Entries by Editorial Staff

Study: Ferry Service Could Provide Opportunity for MBTA Expansion without Huge Upfront Costs

Read press coverage of this report in the Boston Herald: Study suggests MBTA float ferry service expansion Service has low capital costs, is cost effective by a number of measures, and could be an inexpensive channel to address critical transit needs in the region BOSTON – A comprehensive study of the MBTA ferry service’s performance as […]

10 Days, 10 Reasons to Give

There are 10 days remaining before our fiscal year ends.  Here are 10 reasons why a contribution to Pioneer Institute is worth your investment: 1. Our documentary film exploring legal barriers to school choice will be released this fall and reach half a million viewers nationwide.  2. The state invested $50 million in vocational-technical school […]

Op-ed: Education focus, testing on history, civics critical to well-informed citizenry

By Tom Birmingham Read this op-ed as published in WGBH News, The Springfield Republican, The Berkshire Eagle, The Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise, The Lowell Sun, and The New Bedford Standard Times. BOSTON — Sunday marked the 230th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution, which is being celebrated today. Sadly, this is one of the […]

Creating Space for Healthcare Innovators in the Marketplace

Pioneer Institute’s initiatives in healthcare focus on three goals.  We promote price transparency, essential in containing costs and increasing access to care. We aim to put state programs like Medicaid on a more sustainable path and create flexibility so the programs provide higher-quality care and access to care, which too often outside greater Boston is […]

Op-ed: Mass. has tools to lead in online learning — but doesn’t

By Julie Young For two years running, Bloomberg’s State Innovation Index has hailed Massachusetts as the country’s most innovative state economy. Looking at such metrics as R&D; concentration of science, technology, engineering, and math employment; and numbers of science degrees, it’s no wonder that the commonwealth placed first. But it’s not just postsecondary education that […]

METCO’s 50th Anniversary Focuses Attention on Pioneer’s Call to Expand & Improve the Program

The recent 50th anniversary of the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO) has drawn attention to the program, which gives about 3,300 Boston and Springfield students the chance to attend high-performing suburban schools, and to findings from two Pioneer Institute studies about METCO. One of the Pioneer studies was cited in a lengthy feature on […]

PioneerLegal Signs onto Amicus Briefs Urging U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Two Cases with Local Impact

Petitions would affect group of local educators challenging compulsory union payments BOSTON – Pioneer Institute, through its public interest law initiative PioneerLegal, has signed onto amicus briefs at the invitation of the Pacific Legal Foundation that support petitions for the U.S. Supreme Court to hear two cases that would have a direct impact on Massachusetts. […]

Public Statement: Pioneer Applauds MBTA Control Board For Seeking To Modernize Bus Maintenance

Pioneer applauds the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board’s long-overdue action to use a competitive bidding process to modernize bus maintenance services.  Seeking competitive bids on bus maintenance will likely produce cost savings and service improvement, as it has for the T’s money room and warehousing and logistics. The Institute further recognizes that there will […]

Study: Telemedicine Can Reduce Healthcare Costs, Improve Outcomes & Patient Satisfaction

Calls on Massachusetts to adopt telemedicine through the Group Insurance Commission, MassHealth and other state-run health programs BOSTON – Massachusetts should more aggressively embrace telemedicine, which can reduce healthcare costs, increase patient satisfaction, and is more convenient for both patients and physicians, according to “Dialing up Telemedicine,” a new study published by Pioneer Institute. “Until […]

Extended Summer Enrichment Programs Most Effective, Cost-Efficient

Part III of Pioneer Institute study series cites three approaches BOSTON – Massachusetts schools establishing summer enrichment programs to close the achievement gap between lower-income and higher-income students can have a greater impact by eventually expanding the program across multiple summers or for a full year, according to the last of a three-part series by […]

“A Source of Wonderful Ideas and Terrific Innovation”

“…yet another idea that came out of the Better Government Competition, in real-time, delivered by Pioneer Institute to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts…This organization, this event, for years and years and years has been a source of wonderful ideas and terrific innovation, and I want to, on behalf of the Commonwealth, thank you for your leadership […]

Study: States Should Provide Parents With More Information About Homeschooling Options

Practice is growing rapidly; practitioners are becoming more diverse BOSTON – States should do more to acknowledge the viability of homeschooling as an educational option, and provide direction and information for parents seeking non-traditional schooling, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute. “While homeschooling may not be the best choice for most families, […]

Aging, Technology Take Center Stage at 2017 Better Government Awards Gala

Last night, on an inspiring evening, against the backdrop of the beautiful Sail Boston parade of tall ships, Pioneer Institute held its annual Better Government Awards Gala. Longtime supporters and new friends gathered at the Boston Harbor Hotel to celebrate the country’s most innovative ideas to improve care for the aging, and leverage their skills in new […]

Pioneer Institute Announces Winner of 26th Annual Better Government Competition

MIT AgeLab Founder, Massachusetts Governor to Headline Awards Gala BOSTON – Pioneer Institute is pleased to announce that Boston-based Hebrew SeniorLife is the winner of the 26th annual Better Government Competition. The contest received nearly 100 entries from agencies and organizations across the U.S. on the topic, “Aging in America.” The winner, together with five […]

Study Explores Potential for Medical Voc-Tech Education in Catholic Schools

Programs could help stem enrollment declines, provide opportunity to disadvantaged students BOSTON – A new Pioneer Institute study explores whether medical vocational-technical education could be a tool to help area Catholic schools address declining enrollment and also provide economically disadvantaged students with the knowledge and skills that are in high demand among employers. “Some fear […]

