Evaluating College Savings Plans: A Case Study on Arkansas and Mississippi

Education and Literacy;Parenting and Families;Poverty

Evaluating College Savings Plans: A Case Study on Arkansas and Mississippi

In an effort to improve family economic security in rural communities, Southern Bancorp Community Partners (SBCP) sought a sustainable funding source in 2013 for Arkansas's Aspiring Scholars Matching Grant (ASMG) Program, a savings incentive for low-to-moderate income families that matches funds saved for a child's college education in the 529 GIFT Plan, and investigated the possible creation of a matched 529 savings program in Mississippi. SBCP authored this paper to illustrate and examine the current options of college savings accounts offered in both states and analyze the causes behind low participation in each state's 529 plans.

April 2014

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Southern)-Mississippi;North America-United States (Southern)-Arkansas

Ready, Willing and Able: Kansas City Parents Talk About How to Improve Schools and What They Can Do to Help

Education and Literacy, Parenting and Families

Ready, Willing and Able: Kansas City Parents Talk About How to Improve Schools and What They Can Do to Help

Are parents an untapped resource in improving and reimagining K -- 12 education in Kansas City? What do they think would enhance student learning and what are they willing to do to help their children get the education they deserve? These are among the questions explored in an in-depth survey of 1,566 parents with children now in public school in the Kansas City metropolitan area. This study finds the majority of parents in the Kansas City area ready, willing and able to be more engaged in their children's education at some level. For communities to reap the most benefit from additional parental involvement, it is important to understand that different parents can be involved and seek to be involved in different ways.

The results of this research, detailed in the following pages, show that nearly a third of the region's parents may be ready to take on a greater role in shaping how local schools operate and advocating for reform in K -- 12 education. These parents say they would be very comfortable serving on committees focused on teacher selection and the use of school resources. Their sense of "parental engagement" extends beyond such traditional activities as attending PTA meetings, coaching sports, volunteering for bake sales, chaperoning school trips and seeing that their children are prepared for school each day. Yet, despite their broad interest in a deeper, more substantive involvement in shaping the region's school systems, relatively few of these "potential transformers" have actually participated in policy-oriented activities in the past year.

Moreover, this survey finds that even though the majority of parents seem less inclined to jump into school policy debates, many say they could do more to support local schools in the more traditional school parent roles.

April 2013

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Missouri-Platte County, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Missouri-Jackson County-Kansas City, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Missouri-Clay County, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Missouri-Cass County, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Kansas-Wyandotte County-Kansas City

Shuttered Public Schools: The Struggle to Bring Old Buildings New Life

Community and Economic Development, Education and Literacy

Shuttered Public Schools: The Struggle to Bring Old Buildings New Life

Large-scale public school closures have become a fact of life in many American cities, and that trend is not likely to stop now. This report

looks at what happens to the buildings themselves, studying the experiences of Philadelphia and 11 other cities that have decommissioned large numbers of schools in recent years: Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City, Mo., Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Tulsa and Washington.

February 2013

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Missouri-St. Louis County-St. Louis, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Missouri-Jackson County-Kansas City, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Michigan-Wayne County-Detroit, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Illinois-Cook County-Chicago, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Ohio-Cuyahoga County-Cleveland, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Ohio-Hamilton County-Cincinnati, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Wisconsin-Milwaukee County-Milwaukee, North America-United States (Northeastern)-Pennsylvania-Allegheny County-Pittsburgh, North America-United States (Southern)-District of Columbia-Washington, North America-United States (Southern)-Georgia-Fulton County-Atlanta, North America-United States (Southern)-Oklahoma-Tulsa County-Tulsa

Charting a Path: An Exploration of the Statewide Career Pathway Efforts in Arkansas, Kentucky, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin

Education and Literacy;Employment and Labor;Human Services

Charting a Path: An Exploration of the Statewide Career Pathway Efforts in Arkansas, Kentucky, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin

Examines successful state strategies in instituting a community college-centered career pathway framework, a series of education and training programs and support services focused on specific occupational sectors. Explores challenges and lessons learned.

May 2009

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Wisconsin;North America-United States (Northwestern)-Oregon;North America-United States (Western)-Washington;North America-United States (Southern)-Arkansas;North America-United States (Southern)-Kentucky

Putting Performance on the Map: Locating Quality Schools in the Kansas City, Missouri School District

Education and Literacy

Putting Performance on the Map: Locating Quality Schools in the Kansas City, Missouri School District

Analyzes enrollment, capacity, location, and performance data for KCMSD and charter schools and examines the effects of closures, restructuring, and teacher layoffs on students. Recommends strategic coordination to meet student needs and state standards.

October 2010

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Kansas-Wyandotte County-Kansas City, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Missouri

Widget Effect: Our National Failure to Acknowledge and Act on Differences in Teacher Effectiveness, The

Education and Literacy

Widget Effect: Our National Failure to Acknowledge and Act on Differences in Teacher Effectiveness, The

Examines flaws in evaluations of teacher effectiveness that lead districts to allow poor performance to go unaddressed. Recommends a comprehensive system, to be used accountably and integrated with human capital policies, and efficient dismissal policies.

June 2009

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Southern)-Arkansas, North America-United States (Western)-Colorado, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Illinois, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Ohio

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