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Law Enforcement Officers Killed or Assaulted: 2008 – 2018

Solitary Confinement in the Pelican State


The Digital Divide and COVID-19: Teachers' Perceptions of Inequities in Students' Internet Access and Participation in Remote Learning

Learning Lessons: U.S. Public High Schools and the COVID-19 Pandemic in Spring 2020

Educators’ Views on the Location of Pre-K Programs and its Relation to Features of Pre-K-3 Alignment: An Exploratory Study

Marginal Effects of Merit Aid for Low-Income Students


Household Income: 2019

Agile Assessment Guide: Best Practices for Agile Adoption and Implementation

The Post-Pandemic, Socially Conscious Transformation of American Banking in a Digital World


Veterans Community Care Program: Improvements Needed to Help Ensure Timely Access to Care

Trends and Predictors of COVID-19 Information Sources and Their Relationship With Knowledge and Beliefs Related to the Pandemic: A Nationwide Cross-Sectional Study

October 9, 2020


Between 2008 and 2018, there were 34 officers feloniously killed and 74,688 officers assaulted in the Florida. Officers killed included 28 White males, 3 Black males, 2 White Females, and 1 Black Female. Twenty-four officers were in one person vehicles, 5 were detectives on special assignments, 1 was in a two-person vehicle, and 4 had other assignments. Officers assaulted included 1,175 serious injuries, 16,768 minor injuries, and 56,745 with no injuries.

Source: Florida Statistical Analysis Center, Florida Department of Law Enforcement

Since the early 1800s, Louisiana has statutorily abolished the use of solitary confinement in the state prison system with one exception. This exception allows for the use of solitary confinement to enforce the police regulations of the penitentiary. However, police regulations are not defined, nor does the law address inmates in Department of Corrections custody housed in parish jails, which account for over half of the Department of Corrections inmates. The history of Louisiana’s penitentiary system and its use of solitary confinement are infamous. The Louisiana State Penitentiary was home of the Angola 3 who collectively served over 113 years in solitary confinement. Albert Woodfox, one of the Angola 3, served more time in solitary than any other inmate in the U.S. Studies have shown that persons subject to extended periods of solitary confinement experience mental and physical health issues. In addition to the human cost, there are also substantial financial costs associated with its use. However, there is limited data and research to indicate that the use of solitary confinement is effective in making prisons safer. Louisiana’s solitary confinement law was enacted at a time when the prison population was 112 inmates. The state now ranks number 1 in the percentage of inmates in segregation in the U.S. The Louisiana Department of Corrections is working to address its reliance on solitary confinement.

Source: Right on Crime


This report investigates the relationship between teachers' reports of their students' internet access and their interaction with students and families during school closures related to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. These data are drawn from the American Instructional Resources Survey, which was fielded in May and June 2020 and included questions to teachers regarding their instruction during school closures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. When teachers deliver remote instruction, their capacity to communicate with students and their families is shaped by home internet access. Researchers found that half of teachers estimated that all or nearly all of their students had access to the internet at home, and teachers in schools located in towns and rural areas, schools serving higher percentages of students of color, and high-poverty schools were significantly less likely to report that all or nearly all of their students had access to the internet at home. Researchers also found that gaps in internet access among students in higher-poverty versus lower-poverty schools—as reported by their teachers—varied greatly by state. These data suggest that existing inequities for students in rural and high-poverty schools might be exacerbated by students' limited access to the internet and communication with teachers as remote instruction continues. Only 30% of teachers in high-poverty schools reported that all or nearly all of their students had access to the internet at home, compared with 83% of teachers in low-poverty schools. The percentage of teachers reporting that all or nearly all of their students had access to the internet at home varied greatly by state. The data suggest that poverty is a huge predictor of home internet access.

