Top 10 MDRC Media Mentions in 2016


MDRC’s work can only improve policy and practice if influential people know about it and can easily use it. An important part of making sure that decision-makers hear about what we’ve learned is getting attention in the mainstream and trade press. Here are some of MDRC’s most prominent media mentions from 2016.

“Compassionate Conservatives, Hello?” by Nicholas Kristof, New York Times (January 2016)

“A final initiative is an excellent plan to reduce poverty put together by a team from the conservative American Enterprise Institute and the liberal Brookings Institution. The report…emphasizes that one way to bridge the political divide is to focus on evidence. We now have robust results showing that vocational programs like career academies help disadvantaged young people get jobs and raise their marriage rates….”

“How to Help More College Students Graduate,” by Susan Dynarski, New York Times (February 2016)

“A new program at the City University of New York offers many of the supports that college-educated parents typically provide: intensive advising, a subway pass, textbooks and money to cover any shortfall between costs and financial aid. The CUNY program doubled the three-year graduation rate and also increased the proportion of students who went on from a two-year community college to a four-year institution. The program is now being replicated at colleges in Ohio….”

“Small Schools: The Edu-Reform Failure That Wasn’t,” by Jack Schneider, Education Week (February 2016)

“But were small schools really the problem? A decade later, we have fairly robust evidence suggesting otherwise. A 2014 study by the nonpartisan research organization MDRC, for instance, found that graduation rates in New York City improved by 9.5 percent at small schools, with effects across every student group — a tremendous increase that also led to higher college enrollments….”

“How Effective Are ‘Career Academies’?,” by Melinda D. Anderson, The Atlantic (April 2016)

“While the concept is over 40 years old, the proliferation of career academies rose sharply following a landmark paper in 2008. Researchers at MDRC, a nonpartisan education and social-policy think tank, in 1993 began studying students who were randomly assigned to career academies and their non-career academy peers. The students were followed through high school and for several years after graduation. The study’s author, James Kemple, found for students at highest risk of dropping out, participation in career academies improved attendance and the likelihood of graduating on time….”

“Subtle Psychological Manipulations Help People Make Smarter Financial Decisions,” by John Bohannon, Science magazine (May 2016)

“The idea of influencing people’s choices by making subtle changes to the available information or context of their decisions has been around for generations. After all, what are the advertising and marketing industries if not nudges paid for by businesses? But rigorous academic research on public interest nudges is relatively new, says Caitlin Anzelone, a behavioral scientist based at the New York City offices of the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC), a social policy research organization created by the U.S. government in 1974.…”

“Can ‘Early Warning Systems’ Keep Children From Dropping Out of School?” by Emma Brown, Washington Post (June 2016)

“But an independent evaluation conducted by the nonprofit research firm MDRC, released Tuesday, suggests that the program has a modest but positive effect on increasing the number of students who are considered on track for graduation — those whose attendance rates exceed 85 percent, who are suspended fewer than three days, and who are passing both English and math….”

“Let the Evidence Have Its Day in Policymaking,” by Carolyn Heinrich, The Hill (June 2016)

“Some of the early results of these evidence-based programs, such as the WorkAdvance program, are strikingly favorable: nearly 20 percent increases in earnings for participants, including for the long-term unemployed, and reduced use of public assistance….”

“How an ‘Infrastructure for Innovation’ Can Defeat Poverty,” by Linda Gibbs and Robert Doar, Washington Monthly (June 2016)

MDRC President Gordon Berlin, who worked with us extensively as an evaluator and intellectual resource, described how CEO was unique in the annals of state and local government. ‘CEO was evidence driven — it drew the best research about the underlying causes of poverty and the effectiveness of existing solutions in charting a course. But it also understood it had to be innovative where others had failed. The ultimate goal was producing successful outcomes that could be sustained….’ ”

“Job Training Works. So Why Not Do More?,” by Eduardo Porter, New York Times (July 2016)

MDRC, the New York-based policy analysis group, last week released the preliminary assessment of an experiment called WorkAdvance, commissioned by the New York City government and funded in part by a federal grant. WorkAdvance offered targeted sectoral training programs for low-income workers in New York City, as well as in Tulsa, Okla., and northeast Ohio….Their results were heartening. After two years, participants made 14 percent more on average than workers in a control group, who did not benefit from the new approach. That amounts to $1,945 a year….”

Fulfilling the Promise of Community College: The ASAP Demonstrations,” by Meghan Oster and Susan M. Dynarski, Education Next (December 2016)

“How can we improve these troubling statistics? Early last year, MDRC, a respected research firm that specializes in evaluations of social policies, released the results of a randomized trial at the City University of New York (CUNY). In partnership with MDRC, CUNY tested an innovative program of wrap-around support services known as Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP), which provides intensive academic supports and incentives for its students. The ASAP program requires that students enroll full time and attend advising and tutoring sessions. All of their financial need is covered, and they receive free textbooks….”