In response to this unprecedented crisis, MDRC is gathering lessons from research and from the experience of its partners to share with practitioners and policymakers as they navigate today’s challenging environment and plan for the future. 

February 2023

In this commentary originally published in The Hechinger Report, Rebecca Davis and Shira Mattera describe how investing in universal early assessment is an important approach to help communities meet the specific needs of young children and their families.

March 2022

Head Start’s Family Support Services

This brief outlines how Head Start programs responded to the ever-evolving public health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic—shifting activities to virtual formats, adapting in-person activities to local restrictions, and maintaining connections with families and community providers.

February 2022

As part of a research-practice partnership, the NYC Department of Education worked with MDRC to improve its outreach to families and its digital processes for middle school application during the pandemic. This brief describes what adaptations were made, how families reacted, and what lessons the experience offers for the future.

November 2021

In this commentary, which originally appeared in The Crime Report, Sam Schaeffer and Ivonne Garcia describe how temporary cash grants provided by the Center for Employment Opportunities helped more than 10,000 returning citizens transition from prison during the pandemic. They also share findings about the program from MDRC’s recent study.

September 2021

In this commentary, originally published by The Hechinger Report, MDRC’s Alex Mayer and Catherine Brown from The Institute for College Access & Success explain how research shows that investing in comprehensive student support programs can increase college graduation rates.

August 2021

In this commentary, originally published in The Hill, MDRC’s Alyssa Ratledge highlights the value of postsecondary institutions in rural communities and describes innovations that rural colleges have developed during the pandemic that could be expanded with more support.

July 2021

Building on Strengths Students Have Gained After a Year of Turmoil

The COVID-19 pandemic has hurt many students, but many have also grown tremendously from the events they experienced in 2020. This brief discusses service learning as a practice that draws on the skills and community awareness students have developed through the past year, and that also can help them rebound.

Issue Focus
May 2021

The pandemic has been especially hard on recent high school graduates. MDRC is partnering with several cities to connect 2020 and 2021 graduates to high-quality programs and coaching and counseling resources that can guide them to educational and workforce opportunities that match their interests.

Issue Focus
April 2021

The Case for Investing Pandemic Relief Funds in Pre-K and Kindergarten Summer Programs

In this commentary originally published by New America, Meghan McCormick and Amena Sengal argue that states and districts should allocate some pandemic relief dollars to strengthening summer learning for pre-k and kindergarten students.

Issue Focus
March 2021

In this commentary originally published by New America, Meghan McCormick and Christina Weiland argue that states should make investing in high-quality early childhood and kindergarten programs a priority in their pandemic recovery efforts.

Issue Focus
February 2021

Some estimate that the expansion of the Child Tax Credit could help ameliorate the economic impact of the pandemic and, if made permanent, cut child poverty in the United States in half. But to achieve the promise of these estimates, policymakers should improve the design and delivery compared to the current child tax credit to minimize burdens and barriers for recipients. Here are four research-backed ways to do it.

Issue Focus
January 2021

In this commentary originally published in Route Fifty, experts from MDRC’s Center for Applied Behavioral Science and BIT North America describe how government agencies can use behavioral science to adapt policies, programs, and services during the continuing pandemic crisis.