Entries by Editorial Staff

Improving Access To Health Systems Available To Older Patients

Guest post by Alex Carlin As more Americans age in place, policymakers face a number of challenges in ensuring adequate healthcare access for older adults. A central concern is the growing divide between the services available to elders living in urban settings and those in rural communities. In less densely populated areas, which often have […]

The Power of Competition at the T

In 2015, right after record-setting snowfall shut down the region’s transit system, Pioneer developed governance and reform proposals to put the MBTA on a stronger fiscal footing. One of our reports concerned The Ride, the regional paratransit system for customers with disabilities, showing that: The Ride’s budget was out of control and procured through contracts […]

Meeting the Housing Needs of an Aging Population

Guest post by Mariella Rutigliano Many Americans struggle to pay for housing — and the reality today is that a significant number of those who will retire over the next decade will struggle financially to stay in their own homes. According to a 2014 report released by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard […]

Getting the T Back on Track

The reforms that the Massachusetts Legislature advanced at the MBTA just two short years ago are having a tangible impact on the T’s financial viability and operations. In the near term, more remains to be done to close the T’s annual budget gap, including three big items: competitively bidding the T’s bus maintenance and in-person […]

Study: Inefficient Public Pension Investment Costs Taxpayers About $100 Million A Year

Local systems forfeited some $2.9 billion over 30 years by not investing with PRIM, probably billions more if fees and compounding are included Read coverage of this report in the Boston Herald, The Bond Buyer, and Associated Press. BOSTON – The commonwealth should set a five-year deadline for 102 public pension systems to transfer their assets […]

Join Us Mar. 20: “A Fire You Can’t Put Out”: Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, Civil Rights, & School Choices

In the aftermath of a contentious electoral season, highlighted by debates about the nature of our democracy and equality of educational opportunity, Pioneer Institute is hosting a forum that celebrates the birthday and legacy of the late Birmingham, Alabama civil rights leader Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth. The event will feature his widow, award-winning historians, and civil […]

Celebrating Presidents’ Day & K-12 U.S. History Instruction

As we celebrate Presidents’ Day, Pioneer Institute is pleased to share video highlights, research, and op-eds that we have produced in recent years marking the importance of key presidents in American history – and the vital importance of their inclusion in K-12 instruction. In recent years, Pioneer has actively promoted rigorous, content-based academic standards that […]

Family Caregiving & the Promise of Technology

Guest post by Ben Margolin When older Americans require around-the-clock care, yet want to remain in their homes, their families often end up as caregivers. There are significant financial barriers to ensuring that older adults adhere to their medication schedule and have access to the right doctors and specialists, all while feeling safe in their […]

Study Debunks False Claims Against Charter Public School Funding and Demographics

Charter schools in Massachusetts educating more special needs students with equal or lower attrition rates and better outcomes BOSTON – Massachusetts charter public schools do not drain resources from district schools, they outperform the school districts from which their students come, and have attrition rates that are lower than or equal to those districts, according […]

Op-ed: Voc-tech schools are a Mass. success story

Read this entire op-ed online at CommonWealth Magazine, the New Bedford Standard Times, The Berkshire Eagle, and The Salem News. Written by Tom Birmingham MASSACHUSETTS VOCATIONAL-TECHNICAL high schools are like the person who toils for years, only to be termed an “overnight sensation” when he or she finally achieves recognition. For over a decade the schools have quietly […]

Celebrating School Choice Week: Removing Know-Nothing/Blaine Barriers to School Choice

On Day 5, the final day of National School Choice Week, we’re focusing on the need to overcome the Know-Nothing/Blaine legal obstacles that prevent largely poor and minority students from accessing equal educational opportunities. In nearly 40 states (see yellow states on map), the most severe barriers to school choice are antiquated, nativist constitutional amendments […]

Celebrating School Choice Week: Vocational-Technical Education

On Day 4 of National School Choice Week, we’re shining the spotlight on career-vocational technical education in Massachusetts, which is delivering on the promise of preparing students for both college and career success. Along with charter public schools, no other category of schools in Massachusetts has delivered results as impressive as those at voc-techs. Over […]

Celebrating School Choice Week: Digital Learning

On Day 3 of National School Choice Week, we explore opportunities to personalize educational options through Digital Learning. Pioneer believes that effective and accountable digital learning opportunities can benefit students across Massachusetts. Virtual schools challenge our traditional “one-size-fits-all” education model. They can often keep students engaged who may have physical disabilities or medical conditions, face […]

Celebrating School Choice Week: The METCO Program

On Day 2 of National School Choice Week, we take a closer look at METCO, which provides over 3,300 children in Boston and Springfield with access to high-performing suburban schools. METCO, the nation’s longest-running voluntary school desegregation program, recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. As our research has shown, test scores and graduation rates are higher […]

