SAGE Journal Articles

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SAGE Journal User Guide

Article 1:
This article seeks to understand how foundations decide to invest their funds in social programs and, in particular, what role government policy plays in that decision. The article develops the concept of foundations as venture capitalists who invest in particular communities and government programs expecting a return on their investment. It analyzes the risks and rewards of the investment decision, given the vagaries of the public policy decision process. The concept of foundations as policy venture capitalists is applied to child care programs to illustrate these policy investment strategies in a concrete way. The findings show that in seeking to achieve their policy agenda for children and families, only a few foundations have acted as policy venture capitalists to lead and innovate in child care. Most foundations have played an important but targeted investment role of partnering with government, filling in gaps and inconsistencies, and evaluating the implementation of government initiatives.
Questions to consider:
1.  How do foundations decide to invest their funds in social programs? What role does government policy play in that decision?
2.  How does child care involve several different policy issues?
3.  Why is it important to address the issues of child care as a preventative measure in foundation investments?
Article 2:
We conducted a study using mixed methods to explore implementation of reform legislation and related outcomes for students with disabilities and those placed at risk of school failure. Designed to promote equal educational opportunities, the legislation included provisions for (a) redistributing state funding so that schools would have more equal access to resources and (b) requiring all schools to adopt and use state standards and standards-based assessments. Almost one fourth of the public schools in the state participated in the study, including schools that gained, lost, or were not affected by the redistribution of state education funds. A cross-case analysis identified both benefits and challenges for students with disabilities and those placed at risk of school failure, suggesting a need to ensure that reforms focus on outcomes for all students and include adequate resources and professional development opportunities for educators and administrators in both general and special education.
Questions to consider:
1. Describe the Brigham v. State of Vermont case and what impact it had on legislation.
2. What are some of the benefits and challenges that resulted from the implementation of the Equal Educational Opportunity Act?
3. What concerns do policymakers have regarding the Equal Educational Opportunity Act?
Article 3:
Drawing on the authors’ experience in the international Campbell Collaboration, this essay presents a principled and pragmatic approach to evidence-informed decisions about child welfare. This approach takes into account the growing body of empirical evidence on the reliability and validity of various methods of research synthesis. It also considers wide variations in the cultural, economic, and political contexts in which policy and practice decisions are made—and the contexts in which children live and die. This essay illustrates the use of Campbell and Cochrane systematic reviews to inform child welfare decisions in the diverse contexts that exist around the globe.
Questions to consider:
1. How are child welfare policies typically shaped in the United States? How does this differ in other countries?
2. What is the criteria that most programs must meet in order to be deemed effective? What is wrong with these standards?
3. What do policymakers need in order to make well-informed decisions?