterized the shift from massive public spending and bold liberal internationalism in the postwar era to the neoliberalism of the late-twentieth century. In my dissertation, I argue that Americans came to rely on international students as proxies to end global conflicts, fortify the United States' geopolitical standing, advance capitalist economic development in the Global South, and keep US colleges financially afloat. The Carnegie Endowment and Rockefeller Foundation sponsored IIE to be the vanguard of international educational exchanges in the early twentieth century. After World War II, with the federal government and the Ford Foundation as new IIE partners, Carnegie and Rockefeller became wary of how this unchecked growth and IIE's administrative weakness would threaten the core missions of international liberalism. The internal documents available at the Rockefeller Archive Center from IIE, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Commonwealth Fund, and the Ford Foundation bely the optimism of IIE's published materials. The reports of students also depict the United States as a country aspiring to lead the postwar world but struggling with racial discrimination and a shifting national identity. 

Crossing the Line: Segregation and Resource Inequality Between America’s School Districts

February 29, 2024

School district boundaries define more than just the area where a certain group of children attends a given set of schools. They also determine the taxing jurisdiction that supports those schools with local property taxes. Big differences in property value can lead to large funding gaps, even between neighboring districts.These disparities in property values are the legacy of discriminatory housing policies explicitly intended to segregate neighborhoods by race and class. The school district lines drawn onto this divided landscape then replicate segregation and inequity in schools. But our current district borders need not be permanent. They can be redrawn to produce better outcomes for students and their schools.In this research report, New America's Education Funding Equity Initiative analyzes nearly 25,000 pairs of adjacent school districts to measure how district borders create deep economic and racial divisions, producing radically different educational resources and experiences for students in different districts—even districts that are right next door to each other. It also features stories about these disparities told by local educators and families. An accompanying multimedia story shows what these divides mean for American school districts and communities, and an interactive national map and data tool allows users to explore American school districts and the borders that surround them.

Unite Against Book Bans Toolkit

February 23, 2024

The American Library Association and UABB partner organizations trust individuals to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We must protect the rights of everyone to access a variety of books – in libraries and elsewhere.To help you amplify and support this campaign, we have prepared the following toolkit for your organization's and your individual use.

How Foundations Are Responding to the U.S. Supreme Court Affirmative Action Rulings

February 21, 2024

In June 2023, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled against university policies that take race directly into account for admissions. In the wake of the rulings, there was concern that the Supreme Court decisions could have a "chilling effect" on philanthropic efforts that support racial equity. This CEP Research Snapshot sets out to determine whether foundations are walking away from — or continuing to support — these efforts. We find that most foundations are having discussions about the rulings, but few are making changes as a result of the discussions regarding the rulings. Our data were collected on 280 foundations between September and November 2023, and therefore represent a snapshot in time. They nonetheless suggest that the repercussions of the Court's decisions had not, at least at the time of the survey, significantly changed foundations' work.Our findings should be read with two important caveats in mind. The first is that the repercussions of the Supreme Court's decision are still playing out, and foundations' responses may change over time. The long-term effects of the decision on philanthropy will of course only be fully visible in grantmaking and strategy decisions that will play out over time. The second is that there may be some nonresponder bias at play in our survey: it is possible that those that have shifted their grantmaking in response to the decision were less likely to respond. 

Investing in Our Future: A Look at How We Support Our Children

February 16, 2024

It is our collective belief that access to accurate and comprehensive budget information is crucial for informed decision-making and progress in early childhood education. The Early Childhood Education Budget book should serve as a valuable tool for policymakers, educators and stakeholders in our state. By disseminating this information, we aim to foster transparency, facilitate evidence-based planning and ultimately strengthen the foundations of early childhood education in Mississippi. While we have strived for perfection, we acknowledge that this inaugural edition might require refinement. However, I assure you that we remain fully committed to continually improving our data set and potential future editions. Your feedback and suggestions are invaluable, and we encourage you to share insights that can help enhance the accuracy and usefulness of this resource.As we delve into the wealth of financial and programmatic data presented in the Mississippi Early Childhood Education Budget book, it is essential to approach the information with a balanced mindset and a commitment to meaningful discussion. While financial data can be a powerful tool for understanding and evaluating the allocation of resources, it is crucial not to weaponize it for personal or political gain. Let us remember that the purpose of this book is to foster transparency and informed decision-making, not to fuel divisiveness. By engaging in constructive dialogue and seeking a comprehensive understanding of the data, we can collectively work toward building a stronger foundation for early childhood education in Mississippi.