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International Association for K-12 Online Learning;
This paper explores K-12 competency-based education policy and practice across six New England states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.
This paper explores the core concepts of competency education, detailing the limitations of the traditional system, and how competency education is designed explicitly for equity and student success. Author Chris Sturgis then dives into why and how the New England region embraces competency education. She provides insights into policy strategies being used across states and analyzes the impact of competency education on quality, equity, scaling and sustainability. The Appendix offers a synopsis of each state strategy, complemented by short case studies of a few districts and schools.
Vera Institute of Justice;
Police frequently encounter youth running away from home, violating curfew, skipping school, and chronically disobeying adults—misbehavior that can often stem from family conflict and that do not require justice involvement. When alternatives are not available, however, these behaviors can lead to arrests or detention. Families dealing with difficult youth behavior often unwittingly send their youth into the justice system by calling the police because they feel they have nowhere to turn for help. For police, encountering these kinds of situations can be frustrating because they feel limited to suboptimal choices: either ignoring the problem behavior or criminalizing it.This brief explores the creative, collaborative, and community-focused work being done in Nevada, Connecticut, Nebraska, Michigan, Illinois, and Oregon to find productive responses to youth "acting out." The juvenile assessment resource centers, crisis response centers, and crisis intervention teams in these jurisdictions address the needs of youth and connect families to resources and services without the need for juvenile justice involvement.
Health Care Cost Institute;
Children's Health Spending: 2010-2014 examines spending on health care for children covered by employer-sponsored insurance from 2010 to 2014. For the first time, HCCI analyzed children's health care spending trends at the state level, reporting on Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Ohio, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin, as well as the District of Columbia.
Per capita spending on health care for children grew an annual average of 5.1% per year between 2010 and 2014, reaching $2,660 in 2014.
Rising prices were the chief driver of growth in spending for children's health care in 2014.
At the same time, there was a general decline in the use of health care services between 2012 and 2014.
Among the states studied, Arizona had the lowest per capita spending ($2,151 per child in 2014), while Wisconsin had higher per capita and out-of-pocket spending than the national average in every year studied – reaching $3,017 per capita in 2014.
Connecticut Early Childhood Funder Collaborative;
Collaboration remains an on-going discourse throughout the funder community, but little has been written about explorations or innovations into different ways of working collectively, beyond what was established decades ago.
The Connecticut legislation calling for a greater coordination of efforts to improve early childhood outcomes explicitly invited "philanthropic organizations" to partner in the development of new policies and a systematic approach for supporting young children and families. The Connecticut Early Childhood Funder Collaborative emerged as the platform for philanthropy to do this work.
Similar to other funder collective endeavors, the Collaborative and the state can claim short-term success. They not only had tangible results, but each valued their ability to coalesce to achieve those results. The difference in this effort was the melding of knowledge, networks and funding in a new paradigm. The more difficult question is whether the short-term endeavor creates the necessary conditions to sustain their efforts long enough to realize true systems change and improved outcomes for children and families.
For large-scale systems change, co-creation may be a more fitting approach; it acknowledges self-interest, existing alongside shared goals and purpose, as necessary to sustain voluntary efforts. Co-creation is predicated on the notion that traditional top-down planning or decision-making should give way to a more flexible participatory structure, where diverse constituencies are invited in to collectively solve problems.
Co-creation doesn't give priority to the group or the individual, but instead supports and encourages both simultaneously. In co-created endeavors, a shared identity isn't needed; members continue to work toward their own goals in pursuit of the common result. Co-creation enables individuals to work side by side, gaining an understanding of the goals, resources, and constraints that drive the behaviors of others, and adjusting accordingly to maintain a mutually beneficial gain.
The partnership of the Connecticut Early Childhood Funder Collaborative, the State, and the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy was not originally structured to be an example of co-creation. It does, though, possess many of the attributes of successful co-creation endeavors. Recognizing these similarities in structure and purpose holds much promise to help the public and private sectors understand not only what to sustain, but how best to organize and continue working to achieve the long-term goal.
