Issue Focus

Top 10 Media Appearances for MDRC in 2020


MDRC’s work appeared in a variety of mainstream and trade publications in 2020. Here are 10 of our favorites.

“To Honor the Promise of Liberty, Reform Pretrial Detention,” by Jeffrey Kremers, Law360, January 12.

“Research shows that when jurisdictions implement broad reforms — which can include, but are not limited to, risk assessment — they are consistently successful in reducing the number of people held before trial. One needs to look no further than Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, where [MDRC] researchers this year found the implementation of risk assessment and related reform led to a significant drop in pretrial jail bookings without an increase in crime.”

“Colleges Are Using High School Grades, Not Just Standardized Tests, to Determine if Students Need Remedial Courses,” by Mikhail Zinshteyn, Los Angeles Daily News, January 12.

“‘You’re seeing that change is happening,’ said MDRC’s Elizabeth Zachry Rutschow, the lead author of the report. ‘If you consider that five years before this survey, almost no one was using anything other than standardized tests, I think that’s a pretty big growth in five years.’”

“Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s Middle-Class Strategies,” by Michael Bernick, Forbes, January 28.

Bloomberg required a careful measurement of results and honest accounting. MDRC, the nation’s premier non-partisan evaluation firm, was brought on board, and as James Riccio of MDRC notes, told to ‘let the chips fall where they may.’ MDRC used a randomized controlled trial [to evaluate Paycheck Plus] and studied roughly 6,000 low-income single adults for three years after enrollment. MDRC’s evaluation was generally positive, but it also highlighted the program limitations….”

“Choices, Choices: For College Students, a Buffet of Options Causes Heartburn,” by Jon Marcus, Washington Post, February 7.

“But Michael J. Weiss, senior research associate at the social policy research organization MDRC, said he isn’t worried about students being coddled. ‘If there is expertise within an institution that knows there are better, easier, shorter paths to getting degrees,’ Weiss said, ‘it seems smart to set up the architecture of the institution such that those choices are easier to make.’”

“Promoting Equity in Career and Technical Education,” by Ellie Ashford, Community College Daily, April 7.

“Community college career and technical education (CTE) programs are increasingly committed to achieving equity goals and are finding creative ways to do so, according to a new MDRC report.”

ASAP Is More Important Than Affirmative Action,” The Economist, May 7.

ASAP is designed to address a simply stated problem. Many low-income minority students enroll in college. But few finish. Only 34% of black men finish their bachelor’s degree within six years, compared with the average rate of 60%. Those individual decisions to drop out collectively amount to society-wide stratification. The racial gaps in earning college degrees have hardly budged since 1995.”

“Students Earn AA Degrees and Job Offers as Grads from IBM Supported High Schools,” by Tom Vander Ark, Forbes, June 16.

MDRC recently released an evaluation of New York City P-TECH schools that showed that most students begin college coursework in tenth grade and that students accumulate more credits than students in other schools. They also take and pass New York state tests earlier and at higher rates than other students. The evaluation also found that all of the P-TECH schools focus on workplace skills such as good work habits and interpersonal skills.”  

“’We Have to Remember that Schools Serve a Variety of Functions Beyond Academic Education’: A Discussion with MDRC’s K-12 Education Director William Corrin,” by Elizabeth Nelson, Lawyers, Guns, and Money, June 29.

“One of the silver linings of this unprecedented disruption is that there has been a lot of ‘on-the-fly’ innovation in schools and districts. It is really important that we work together to identify which adaptations may be improvements over the status quo and be prepared to understand how these adaptations can be integrated into the more traditional approaches as we emerge from this crisis. It’s not about being able to do education well if everything suddenly falls apart again. Instead, it’s more about discerning which emergency-inspired innovations have legs for improving how we approach education over the long haul.”

City’s Supervised Release Program Has Positive Impacts Without Increases in Missed Court Appearances or Rearrest Rates, Report Finds,” by Ethan Geringer-Sameth, Gotham Gazette, September 24.

“Defendants in New York City’s pretrial supervised release program are no more likely to miss court than people who have bail set and are not rearrested at a higher rate, according to a city-commissioned study by MDRC’s Center for Criminal Justice Research being released Thursday.”

“Steady SAILS During the Pandemic,” by Marcia Ballinger, President of Lorain County Community College, Community College Daily, October 2.

“Early in the pandemic, an adviser in Lorain County Community College’s successful Students Accelerating in Learning (SAIL) program got a frantic call from one of her students. She was at a local gas station, out of gas and out of money. SAIL students qualify for a monthly gas/grocery card in return for participating in regular advising sessions. It’s just one part of a comprehensive student success program, modeled on the innovative City University of New York’s Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (CUNY ASAP).”