The FAMCare Blog

Fostering discussions on industry news, effective data management, improved workflow, morale and funding.

Predictive Risk Modeling

In a recent issue of Social Work Today, Kate Jackson reported this troubling statistic:

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April 19 ,2018

Teachers on Strike

Teacher strikes are spreading across the country. In states where they are still woefully underpaid like Oklahoma and Arizona it is amazing that teachers can afford to go to work at all. But teachers in California and New York, on the other hand, are not striking strictly for pay increases. They are demanding more funding for education in general and are striking on behalf of their students who, they say, are being under-served in aging buildings without up-to-date technology, proper textbooks, or fundamental teaching aides. In other words, teachers are revolting against a perennial lack of proper funding for education across the country. How can the wealthiest country in the world fail to prioritize the education of its youth, when it is that very educational system that made it the wealthiest country in the world?

The Debate

Much of the national debate focuses on how best to make changes to our system of public education. How much should we rely on market forces and parental choice to drive improvement? Should we replace much of the traditional framework with privately run charter schools or by giving public funding directly to each parent in the form of vouchers? Unfortunately, little attention is being paid to how much we spend on education, and what it costs to provide the education we wish for our children.

The Actual Cost of Education

A Rutgers University study, The Real Shame of the Nation: The Causes and Consequences of Interstate Inequity in Public School Investments, reports the following:

  • It can cost anywhere between $5,000 and $30,000 a year per student in order to hit average test scores.
  • It costs more than three times the amount per pupil ($20k to $30k) to achieve national average outcome goals in very high poverty districts as it does in relatively low poverty districts ($5k to $10k).
  • High-poverty school districts in several states fall thousands to tens of thousands of dollars short, per pupil, of funding required to reach the relatively modest goal of current national average student performance outcomes on standardized assessments. In some states—notably Arizona, Mississippi, Alabama and California—the highest poverty school districts fall as much as $14,000 to $16,000 per pupil below necessary spending levels.

Intractable Problems

The Rutgers study revealed that two factors mainly determine where a district lies along the cost spectrum: location and mix of students. Some school districts bear higher costs because they’re located in expensive regions where salaries, including those of teachers, are high. Population density matters too. The cost of educating poor children escalates faster in urban areas.

The Rutgers Study Concludes

“Even with relatively high effort, some states simply lack the capacity to close the gaps we have identified. These interstate variations speak to the need for a new and enhanced federal role in improving interstate inequality in order to advance our national interest in improved education outcomes across states. Our empirical model shows that federal funding for schools has been insufficient for improving interstate inequality. Arguably, the interstate gaps we have presented strike at the core of our national interest and call for urgent federal action.”

Distribution of Available Assets

In other words, the educational funding system based on local taxes does not properly distribute funding to where it is needed across the national education landscape. What’s needed are revised formulas that risk asking some districts to take a smaller share of school funding so needier districts can be brought up to par. State policymakers are struggling with the politics of creating funding systems that target funds to districts with the greatest challenges. The bottom line, of course, is that while education is a vital tool, using education as a pathway out of poverty is a very expensive proposition that will require a coordinated federal approach.
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April 18 ,2018

OJJDP Announces New Funding Opportunities

Posted in | By: George Ritacco

OJJDP has announced the following fiscal year 2018 funding opportunities:

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April 12 ,2018

Changing Times... Jewish Federations of North America

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April 11 ,2018

FAMCare... Intuitive Case Management Design

Tesla - “Oh…and it’s all electric”

A recent encounter with an eager, young representative (don’t call them salesman) in a Tesla store (not a showroom) first amused me, but then alerted me to the fact that I was guilty of a similar oversight in my own business.  

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April 02 ,2018

The difference between working with a software "vendor" vs. a consultant team 

Case management software options abound in this day and age of cloud-based technology. It seems as though lots of attractive options are being released by vendors and consulting companies alike. Knowing what to expect when working with each group can help an agency decide which approach works best for their goals as well as their budget.

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March 29 ,2018

The Family First Prevention Services Act

Posted in Child Welfare | By: GVT Admin

The Family First Act has become law! This is a very big deal for our caseworker colleagues who work in teen pregnancy and parenting. It represents the biggest change to the structure of federal child welfare finance since the establishment of the Title IV-E entitlement in 1980.

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March 29 ,2018

Asking Donors "Discovery" Questions

Posted in Fundraising Ideas | By: GVT Admin

Do you ask your donors discovery questions?

I’m certain you do. But, you may not be asking them in the most effective way. Rachel Muir has some great tips and examples on how to ask donors questions.

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March 27 ,2018

Guide to Protecting Your Child on the Internet

Posted in Child Welfare | By: George Ritacco

Came across an interesting guide last week that I wanted to share with you. The Ultimate Parent Guide for Child Safety on the Internet is a concise guide with great tips on protecting our children from the dangers of the Internet and protecting their safety.  As a boy scout leader - we teach the scouts how to be aware of online predators and other people who try to get a hold of your private information.  The guide covers some of those things and more.

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March 26 ,2018

Improving Donor Retention Rates

Posted in Fundraising Ideas | By: GVT Admin

This week's Movie Monday's fundraising tip is in from the folks at Movie Mondays.

Would you like to raise more money with your newsletters, website, annual report, direct mail, and your other donor communications?

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March 19 ,2018

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