Nellie Mae Education Foundation;
In early 2015, the Nellie Mae Education Foundation (NMEF) contracted with the UMass Donahue Institute (UMDI) to conduct a qualitative study examining the implementation of student-centered learning (SCL) practices in select public high schools in New England. This study extends lines of inquiry explored through a prior (2014) project that UMDI conducted for NMEF. The 2014 study employed survey methodology to examine the prevalence of student-centered practices in public high schools across New England. The present study builds upon the investigation, using a variety of qualitative methods to further probe the richness and complexity of SCL approaches in use across the region. Specifically, this study was designed to address what student-centered practices "look like" in an array of contexts. The study also addresses the perceived impacts that SCL approaches have on students, staff, and schools. Additionally, it highlights the broad array of factors within and beyond school walls that reportedly foster and challenge the implementation of SCL practices. This study seeks to help NMEF understand the intricacies of SCL and provides strategic considerations for how Nellie Mae can promote the adoption and development of student-centered practices in the region.
Nellie Mae organizes student-centered learning by four tenets: (1) learning is personalized; (2) learning is competency-based; (3) learning takes place anytime, anywhere; and (4) students take ownership.
Specifically, the study addresses five research questions:
What are the characteristics of student-centered practices in relation to the four SCL tenets? How are SCL approaches implemented?
What are the salient contextual factors (e.g., systems, structures, policies, procedures) associated with the implementation of SCL practices? How do they support, impede, and otherwise shape the adoption, development, and implementation of SCL approaches?
How are schools with moderate and high levels of SCL implementation organized to foster SCL practices? What mechanisms are in place to promote student-centered learning?
What is the role of SCL approaches in schools and classrooms? In what ways, if at all, are they embedded in the goals and practices of schools and classrooms?
What is the quality of SCL instructional practices in study schools? What relationships, if any, do administrators and educators perceive between these approaches and student learning?
Building Movement Project;
The Reaching Home Campaign was launched in 2004 with the goal of ending chronic homelessness in Connecticut. Through the adoption of the federal Opening Doors framework in 2011, the Reaching Home Campaign expanded its focus to build the political and civic will to prevent and end all forms of homelessness in Connecticut.
The report identifies some key elements that have helped us sustain the Campaign over the arc of many years: the Campaign has energized and motivated a diverse group of stakeholders to work together to respond to a significant social problem, established strong internal structures to direct this energy, and kept its focus on advancing change in a few distinct strategy areas. As the report notes, three key actions that have made the Campaign a success so far are a) finding a clear shared purpose and defining clear goals to guide the Campaign, b) nurturing strong relationships with state officials, and 3) speaking with one voice in advocating for solutions.
The report also highlighted areas the Campaign can build on, including further refining its collaborative structure, amplifying its communications, and expanding engagement of staff working at the front lines of service delivery and people who have experienced homelessness.
Prior to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), most states' individual health insurance markets were dominated by one or two insurance carriers that had little incentive to compete by providing efficient services. Instead, they competed mainly by screening and selecting people based on their risk of incurring high medical costs. One of the ACA's goals is to encourage carriers to participate in the health insurance marketplaces and to shift the focus from competing based on risk selection to processes that increase consumer value, like improving efficiency of services and quality of care. Focusing on six states—Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Maryland, Montana, and Texas—this brief looks at how carriers are competing in the new marketplaces, namely through cost-sharing and composition of provider networks.
American Youth Policy Forum;
Pathways to Postsecondary Opportunities are the range of options created across education institutions, training providers, and community-based organizations so that each and every young person can access the necessary and personally relevant credentials, skills, and training beyond the completion of a secondary credential that will propel him/her to long-term economic success and self-sufficiency. With support, the American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) documented pathways to postsecondary opportunities in the state of Connecticut for the most vulnerable youth with a special focus on those involved in the juvenile justice system. Through the reporting, it is the hope that Connecticut's policymakers, advocates, and others will feel a renewed sense of focus and urgency to acknowledge and invest in this population with a deeper understanding of the options and challenges. In this report, AYPF will present a portrait of the population and the barriers they face. From conversations and site visits, the reporters provide a portrait of common evidence-based practices and structures contributing to the development of pathways to postsecondary opportunity. The concluding sections articulate the role of state policy to continue to build and sustain pathways to postsecondary opportunities for these young people. The following charts are appended: (1) Opportunity Youth Details; and (2) Potential Barriers Details.
