RAND Gulf States Policy Institute
Congressional Newsletter
Quarterly updates to Congress on RAND's work in the Gulf States region


Louisiana Offers Lessons in Wake of Hurricane Sandy

Flooded houses in New Jersey - photo credit flickr.com/DVIDSHUB

Northeastern policymakers reeling from Hurricane Sandy can draw on the Gulf region's experience with response and recovery. As they go forward, they can also look at the measures Louisiana has developed to reduce the risk of storm damage. RAND researchers describe Louisiana's lessons learned in an op-ed for CNN. Despite differences between the two regions, the best course of action is the same for both of them: protect vital assets with engineered solutions when necessary; take advantage of, rather than fight, natural processes; and concede the most vulnerable lands to the rising sea.

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Read More Read Related Op-Ed
Read More Read a blog post about hurricane preparation

Flood Risk Model Helps Louisiana Coastal Planners Evaluate Potential Projects

New Orleans flooding

The Coastal Louisiana Risk Assessment (CLARA) analytical model estimates probable hurricane flood depths and damage in the decades ahead. CLARA improved understanding of how coastal conditions might change in the future and thereby made it possible to evaluate various potential flood risk reduction projects for inclusion in Louisiana's 2012 Coastal Master Plan.

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Read More Research Brief
Read More Commentary

Networking Tools Enhance Local Disaster Preparedness Planning and Collaboration

Man watching CCTV network

Networking among local response organizations can enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of disaster preparedness and response. Prototype networking tools enhance such local networking.

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Taking Action

As Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama seek to expand their economies, employers will require highly literate workers with advanced technical skills. RAND has conducted extensive research on early childhood, K-12, college, and vocational education in the United States and overseas as well as the role of education in workforce development. A couple of our studies are highlighted below.

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How to Give Young Children the Right Start

Mother and child

Studies show that early childhood learning builds a foundation for later success in school and life, especially for disadvantaged children. In testimony before the Council of the District of Columbia this past February, RAND researcher Lynn Karoly outlined the steps policymakers can take to give young children the boost they need. Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve System Ben Bernanke cited RAND research that documents the importance of investing early in children's learning. He made the case that early education programs are one of the best investments that society can make in its future.

Read More Testimony
Read More Journal Article
Read More News Release
Read More Occasional Paper: The Economics of Early Childhood Policy
Read More Early Childhood Interventions Report
Read More Investing in our Children report

How to Teach 21st Century Skills and Knowledge

Teen in chemistry class

Despite widespread agreement among parents, educators, employers and policymakers worldwide that students need skills like critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork and creativity, these skills are stubbornly difficult to teach and learn, write RAND Education researchers Anna R. Saavedra and V. Darleen Opfer. They summarize nine lessons from the science of learning telling how students learn 21st-century skills and how different approaches to teaching can address their needs.

Read More Commentary
Read More Article Abstract
Read More Read More
Read More Occasional Paper: The Economics of Early Childhood Policy


Investment in the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program Yields Economic Benefits

National Guard ChalleNGe cohort

The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program, a program serving high school dropouts, operates in 27 states, including Louisiana and Mississippi. A cost-benefit analysis indicates that every dollar invested in the program yields $2.66 in social benefits, an estimated return on investment of 166 percent.

Read More Technical Report
Read More Research Brief


The RAND Gulf States Policy Institute provides objective analysis to federal, state, and local leaders in support of evidence-based policymaking and the well-being of individuals throughout the U.S. Gulf States region. We invite your suggestions for researchers, projects, centers, and funding or collaboration opportunities to highlight in future issues. Write to us at RAND_Gulf_States_News@rand.org.


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The RAND Gulf States Policy Institute was created in 2005 to support hurricane recovery and long-term economic development in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Today, RAND Gulf States provides objective analysis to federal, state, and local leaders in support of evidence-based policymaking and the well-being of individuals throughout the Gulf States region. For more information, visit www.rand.org/gulf-states.

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