Ideas and Evidence 2021

MDRC is dedicated to learning what works to improve the well-being of people in poverty.

As new policymakers prepare to govern in 2021, we provide them with fact-based research and analysis to help them address critical issues in social policy and education.

12/2020

In this three-minute video, Meghan McCormick, an MDRC research associate, describes evidence-based ways to promote equitable access to early care and education programs, a challenge made more urgent by the pandemic.

12/2020 | Virginia Knox

In this commentary originally published in Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity, MDRC President Virginia Knox explains that public and philanthropic investments have built a foundation of evidence that can inform decision makers as they work to build economic mobility and reduce inequality.

11/2020 | Michelle Maier

Even before the COVID-19 crisis, early care and education providers faced challenges attracting and retaining qualified, well-trained, and diverse early educators — and staff turnover can affect children’s early progress. Three approaches may help improve these workers’ access to professional education, their overall economic well-being, and their sometimes difficult working conditions.

11/2020 | Dan Bloom

In this commentary originally published in Government Executive, MDRC Senior Vice President Dan Bloom argues that the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that it’s important for decisionmakers to make bold policy reforms and to build evidence for future action at the same time.

11/2020 | Alexander Mayer, Kate Tromble

A college degree remains critical to unlocking opportunity and to accessing America’s middle class, yet millions of students who pursue higher education never earn degrees. This memo, produced with Results for America, draws lessons and policy implications from two decades of rigorous research in postsecondary institutions focused on addressing this problem.

Meeting the Needs of Workers and Employers

11/2020 | Kelsey Schaberg

Low-wage workers have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, experiencing greater levels of unemployment than their higher-wage-earning peers. Training programs that focus on moving workers into skilled jobs in industries with strong local demand could reposition them for 21st-century success.

Career and Technical Education Connects the Dots

10/2020 | Rachel Rosen

The economic recession triggered by the global pandemic has magnified the need for high-quality programs that can help students acquire the skills, training, and postsecondary credentials they need to thrive in the workplace. Here are some programs that studies show improved academic outcomes and increased earnings.

10/2020 | Meghan McCormick

Children in low-income communities are less likely than others to attend programs that improve kindergarten readiness. MDRC has identified two ways to promote more equitable access: Make information about existing high-quality programs easier to understand and improve quality by investing in curricula and professional development.

What States and Colleges Need to Know

10/2020 | Alyssa Ratledge

Colleges, researchers, and advocates believe innovation and change are needed in developmental (remedial) education, because developmental courses have low success rates and because many of their students ultimately drop out. This brief summarizes research on developmental education and provides summaries of findings and implications for state and college practices.