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Analysis of Kindergartners Shows Wide Differences in School Readiness Skills

August 20, 2014 Comments off

Analysis of Kindergartners Shows Wide Differences in School Readiness Skills
Source: Mathematica Policy Research (Sesame Workshop)

New research shows there is still a strong relationship between socio-economic factors and how well American children fare when entering kindergarten. In fact, a new study finds 44 percent of children enter kindergarten with one or more risk factors based on their home environment. These risk factors are incrementally associated with lower school readiness scores for children than for those with no such circumstances. Despite an increase in programs to level the playing field by giving disadvantaged children opportunities for preschool education, these gaps persist.

The analysis examined four risk factors that have been shown to affect children’s development and school achievement: single parent households, mothers with less than a high school education, households with incomes below the federal poverty line, and non-English speaking households. High-risk children (those with all four risk factors) were found to be almost a year behind their peers with no risk factors in their reading and math abilities.

The researchers also created composite readiness scores based on teacher ratings of children’s academic and social skills. Based on the researchers’ calculation, less than one-third of children were rated by teachers as “in-progress” or better on both reading and math skills.

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Employment Services and Supports Available to Veterans with Disabilities Through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Other Federal Agencies

April 19, 2014 Comments off

Employment Services and Supports Available to Veterans with Disabilities Through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Other Federal Agencies (PDF)
Source: Mathematica Center for Studying Disability Policy

The number of military personnel incurring disability in current military conflicts is the highest in over three decades. Since 2001, over 1.6 million service members, Reservists, and National Guard have been deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, and other Middle Eastern nations. As noted by Lew et al. (2007), advances in medical innovations and body armor have enabled 90 percent of soldiers to survive injuries that would have likely been fatal in previous wars, but many service personnel survive with serious physical and psychological injuries.

The Federal government has recently responded to the growing number of service members with disabilities in several ways. President Obama has signed executive orders to improve federal government hiring of veterans and to require federal agencies to contract with veteran owned agencies. The 2011 American Jobs Act added tax credits to employers hiring veterans with service co nnected disabilities. That same year, the Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) to Hire Heroes Act was passed and signed into law . The VOW Act provides additional tax credit and training funds for unemployed veterans to prepare them for employment.

Many federal agencies will be involved in the implementation of these initiatives. Employment services and supports for veterans with disabilities is primarily provided by the VA, but the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Labor (DoL) also operate program s specifically targeting veterans with disabilities. Veterans also access other employment service programs that target all individuals with disabilities or persons in need specialized support to obtain employment.

T his report provides an overview of Federally – funded employment services and supports that can be accessed by veterans with disabilities, including those designed to meet the needs of the disabled veteran population specifically, the veteran population in general, and the disability population in general. The purpose is to present a comprehensive cataloging and review of all employment resources of which veterans with disabilities could access in pursuit of wage and self – employment.

Do Financial Incentives Increase the Use of Electronic Health Records? Findings From an Experiment

November 14, 2013 Comments off

Do Financial Incentives Increase the Use of Electronic Health Records? Findings From an Experiment (PDF)
Source: Mathematica Policy Research

Moderate incentive payments did not lead to universal EHR adoption and use in a two-year time frame. However, the demonstration showed that incentives can influence physician use of EHRs. Although these results are encouraging for the potential effectiveness of the Medicare EHR Incentive Program, they also suggest that meani ngful use of EHRs on a national scale may take longer than anticipated.

New Study: SNAP Associated with Improved Household and Child Food Security

August 27, 2013 Comments off

New Study: SNAP Associated with Improved Household and Child Food Security
Source: Mathematica Policy Research

A report released today by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows that participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is associated with improved food security. The study, conducted by Mathematica Policy Research, is the largest and most rigorous study to date that assesses the effect of SNAP participation on food security. SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) provides food assistance to more than 47 million low-income Americans every month in an effort to improve food security by facilitating beneficiaries’ access to enough food for a healthy, active lifestyle.

Key findings that offer new insights for policymakers include:

  • SNAP is associated with improved household food security. Food insecurity dropped after six to seven months of SNAP program participation (from 65 percent at program entry to 55 percent for the same households about six months later).
  • SNAP is associated with improved child food security. Food insecurity among children decreased by roughly one-third (from 32 percent at program entry to 22 percent after six months of program participation).
  • SNAP is associated with improved food security for households with a variety of characteristics and circumstances. SNAP was associated with improved food security for households with and without children, households with and without a disabled member, and households without an elderly member. However, SNAP was not associated with improved food security for households with an elderly member.
  • Benefit size matters. The improvement in food security associated with SNAP participation was greatest for households that receive larger benefits relative to household need.

Back to Work: Recent SSA Employment Demonstrations for People with Disabilities

July 15, 2012 Comments off

Back to Work: Recent SSA Employment Demonstrations for People with Disabilities
Source: Mathematica Policy Research

This issue brief summarizes short-term impacts from four large scale- demonstration projects by the Social Security Administration designed to increase the economic self-sufficiency of Supplemental Security Income recipients and Social Security Disability Insurance beneficiaries. Results from these rigorous assessments include modest improvements in employment.

How Many Disability Beneficiaries Forgo Cash Benefits Because of Work? Evidence from a New Measure

April 9, 2012 Comments off
In recent years, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has placed a greater emphasis on increasing employment among people who receive federal disability benefits while also reducing their reliance on those benefits. SSA’s efforts have led to a growing interest among policymakers in exactly how many disability beneficiaries forgo cash benefits because they are working and how long they are able to remain off cash benefits. In this brief, we summarize findings from a longer report by Stapleton et al. (2010a), who used a newly developed indicator to determine how many beneficiaries receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) forgo cash benefits because of work.

Do Charter Schools Improve Student Achievement? Evidence from a National Randomized Study

January 9, 2012 Comments off
Source:  Mathematica Policy Research
This paper presents findings from the first national randomized study of the impacts of charter schools on student achievement, which included 36 charter middle schools across 15 states. The paper compares students who applied and were admitted to these schools through randomized admissions lotteries with students who applied and were not admitted. It finds that, on average, charter middle schools in the study were neither more nor less successful than traditional public schools in improving student achievement. However, impacts varied significantly across schools and students, with positive impacts for more disadvantaged schools and students and negative impacts for the more advantaged.
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