SIRC Archives

The Social Innovation Research Center (SIRC) project has come to a close. Archives for the project are being preserved here for historical and research purposes.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Report: Scaling Evidence-Based Programs in Child Welfare

New report from the IBM Center for the Business of Government:

Scaling Evidence-Based Programs in Child Welfare (February 11, 2020)
Successes, Challenges, and Opportunities Under the Family First Prevention Services Act


Posted in Uncategorized

Evidence-based Opioids Treatment and Prevention

New report from the Social Innovation Research Center.

Evidence-based Opioids Treatment and Prevention
How SAMHSA Could Use Proven Programs and Practices to Help Halt an Epidemic
April 11, 2018

Posted in Health

Using Evidence for College Access and Completion

New report from the Social Innovation Research Center.

Using Evidence to Increase College Access and Completion
How a Tiered Evidence Grant Program Could Improve Post-Secondary Student Outcomes
April 10, 2018

Posted in Education

Congress Directs States to Include Evidence Assurances in Education Plans

The 74 reported in a story earlier this week that language accompanying the bill that funded the Department of Education for the rest of this year is also encouraging states to take ESSA’s evidence provisions seriously.

According the language in the report accompanying the bill:

Consultation on State Plans.-As State Educational Agencies work to finalize their plans for distributing their section 1003 funds, and continue to give priority to supporting Local Educational Agencies as required under section 1003(f) of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), States must include assurances in their State plans as required under 1111(g)(2), including the assurance that the State educational agencies will ensure that local educational agencies, in developing and implementing programs under Title I, Part A, will, to the extent feasible, work in consultation with outside intermediary organizations (such as educational service agencies), or individuals, that have practical expertise in the development or use of evidence-based strategies and programs to improve teaching, learning, and schools.

Read the full story here.


Posted in Education

Using Evidence in K-12 Education

The Social Innovation Research Center has today released two new reports on the use of evidence under ESSA — one on comprehensive school improvement and the other on charter schools.

New Reports

Evidence-Based Comprehensive School Improvement
How Using Proven Models and Practices Could Overcome Decades of Failure
March 26, 2018

Building and Using Evidence in Charter Schools
How Charter Schools Could Become Innovation Laboratories for K-12 Education
March 26, 2018


Congress Enacts New Evidence-based School Safety Program
March 23, 2018

Investing in Innovation (i3)
Strong Start on Evaluation and Scale, But Greater Focus Needed on Innovation
January 19, 2017

Performance Partnership Pilots (P3)
Waiver Authority Should Be Extended, Evidence and Evaluation Requirements Strengthened
June 6, 2016

Posted in Education

Congress Enacts New Evidence-based School Safety Program

The $1.3 billion omnibus spending package signed into law by President Trump on March 23 includes another evidence-based program — this one devoted to “evidence-based school safety programs.”

The program is a bipartisan response to recent school shootings in Florida and elsewhere.  An earlier version of the bill, called the Stop School Violence Act, passed the House on March 14 by a vote of 407-10. The proposal also drew the support of the Trump administration and the NRA.

The new program’s evidence provisions are very similar to those included in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which replaced NCLB. They include the same top four evidence tiers — strong, moderate, promising, and demonstrates a rationale (although the last is modified slightly). The law has different evidence standards for technology and equipment. [Note: the earlier House-passed version of the proposal did not spell out the evidence provisions, the final enacted version did — see p. 1979.]

The new law also reportedly clarifies that the Centers for Disease Control is not barred from conducting research on gun violence. According to a story in The Washington Post, “the language is included in a report, attached to the spending bill, that is intended as guidance to federal agencies.”