Celebrating School Choice Week: Charter Public Schools

Today marks the beginning of National School Choice Week, an annual celebration of the variety of high-quality academic options available to families across the U.S. Each day this week at Pioneer Institute, we’ll be highlighting charter public schools, the METCO program, digital learning, vocational-technical schools, and independent and parochial schools. We kick off the week with video […]

Study: MA Charter Public Schools Have Lower Attrition Rates Than Sending School Districts

Charters also seeing higher special needs enrollment, helping those students achieve strong outcomes BOSTON – Data from the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) show that Massachusetts charter public schools have lower attrition rates than the district schools from which their students come, according to a study published by Pioneer Institute. “These data […]

Report Calls for Independent Audit & Actuarial Valuation of T Pension Fund

Response commissioned by fund to whistleblower report dismissed or ignored red flags This report received press coverage in: The Boston Globe, The Boston Business Journal, and numerous radio and television outlets. BOSTON – The MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) should commission an independent audit and actuarial valuation of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority […]

Pioneer Celebrates the Legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today, America celebrates the legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose eloquence and courage mobilized this nation during the Civil Rights era. Over the last several years, Pioneer Institute has promoted U.S. History instruction and school choice options in K-12 schooling. We seek to ensure that schoolchildren will learn about their national heritage […]

Aging In America: Help us ensure a better future for older citizens

Pioneer Institute’s 2017 Better Government Competition  topic, “Aging in America,” is timely and critical. The older population in the United States and elsewhere is expected to increase dramatically in the coming decades as those in the post-war baby boom generation approach retirement. The population of people 65 and over will double – from 36 million […]

Study Highlights Best Practices For Establishing and Updating K-12 History Standards

Massachusetts should be cautious in updating its highly regarded history standards BOSTON – As Massachusetts sets about the task of reviewing its K-12 history and social science standards, a new study published by Pioneer Institute describes the processes that have produced exceptional state standards as well as pitfalls that the commonwealth should avoid. In “Laboratories […]

Public Statement on Nonrenewal of Keolis Commuter Rail Contract

Pioneer Institute welcomes the news that the MBTA will not renew its contract with problem-plagued commuter rail operator Keolis Commuter Services when the term ends in 2022. If the MBTA can put an effective bidding process into place for the next contract, this is a positive development for the hundred thousand-plus riders who depend on […]

Before the clock strikes midnight…

Before the clock strikes midnight tomorrow evening, we look back at twelve big wins at Pioneer Institute this past year.  Retaining control over Massachusetts’ robust public school assessments Finding solutions to ensure the safety of vulnerable children in the custody of the Department of Children and Families The establishment of an emergency control board to […]

Happy Holidays!

Best wishes to you and your loved ones for a healthy, happy holiday season and a prosperous new year! – Your friends at Pioneer Consider giving the gift of Pioneer Membership to friends and colleagues interested in our work: Or help young professionals expand their network through a New Leaders Membership:

Pioneer Institute Statement On The MBTA Contract With The Carmen’s Union

In February 2015, Pioneer Institute issued a statement citing the numerous problems that faced the MBTA and its riders. The release noted that the MBTA board, as then structured, had failed the public, resulting in a highly mismanaged system of mass transit in metropolitan Boston. Pioneer recommended that the current board structure be dissolved and replaced […]

Op-ed: Challenge and Opportunity for Catholic Education

Given our desire to do as much as we can, especially to help poor urban kids participate fully in the American Dream, we need to provide them with access to school choice options: charter schools; vocational-technical schools; private and parochial schools; and METCO. Choice is what the privileged have for their children. Why shouldn’t everyone have access to high quality academic options?

Study Calls For Steps Toward Terminating Troubled MBTA Retirement Fund

The MBTA should assess the feasibility of moving its employees out of the Social Security system and transfer investment management responsibility for its pension fund to the commonwealth’s Pension Reserves Investment Management board as initial steps toward terminating the MBTA Retirement Fund

Study Urges New MBTA Strategic Plan to Focus on Attracting More Riders

Increased ridership would boost revenue, reduce congestion and bring environmental benefits BOSTON – Measurable targets for increasing ridership would be an effective organizing principle as the MBTA develops its strategic plan, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute. “Increasing ridership aligns well with many of the MBTA’s subsidiary goals,” said Pioneer Institute Research […]

“Aging In America” Is Topic For Pioneer Institute’s 26th Better Government Competition

BOSTON – “Aging in America” is the topic of Pioneer Institute’s 26th Better Government Competition (BGC). For 2017, Pioneer seeks ideas on how to ensure a better future for aging citizens in Massachusetts and throughout the country by providing more effective and sustainable support systems for older citizens and leveraging their social capital. The Better Government […]