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The Urban Institute conducts interdisciplinary studies that explore critical intersections between schools, families, communities, and the workplace. Drawing upon expertise and perspectives from across our research centers, the Education Policy Cluster coordinates studies focused on family and neighborhood factors that influence school performance and educational success, the potential of alternative school improvement and reform initiatives, the effectiveness of both K–12 and post-secondary systems in preparing young people for careers, strategies for helping at-risk youth stay and succeed in school, and school financing mechanisms.

In addition, the Urban Institute has conducted research on issues that have been central to education policy, including school and teacher assessment, and evaluation of specific reforms.

Education Policy Cluster

Contributing Scholars: Akiva Liberman, Kim Rueben, Austin Nichols, John Roman, Sue Popkin, Peter Tatian, Mike Pergamit, Bob Lerman, Marla McDaniel, Megan Cahill, Erwin de Leon, Gina Adams, Kathryn Pettit, Caroline Ratcliffe, Signe-Mary McKernan, Maria Enchautegui, Elsa Falkenburger, Lauren Eyster, Demetra Smith Nightengale, Sara Edelstein, Julia Isaacs, Megan Gallagher, Zach McDade, Heather Hahn, Gene Steuerle, Tracy Vericker, Pamela Loprest, Josh Mitchell, Mary Cunningham, Genevieve Kenney, Elaine Maag, Heather Sandstrom, Kelly Devers

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Designing a Home Visiting Framework for Families in Public and Mixed-Income Communities (Research Report)
Marla McDaniel, Caroline Heller, Gina Adams, Susan J. Popkin

Though young children in public and mixed-income housing are exposed to some of the deepest poverty and developmental and educational risks in the United States, they are usually out of reach of many interventions that might help. Home visiting programs hold promise for helping vulnerable families, but most are not designed to fully address the needs of public and mixed-income housing residents. This brief describes important issues that program planners and early childhood leaders should consider when designing appropriate and responsive home visiting programs that reach young children in these communities.

Posted to Web: October 30, 2014Publication Date: October 30, 2014

Child Care Assistance for Parents in Education and Training: Executive Summary (Research Brief)
Gina Adams, Caroline Heller, Shayne Spaulding, Teresa Derrick-Mills

New economic realities have focused attention on how to best design workforce development strategies to help low-wage and low-skill workers succeed. Lack of child care is one important barrier that can make it difficult for low-income parents to successfully participate in workforce development programs that help people find jobs, job readiness activities, and supportive services. This brief focuses on one element of this barrier: the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), the federal and state child care assistance program. It examines CCDF eligibility policies and services for parents who need child care to participate in education and training activities.

Posted to Web: October 09, 2014Publication Date: October 09, 2014

Balancing School, Work, and Family: Low-Income Parents' Participation in Education and Training (Research Report)
Lauren Eyster, Thomas Callan, Gina Adams

A key policy concern is how to best help low-income individuals gain the skills and credentials they need to find a well-paying job. However, low-income parents in particular may face certain barriers, such as access to reliable child care. This brief uses nationally-representative data to examine the education and training participation of low-income parents and understand their personal and family characteristics, both for those who do and do not engage in education and training. The brief discusses implications for workforce development and child care policy and programs to better support these parents as they balance school, work and family responsibilities.

Posted to Web: October 08, 2014Publication Date: October 08, 2014

Child Care Assistance for Parents in Education and Training (Research Report)
Gina Adams, Caroline Heller, Shayne Spaulding, Teresa Derrick-Mills

New economic realities have focused attention on how to best design workforce development strategies to help low-wage and low-skill workers succeed. Lack of child care is one important barrier that can make it difficult for low-income parents to successfully participate in workforce development programs that help people find jobs, job readiness activities, and supportive services. This paper focuses on one element of this barrier: the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), the federal and state child care assistance program. This paper examines CCDF eligibility policies and services for parents who need child care to participate in education and training activities.

Posted to Web: October 08, 2014Publication Date: October 08, 2014

The $300 Billion Question: How Should We Budget for Federal Lending Programs? (Research Report)
Donald Marron

Student loans, mortgage guarantees, and other lending programs create special challenges for federal budgeting. Under official budget rules, these programs are projected to bring in $200 billion over the next decade. Under an alternative, favored by many analysts, they appear to lose $100 billion. That $300 billion disparity confuses policy deliberations. In this report, Donald Marron proposes a new budgeting approach, known as expected returns, that would eliminate this confusion. The report critically reviews today’s budgeting approaches, identifies their flaws, and demonstrates how expected returns would improve budgeting for federal lending.

Posted to Web: September 29, 2014Publication Date: September 29, 2014

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