This report is part of a series of 21 state and regional studies examining the rollout of the ACA. The national network -- with 36 states and 61 researchers -- is led by the Rockefeller Institute of Government, the public policy research arm of the State University of New York, the Brookings Institution, and the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania.
Connecticut demonstrates how well even a smaller state can do in implementing health insurance reform through its own exchange. Broad political and industry support for a state-based exchange has resulted in one of the very best functioning exchanges in the country. Difficult or potentially contentious issues that Connecticut may face in coming years include: 1) high health care costs and the diminished level of price competition among hospitals; 2) whether additional insurers will enter the exchange and whether the new nonprofit insurance co-op will remain financially viable; 3) whether the SHOP exchange will achieve critical mass; and 4) the appropriate level of consumer representation on the exchange board.
National Council of Nonprofits;
This report reviews the creation, recommendations, and implementation activities of joint government nonprofit contracting reform task forces in nine states to identify trends and insights that can be applied elsewhere. It is the latest publication in an ongoing series from the National Council of Nonprofits that identifies solutions to a national crisis: broken and antiquated contracting processes that waste limited resources and frustrate the ability of governments and charitable nonprofits to achieve their missions. This report provides proven ways for governments and nonprofits to collaborate to save money for taxpayers and donors while maintaining or even improving client-based outcomes and enhancing accountability.
Justice Policy Institute;
After decades of expanding correctional populations in the United States, there is a growing awareness that we need to end the era of over-incarceration. Primarily this realization has formed around the adult correctional population, with less attention paid by the media or the general public to young people who are confined for delinquent behavior or prior to adjudication. This is perhaps because of the small percentage of youth that makeup the total incarcerated population: in 2010, approximately 2,270,100 adults were incarcerated in the U.S., compared to 70,792 youth.
Juvenile corrections is a multi-faceted and complex topic with policies and practices that vary from state to state and sometimes from courthouse to courthouse. Finding uniform measures and comparable data can be challenging. For that reason, the current report takes the snapshot approach; examining states within a set time period across a limited number of variables
Justice Policy Institute;
This report will describe, dissect, and draw lessons from Connecticut's striking success in juvenile justice reform for other states and communities seeking similar progress. The first section details the timeline and dimensions of change in Connecticut's juvenile justice system over the past two decades. In 1992, Connecticut routinely locked up hundreds of youths -- many of them never convicted or even accused of serious crimes -- in decrepit and unsafe facilities while offering little or no treatment or rehabilitation. The state was one of only three in the nation whose justice system treated all 16- and 17-year-olds as adults -- trying them in criminal courts, with open records, and sentencing many to adult prisons without education or rehabilitative services designed for adolescents.
By 2002 there was a growing awareness that these problems could no longer be ignored. Over the decade that followed, a movement for sweeping reforms began to build momentum and take root. And by 2012, Connecticut had a strong commitment to invest in alternatives to detention and incarceration, improve conditions of confinement, examine the research, and focus on treatment strategies with evidence of effectiveness.
Most impressively, these changes have been accomplished in Connecticut without any added financial cost, and without any increase in juvenile crime or violence. To the contrary, the costs of new programs and services for Connecticut's court-involved youth have been fully offset in the short-term by reduced expenditures for detention and confinement, and promise additional savings down the road as more youth desist from delinquency and crime. Arrests of youth have fallen substantially throughout the reform period, both for serious violent crimes and for virtually all other offense categories as well.
The report then looks under the hood of Connecticut's reform efforts and explores the critical factors underlying these accomplishments. The discussion begins by detailing the main elements and key champions of progress and by identifying the turning points that built momentum toward reform.
The report's final section explores what other states or local jurisdictions can learn from Connecticut's experience. The most important lesson, it finds, is that a new and vastly improved juvenile justice system is within reach for any jurisdiction that summons the energy and commitment, the creativity and cooperative spirit to do what's best for their children, their families, and their communities.