Q & A on the Status of Senate Amendment 1031 (the Keenan/Pacheco Amendment)

On Thursday May 25, 2017, the Massachusetts Senate adopted an amendment to the FY2018 state budget that would undermine the MBTA’s three-year exemption from the Pacheco Law, the MBTA’s one-of-a-kind anti-privatization law imposed by the legislature in 1993. The Senate amendment was filed at the behest of MBTA unions in an attempt to put the brakes on the MBTA’s plans to seek competitive bids on approximately one-third […]

Report Calls on FMCB to Seek Legislative Intervention on Projected 18-Year, $1.485 Billion T Pension Shortfall

New evaluation commissioned by MBTA projects T contributions would increase by more than $1 billion under terms of current pension agreement BOSTON – With the current MBTA pension agreement set to expire in June 2018 and a new evaluation projecting a $1.485 billion increase in retirement costs over the next 18 years under terms of […]

Op-ed: Will district schools embrace charter-like reforms?

This op-ed appeared in CommonWealth magazine. TOM BIRMINGHAM Jun 2, 2017 LONG BEFORE MORE than $40 million was spent last year making the cases for and against charter public school expansion, I was skeptical about using a statewide ballot initiative to decide the question. I believe ballot initiatives are best reserved for instances where the […]

Pioneer Experts Offer Contrasting Prescriptions For MA Healthcare

Uncertainty over future of Affordable Care Act impacts state policy decisions BOSTON – New policy briefs from Josh Archambault and Barbara Anthony, two senior fellows in healthcare at Pioneer Institute, offer differing prescriptions for how Massachusetts should navigate uncertainty in the healthcare market, as Congress debates the fate of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA). […]

Public Statement On UMass Boston Finances

According to a State House News Service story yesterday, Education Secretary Jim Peyser told the House Bonding Committee that “the state will use a new process to evaluate capital projects and allocate funds, starting with the fiscal 2019 capital budget. Under the framework, campuses will respond to a request for proposals and their plans will be […]

Celebrating National Charter Public Schools Week

Great charter public schools are about great leadership. Charters in Massachusetts are the best in the country at bridging achievement gaps for our neediest students. They were authorized through the 1993 Massachusetts Education Reform Act, authored by Bay State leaders like Governor William Weld, Senate President Tom Birmingham, and Representative Mark Roosevelt. They believe that […]

Study Applauds State Decision To Let Healthcare Spending Benchmark Decrease

Calls on policy makers to continue pursuing efforts to trim healthcare spending BOSTON – A new Pioneer Institute Policy Brief applauds the decision by the Commonwealth’s Health Policy Commission to allow the benchmark for increases in the overall rate of healthcare spending to decrease this year, but urges state policy makers to remain focused on […]

Pioneer’s 2017 Hewitt Lecture Highlights Innovations In The Massachusetts Healthcare Market

BOSTON – While efforts to revise the federal healthcare law continue, Pioneer Institute is focused on real innovations in the healthcare market. “Evolving Healthcare Delivery Models” is the topic of the Institute’s 11th annual Hewitt Lecture in Healthcare, which will be held tonight at Harvard Medical School’s Joseph B. Martin Conference Center, 77 Avenue Louis […]

Pioneer is critical because UMass is critical

The University of Massachusetts system is critical to the future of the commonwealth’s economy, and that is why Pioneer started drawing attention to the finances of the five-campus system in the spring of 2016 through the release of its three-part series. With a deferred maintenance backlog of more than $3 billion, the UMass system is […]

So you want to know something about pensions?

Now anyone can become a local pension system expert…  A stitch in time saves nine. But how much will the hole unravel before the seamstress gets the call? We all know procrastination is a bad habit, but it’s far worse if the procrastinators are stewards of the public trust. For far too long, policy makers […]

Study Estimates $27 Million In Savings Annually From Consolidation Of Public Pensions

Local retirement systems generate heavy costs, larger fiduciary risks BOSTON – Massachusetts’s 102 local pension systems typically report administrative costs that are much higher than those of the Massachusetts State Employees’ Retirement System (MSERS), according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute. In “The Bay State’s Public-Pension Complex: Costly and Unaccountable,” Dr. Iliya Atanasov finds […]

Op-ed: Why Mass. must not let up on testing students

By Tom Birmingham   APRIL 13, 2017 Massachusetts’ story is well known in the education world. In the wake of the 1993 Massachusetts Education Reform Act, student achievement shot up, and the Commonwealth’s students became the nation’s best performers. The law worked not only because it was good policy, but because the grand bargain at […]

Follow-Up Survey Finds Hospitals Still Fall Short On Price Transparency

Estimated price of routine procedure at 21 Massachusetts hospitals shows price variations of up to 1,000 percent Read media coverage of this report in The Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, the Springfield Republican, Beckers Healthcare, State House News Service. Healthcare Finance, and The Lowell Sun. BOSTON – Eighteen months after an initial survey found little price transparency at Massachusetts […]

Commemorating The 100th Anniversary Of U.S. Entry Into World War I

On Tuesday, April 4th, at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate in Boston, Pioneer Institute held a forum (see press release) with award-winning historians and history teachers marking the 100th anniversary of U.S. entry into the First World War. The event was co-sponsored by the United States World War I Centennial Commission, […]