Under the new law, evidence-based school safety programs will be identified by the Department of Justice. The new program will be funded at $75 million this year and $100 million each year from FY 2019-2028. Funded services may include:

  • Training school personnel and students to prevent student violence against others and self.
  • The development and operation of anonymous reporting systems for threats of school violence, including mobile telephone applications, hotlines, and Internet websites.
  • The development and operation of: (A) school threat assessment and intervention teams that may include coordination with law enforcement agencies and school personnel; and (B) specialized training for school officials in responding to mental health crises.
  • Any other measure that, in the determination of the BJA Director, may provide a significant improvement in training, threat assessments and reporting, and violence prevention.
  • Coordination with local law enforcement.
  • Training for local law enforcement officers to prevent student violence against others and self.
  • Placement and use of metal detectors, locks, lighting, and other deterrent measures.
  • Acquisition and installation of technology for expedited notification of local law enforcement during an emergency.
  • Any other measure that, in the determination of the COPS Director, may provide a significant improvement in security.


Posted in Criminal Justice, Education

New Evidence-based Reemployment Services Program

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (HR 1892), signed into law last week, has at least one other new evidence-based program to go along with its other provisions on child welfare, pay-for-success, and the MIECHV reauthorization.

This one, which will be run by the Department of Labor (DOL), will fund evidence-based reemployment services to help people on unemployment insurance obtain jobs. It looks like it could begin as soon as FY 2019 (which starts October 1, 2018). It may need to be funded through the regular appropriations process first, but some reports suggest it is already funded through mandatory allocations.

Here are some of the key provisions (see the related bill text for full details):

  • Evidence Definitions: The law directs DOL to define the relevant evidence standards, including programs that are backed by “high or moderate causal evidence.”
  • Evidence Building Requirements: Any funded intervention that does not meet the law’s high or moderate evidence requirements must be evaluated. However, no more than 10 percent of federal grant funds can be spent on these evaluations. Within three years, DOL is directed to submit a report to Congress describing promising interventions used by the states.
  • Evidence Use Requirements: Program funds may only be spent on programs that are “demonstrated to reduce the number of weeks for which program participants receive unemployment compensation by improving employment outcomes.” Starting in FY 2023, however, at least 25 percent of the funds must be spent on reemployment programs backed by high or moderate causal evidence (see above). This percentage increases to at least 50 percent by 2026.

The program is authorized at $33 million in FY 2019, $58 million in FY 2020, and $83 million in FY 2021, with higher amounts in subsequent years. The program provides formula funding to states (which includes an outcomes-based component). States may then provide subgrants for the eligible services, depending on the details of their approved state plans.

How much evidence exists for these services now? One example is the Nevada Reemployment and Eligibility Assessment Program, which was rated as “Near Top Tier” by the Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy. Others can presumably be found on DOL’s Clearinghouse for Labor Evaluation and Research.


Posted in Workforce Issues

Evidence Provisions in the Trump Budget

Earlier today, the Trump administration released its proposed budget for FY 2019, which begins October 1. Like last year, the Trump budget includes a chapter on evidence-based policy. But first a run down on some of the major budget items of interest to the evidence community.

Key Evidence-based Programs

Here are the budget highlights for some of the most prominent evidence-related programs.

  • Overall Research & Development Budget: The budget is proposing a 2 percent increase in overall federal spending on R&D, or about $118.1 billion under a new OMB definition of the term. However, all of the proposed increase is defense-related. The budget proposes cuts for most domestic research programs, including cuts in funding for NIH and the National Science Foundation.
  • Education Research and Innovation (EIR) program: The budget proposes a significant increase for this program (which is the successor to i3), from $99 to $180 million. The detailed budget justifications suggest that the administration wants to repurpose most of these funds to support STEM programs. (See pp. 21-22 of that document).
  • Institute of Education Sciences (IES): The budget proposes a significant cut in funding for IES, the major evidence-building agency at ED. Overall funding would drop from $658 to $522 million. Most of the reduction would come from eliminating the Regional Education Laboratories (RELs) and funding for Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (see below). More information is available in the IES budget justifications.
  • Social Innovation Fund: Just kidding. It’s still dead. But the budget is proposing eliminating CNCS as a whole. See below.
  • Teen Pregnancy Programs: The budget continues funding for the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) at $75 million. (See SIRC’s previous story about these programs). However, it would eliminate the Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) Program, currently funded at $101 million annually.

Here are the links for the overall agency budgets.

  Continue reading

Posted in Evidence