Source: RAND Corporation

This report is based on a survey of 344 high school principals and explores three questions about how U.S. public high schools addressed the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020: 1) How did U.S. public high schools respond to the public health and economic crises created by the pandemic? Were there differences across school communities? 2) How quickly and effectively did U.S. public high schools transition to remote instruction? Were there differences across school communities? And 3) What effect did the transition to remote instruction have on educational equity? Were schools able to serve all students? Were there differences across school communities? Forty-three percent of principals reported providing support for students who experienced death in their families. Eighty percent provided mental health counseling, 59% helped students and families access and navigate health services, and 50% provided support to students experiencing housing insecurity or homelessness. Almost a third of principals provided financial support to students and their families. Nearly all schools provided meals during remote instruction. More than two thirds of principals reported that their school or district provided meals to family members of students who were not enrolled in the school. While principals of almost all schools provided meals to students, principals of high poverty schools provided meals to more students. Forty-six percent of high poverty schools provided meals to at least half of their students.

Source: Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access, UCLA

Prekindergarten (Pre-K) programs are provided in a variety of different physical locations, including elementary school buildings, Head Start centers, and private child care centers. A recent national survey found that 50% of elementary schools have a Pre-K program located in them. The purpose of this study is twofold. First, it explores how educators view differences between Pre-K location types. Second, it explores how different Pre-K location types may relate to features of Pre-K through third grade (P-3) alignment—specifically, examining the theory that locating Pre-K programs in elementary schools facilitates features of P-3 alignment. Educators reported significant differences between school- and center-based Pre-K locations, particularly regarding P-3 alignment. The author finds that locating Pre-K programs in elementary schools, alone, is insufficient to promote features of P-3 alignment; rather, it sets the conditions for local elementary schools to do so. The author outlines the implications of these findings for policy, practice, and future research.

Source: Children and Youth Services Review

The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation (STBF) is a Nebraska-based grantmaking foundation that provides grants to first-time college freshman who want to attend a Nebraska public college or university. STBF awards are unusually generous and comprehensive, paying college costs for up to five year at any Nebraska public four-year college and up to three years at any Nebraska two-year college. Because STBF grant aid can be applied to any part of a student’s total cost of attendance—tuition, fees, books, room and board, personal expenses, and transportation—STBF awards are offset little by clawbacks or caps that affect other sorts of aid. STBF worked with the authors on this study to evaluate the efficacy of their grant program. In conjunction with STBF, the authors randomly assigned aid awards to thousands of Nebraska high school graduates from low-income, minority, and first-generation college households. The research finds that STBF awards boost bachelor’s degree completion by more than 8% among applicants who target four-year schools on the STBF application. Specifically, aid increases the proportion of students who earn a BA in six years from 63% to 71%. Award effects on BA completion are especially high among students who are traditionally under-represented in higher education. On the other hand, so far the study has found that aid does little to increase degree completion among students who target community colleges. This mixed picture notwithstanding, financial aid directed towards motivated four-year college students passes a preliminary cost benefit test. In addition to the full paper linked above, a policy brief is available.

Source: MIT Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research

Government Operations

This report presents data on median household income and the Gini index of income inequality based on the 2018 and 2019 American Community Surveys and Puerto Rico Community Surveys. The American Community Survey provides detailed estimates of demographic, social, economic, and housing characteristics for states, congressional districts, counties, places, and other localities every year. The median household income in Florida was $56,292 in 2018 and $59,227 in 2019, an increase of 5.2%. This increase was above the national average of 4.5%. Changes in median household income for U.S. states ranged from an increase of 8.9% (West Virginia) to a decrease of 1% (North Dakota). The Gini index of income inequality is a statistical measure of income inequality. It measures the amount that any two incomes differ, on average, relative to average income. It is a natural indicator of how far apart or “spread out” incomes are from one another. A value of 0 represents perfect equality, and a value of 1 indicates total inequality. The Gini index for the United States from the 2019 survey (0.481) was lower than the 2018 survey estimate (0.485). The 2019 Gini index decreased by a statistically significant amount in 15 states (including Florida) and increased by a statistically significant amount in Indiana.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Agile is an approach to software development in which software is developed incrementally and is continuously evaluated for functionality, quality, and customer satisfaction. Agile can reduce the risks of funding a program that fails or produces outdated technology. This guide presents federal auditors and others with best practices to assess the adoption and use of Agile in federal agencies and elsewhere. The federal government is planning to spend at least $90 billion on major information technology (IT) investments in Fiscal Year 2021. It has struggled in this area. The government's management of IT acquisitions and operations remains on the authors’ High Risk List. The authors have developed this guide to serve multiple audiences. The primary audience for this guide is federal auditors. Specifically, the guide presents best practices that can be used to assess the extent to which an agency has adopted and implemented Agile methods. Organizations and programs that have already established policies and protocols for Agile adoption and execution can use this guide to evaluate their existing approach to Agile software development. Organizations and programs that are in the midst of adopting Agile software development practices and programs that are planning to adopt such practices can also use this guide to inform their transitions.

Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office

The ongoing pandemic tragedy and social justice movements have already transformed the business landscape in virtually all industries in the U.S. Any business powered by digital technologies that either replaces or reduces the need for physical contact operates at a great advantage. As many observers note, the pandemic has accelerated and intensified trends that were already underway before COVID-19 struck. The commercial banking industry has not escaped the accelerating forces of the pandemic, and like other industries, will be reshaped to some extent. Given the central role the banking industry played in the 2008-09 financial crisis and continues to play in the nation’s economy today, what happens to banking remains of high interest to the broad public and to federal and state policymakers. It is timely and important, therefore, to consider how the confluence of the pandemic, technological innovation, and social issues will shape the future of the banking industry, as well as create policy options for improving the financial lives of those with limited or no access to banking. Here are the report conclusions: First, traditional banking is alive and well, but threatened on multiple fronts. The banking industry’s main traditional source of income – earning the spread between loan and deposit interest rates – has declined and is likely to remain depressed in a low interest rate environment. Second, banks have already responded to these threats and are taking further steps to strengthen their competitive positions. Triggered by the pandemic, the banking industry is poised to accelerate its adoption of new technologies and to reduce costs associated with branch networks on a permanent basis. In the process, the banking industry will be shedding branches and substantial numbers of jobs. Third, the rise of financial technology disrupters (fintechs) in principle should make banking more affordable for the currently unbanked, but fintechs – like traditional banks – have economic, regulatory, and operating realities that will limit their ability to bring about any significant conversions of the unbanked to the banked.

Source: Brookings Institution

Health and Human Services

In June 2019, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) implemented its new community care program, the Veterans Community Care Program (VCCP), as required by the VA MISSION Act of 2018. Under the VCCP, VA medical centers staff are responsible for community care appointment scheduling; their ability to execute this new responsibility has implications for veterans receiving community care in a timely manner. The VA established an appointment scheduling process for the VCCP that allows up to 19 days to complete several steps from VA providers creating a referral to community care staff reviewing that referral. However, VA has not specified the maximum amount of time veterans should have to wait to receive care through the program. In addition, regarding monitoring of the initial steps of the scheduling process, the authors found that VA is using metrics that are remnants from the previous community care program, which are inconsistent with the time frames established in the VCCP scheduling process. This limits VA’s ability to determine the effectiveness of the VCCP and to identify areas for improvement. The authors previously recommended in 2013 the need for an overall wait-time measure for veterans to receive care under a prior VA community care program. Subsequent to VA not implementing this recommendation, the authors again recommended in 2018 that VA establish an achievable wait-time goal as part of its new VCCP. The VA has not yet implemented the authors’ 2018 recommendation that VA establish an achievable wait-time goal. Given VA’s lack of action over the prior 7 years implementing wait-time goals for various community care programs, the authors argue that congressional action is warranted to help achieve timely health care for veterans.

Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office

COVID-19 has emerged as a rapidly evolving global health crisis, leading to a heightened need to understand health information seeking behaviors in order to address disparities in knowledge and beliefs about the crisis. This study assessed socio-demographic predictors of the use and trust of different COVID-19 information sources, and the association between information sources, knowledge and beliefs about the pandemic. An online survey was conducted among U.S. adults in two rounds within March-April 2020 using social-media advertisement-based recruitment. Participants were asked on their use of eleven different COVID-19 information sources, followed by a single question which assessed participants’ most trusted information source. Selection of COVID-related knowledge and belief questions was identified using past empirical literature and salient concerns at the time of survey implementation. The sample consists of 11,242 participants. Government websites were used less by 40-59-year-olds and those ≥60-years compared to 18-38-years-olds. Participants in April were markedly less likely to use and trust government sources. The information source on COVID-19 knowledge was mixed, while many COVID-19 beliefs were significantly predicted by information source.

Source: JMIR Publications

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