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Ready News: May 24, 2012

Ready News
May 24, 2012

Postsecondary Success, New Grant Rules, Connecting Research to Practice


Collective Work is Critical to Boost Postsecondary Success
Anyone working to increase postsecondary success knows that aligning the work of stakeholders and helping different sectors work together is essential - and a new issue brief shows how leaders are making that happen on both the community and state levels.

The brief from the Forum for Youth Investment looks at two initiatives. One, the Credentialed by 26 Community Challenge, helped leaders in four selected communities jump-start local conversations and identify strategies to improve postsecondary success. Among the results: Leaders enlisted more partners committed to increasing postsecondary completion, used new data to inform planning efforts, extended their goals beyond college access to college completion, and strengthened connections between the K-12 and postsecondary systems.

The second initiative, the Credential by 26 Policy Roundtables, consisted of policy surveys and structured discussions to help leaders in three states identify low-cost policy solutions for increasing supports for low-income college students. The brief includes summaries of the discussions and a sample of policy changes that can improve success.

Read Raising the Bar from Ready by 21 to Credentialed by 26: Highlights from Community and State Efforts.

Ready by 21 Webinar
Aligning Policies, Increasing Impact

May 29, 2012, 3 p.m. ET 

Do you ever feel like well-intentioned people around you are working hard but it looks like the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing? Sometimes, the left hand even holds the right hand down. That's because policies, practices and funding streams that have been instituted over many years by many different people aren't aligned - and young people suffer. This webinar highlights concrete examples of successful policy alignment and specific policy language at the local, state and federal levels. Learn how you can improve policies and align resources to maximize their positive impact on youth.


Featured Speakers: Thaddeus Ferber, Vice President for Policy, the Forum for Youth Investment; Michael Gamel-McCormick, Education and Disability Policy Advisor to Chairman Tom Harkin, Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.


Register for this webinar >>    

Building Effective Youth Councils: A Practical Guide to Engaging Youth in Policy Making    

The guide is designed to help states and localities create or strengthen their own youth councils. It is a synthesis of theory and practice that provides a general framework for thinking about youth councils, explaining the principles for youth action and the importance of youth engagement. It also incorporates advice and lessons from people in the field who have started or currently staff youth councils across the country. The guide incorporates examples from these youth councils to illustrate key points, focusing on the youth councils in Boston, Mass.; Hampton, Va.; and New Mexico.  




Improving Research-Practice Connections
What does it take to build and sustain effective partnerships between researchers and practitioners? A new learning community started meeting last week to find some answers.

The initiative, launched by the William T. Grant Foundation and the Forum for Youth Investment, brings together teams from nine research-practice alliances in education, including the Consortium on Chicago School Research and the Strategic Education Research Partnership. The ultimate purpose is to increase research that helps address persistent challenges facing urban school districts. The group plans to convene six times over three years.

The new learning community coincides with the Grant Foundation's announcement of a new focus area: improving the connections between research and practice. Find out more about that effort in this summary from the foundation.

Vote for Youth-Driven Solutions - Now
Want to know what's on young people's minds? Check out the ideas that have been submitted to the SparkAction Opportunity Challenge. This crowd-sourced campaign by SparkAction (a division for the Forum for Youth Investment) seeks new solutions for reconnecting youth and strengthening our education and workforce.

Voting closes Friday night. Winners will receive an iPad, a startup grant and support to pilot their idea.

Tax Policy Change Helps Kids
For an example of how a government policy change can help children, even in unintended ways, read The Effects of State EITC Expansion on Children's Health. The report, by the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire, links state-level Earned Income Tax Credits to improvements in mothers' reports about their children's health status. It also says that, following state adoption of the credit, nonmetropolitan areas see larger reductions in obesity rates than do metropolitan areas.

Federal Grant Rules Reinforce Ready by 21 Strategies
New regulations for a major federal grant show how Ready by 21 strategies and ideas can be embedded in policies. The U.S. Department of Education's draft regulations for the Race to the Top - District grant competition give competitive preference priority to efforts that focus on "cradle-to-career results, resource alignment, and integrated services."

The proposed regulations reflect the Ready by 21 building blocks of broader partnerships, bigger goals, better data and bolder actions (such as coordinating systems): The grants - up to $25 million for four years - will go to Local Education Agencies that employ "collaborative, data-based strategies and 21st century tools to deliver instruction and supports ... with the goal of enabling all students to graduate college- and career-ready."

The department is seeking comments on the regulations by June 8. The Forum will submit comments and encourages others to do the same. Go here for more information, and look for more on this topic in upcoming editions of Ready News.

Align Government Strategies to Help Disconnected Youth
"Aligning Federal, State, and Local Strategies to Improve Outcomes for Disconnected Youth" will be the focus of a panel discussion next week featuring education and policy leaders, including from the Forum for Youth Investment.

A little background: The Forum has worked with the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) - a co-sponsor of the panel - to explore regulatory changes to give state and local governments administrative flexibility in using certain federal funds in order to make programs and services more effective. As a result, OMB has highlighted disconnected youth programs as one area that could benefit from a more integrated approach. Look for more on that issue soon.

Featured speakers: Elizabeth Gaines, Director of Policy, Forum for Youth Investment; Johan Uvin, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education, U.S. Department of Education; José Esquibel, Director of the Interagency Prevention Systems Program, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Learn more here about how to attend or call in.

Host: U.S. Office of Management and Budget, and the Collaborative Forum

When: May 31, 2 PM
Where: National Academy of Public Administration, 900 7th St. NW, Suite 600, Washington, D.C.
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