Entries by Editorial Staff

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, […]

Study: Evidence Suggests MBTA Pension Low-Balled Costs And Liabilities

Quarter-century of data shows costs at up to six times valuation assumptions, suggests MBTARF financial picture was made to appear artificially rosy BOSTON – Data from valuation reports and other financial documents suggest that suspect actuarial practices may have helped misstate the real costs of MBTA Retirement Fund (MBTARF) pensions, compounding to an estimated $200 […]

Teaching The First World War In Schools Is Topic For Pioneer History Forum

Event to feature Pulitzer Prize winner, celebrated Pres. Wilson biographer, noted historians, and high school teachers BOSTON – A Pulitzer Prize winner and a finalist will each deliver keynote addresses at “The War to End All Wars: Teaching the First World War in Schools,” a Pioneer Institute forum to be held as part of the […]

Finance Committee & Town Meeting Members: Benchmarking Tools for the FY2018 Budget Season

Understanding how your community performs relative to its peers is critical in effectively scrutinizing municipal budgets. Pioneer Institute has reintroduced its FREE online tool, MassAnalysis, with the most up-to-date information available from the Department of Revenue and FBI to help you do just that. With a couple of clicks, you can develop a dashboard for your community […]

“The War to End All Wars”: Teaching the First World War in Schools

Please join Pioneer Institute, the United States World War One Centennial Commission, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the Northeast Regional Conference on the Social Studies, and other co-sponsors, at a forum with award-winning historians and history teachers marking the 100th anniversary of U.S. entry into the First World War. America’s first engagement as a major global actor, […]

Putting The T On A Clear Path To High Performance

Pioneer Institute recently submitted public testimony to the Fiscal and Management Control Board weighing in on the MBTA’s draft Strategic Plan. The Institute commends the Board for its work to date and recognizes that there is still much more work to be done to set the MBTA on a sustainable course to accomplish its mission and attain […]

Study Finds MBTA Had Nation’s Highest Bus Maintenance Costs In 2015

Reducing costs to average of the most similar U.S. transit systems would have saved nearly $44 million For inquiries contact Micaela Dawson at mdawson@pioneerinstitute.org. View coverage of this report in the Boston Herald and on Fox 25. BOSTON – The most recent data available from the National Transit Database show that the MBTA had the […]

2017 Hewitt Healthcare Lecture: “Evolving Healthcare Delivery Models”

Paul F. Levy, former President & CEO, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, will moderate a panel discussion on the changing face of the healthcare market and innovations to meet consumer demand. Additional speakers: Fay Donohue, Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellow at Harvard University Dr. Rushika Fernandopulle, CEO of Iora Health Rob Graybill, Vice President of Product […]

Press Release: Pulitzer Prize Winner, Shuttlesworth Widow, & Biographer Among Participants In Forum On Civil Rights, School Choice

Update: Watch the full video clip of this event: BOSTON – The author of a Pulitzer Prize-winning history of the Civil Rights Movement, the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth’s widow, and his biographer will be among the speakers at “A Fire You Can’t Put Out: Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, Civil Rights, and School Choices,” a Pioneer Institute forum […]

Pioneer Urges Gov. Baker to Take Bolder Action on Public Records Reform

Governor’s Office in Massachusetts is one of only a handful to claim full blanket exemption from public records laws Pioneer Institute has sent a letter to Governor Charlie Baker’s office asking that he extend his administration’s public records reform initiative to the Governor’s Office through formal means such as an executive order or a gubernatorial […]

With Federal Health Law Facing Repeal, New Book Offers Alternative

U-Turn: America’s Return to State Healthcare Solutions (114 pp, Pioneer Institute, Boston, $9.95) BOSTON — With Congress and the Trump administration debating the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a new book proposes that states take the lead in healthcare reform and Washington facilitate the transition rather than dictate every move. “The federal ACA was designed in […]

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 […]