Entries by Editorial Staff

Cap, Talent Pipeline, And Facilities Funding Among Factors Prohibiting State Charter Sector From Achieving Scale

“Yes” vote on statewide ballot initiative could attract more quality charter management organizations BOSTON – Raising the cap, strengthening teacher and school leader pipelines, and revising facilities funding are among the key factors if Massachusetts is to succeed at bringing its charter school sector to scale, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute. […]

Putting Healthcare Consumers First

Last week, Massachusetts’ Health Policy Commission convened for the annual Cost Trends Hearing, a two-day event exploring the Bay State’s healthcare market through expert testimony from industry representatives and policy makers. Although the wide-ranging discussion covered many important topics, there was a distinct lack of focus on how consumers interact with and perceive our current […]

Op-ed: Vote ‘yes’ on Question 2

This excerpt is from an op-ed published on Oct. 18, 2016 in The Boston Globe, authored by Thomas Birmingham and Mark Roosevelt, co-authors of the 1993 Massachusetts Education Reform Act. “We included charter public schools in the 1993 law to provide poor parents with the type of educational choice that wealthy parents have always enjoyed. By keeping charter […]

Op-ed: Mass. charters fight racial oppression

By Sephira Shuttlesworth By 1959, my late husband, the Birmingham, Ala. civil rights leader Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, had been beaten with bike chains, brass knuckles, and baseball bats by a segregationist mob, had his church bombed twice and survived his house being bombed by the Ku Klux Klan on Christmas Day. On a Monday night […]

The Future of the MBTA

Last year the legislature created the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board with the explicit purpose of ensuring that attention would be focused on the transit system’s safety, reliability and sound fiscal management. This afternoon, the FMCB will host a forum to review work to date on a strategic plan for the MBTA. Pioneer has […]

Study: Massachusetts Charters Enrolling More English Language Learners

Charter ELLs have lower attrition rates, better academic outcomes than district counterparts BOSTON – Massachusetts charter public schools are enrolling more English language learners (ELLs) in recent years, and those students have lower attrition rates and better academic outcomes than their district counterparts, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute. As late as […]

Charter School Special-Needs Students Achieving Excellent Outcomes

Percentage Of Charter School Special-Needs Students Is Rising, Outcomes Improving 2010 law required more extensive outreach to students with special needs, provided means to enhance recruitment Read coverage of this report in the Boston Herald: Report counters argument that charters don’t serve special-needs students BOSTON – In the wake of recent public policy changes, Massachusetts charter […]

Survey Finds Prescription Drug Prices Easy To Access, But Not Always Accurate

Wide variation found in price of generics, less for brand-name drugs; consumers must navigate difficult terrain to find lowest price BOSTON – It’s far easier to get prescription drug price information than to get similar numbers from hospitals or specialty physicians, but the information is not always reliable, according to a new survey published by […]

Study Finds Common Core Incompatible With Catholic Education

Singular focus on workforce development conflicts with Catholic schools’ academic, spiritual and moral mission BOSTON – The workforce-preparation focus of the K-12 English and math standards known as Common Core puts them at odds with Catholic education, and the standards should not be adopted by parochial schools, according to a new study published by Pioneer […]

How Phoenix Academies Transform Potential High School Dropouts into College Grads

Study Explores How Phoenix Academies Transform Potential High School Dropouts into College Graduates Network combines second chances and individualized support with academic rigor BOSTON – A network of three Massachusetts public schools is using “relentless support” to help at-risk students not only graduate from high school, but also succeed in college, according to a new […]

More Mass. Charter Public Schools: Daughter of Brown v. Board of Ed Plaintiff Makes the Case

Last Monday, Pioneer hosted the event “Equal Access to Excellence: Charter and District School Reform,” which was co-sponsored by the Program on Education Policy and Governance at the Harvard Kennedy School, the Center for Education Reform, the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association, SABIS®, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, Families for Excellent Schools and […]

Op-ed: Charter and district schools need not be adversaries

By Thomas Birmingham This op-ed appeared in the New Bedford Standard Times, The Lowell Sun, The Springfield Republican, and The MetroWest Daily News. In the run-up to a November ballot initiative that would allow more charter schools to open in Massachusetts, charter and traditional public schools have been cast in an adversarial relationship. But that isn’t always […]

Education Access Event to Feature Daughter of Lead Plaintiff in Brown vs Board of Ed

As Massachusetts debates raising the charter school cap, school district reforms, and how to close achievement gaps, Pioneer Institute will host “Equal Access to Excellence: Charter and District School Reform,” at which a diverse group of nationally recognized education reform experts will discuss how to make equal access to quality education a reality for all […]

PioneerLegal Submits Amicus Brief In Pacheco-Law Case Before SJC

Pioneer Institute (Pioneer) has submitted an amicus brief supporting the defendants in SEIU, Local 509 v. Massachusetts Department of Mental Health et al. (SJC-12035). The case was argued on September 6, 2016, before the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts (SJC). It involves a claim by the SEIU challenging contracts awarded by the state Department of […]

Op-ed: Teaching American History: A Straightforward Fix For The Bay State

Read this full article on WGBH News.  THOMAS BIRMINGHAM It’s often said that what isn’t tested isn’t taught.  At the same time, recent federal laws compel far too much standardized testing.  State education leaders should reinstate passage of a U.S. history MCAS test as a high school graduation requirement, as was envisioned in the commonwealth’s […]

Join us 9/19: Equal Access to Excellence: Charter & District School Reform

As the Commonwealth debates lifting charter school caps, district reforms, and strategies for closing achievement gaps, Pioneer is hosting an event featuring Cheryl Brown Henderson, daughter of the late Rev. Oliver Brown, namesake of the landmark case, Brown v. Board of Education. A diverse panel of nationally recognized school reform experts will discuss how best to make […]

Study Highlights Best Practices In Summer Enrichment Programs

Read coverage of this report in The Recorder. Second of three-part summer enrichment series with focus on high-need students BOSTON – The second of a three-part Pioneer Institute series of studies on summer enrichment programs with a particular focus on opportunities for disadvantaged students highlights best practices in the field by profiling a range of […]

Mass. Public Officials Must Brush Aside The Know-Nothings’ Legacy Of Bigotry

Last week, Pioneer Institute Executive Director Jim Stergios sent a letter to Governor Baker and the leaders of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Senate asking them to support our call to move the portrait of Know-Nothing Governor Henry J. Gardner from its current location at the entrance to the House of Representatives. Gov. […]

Event To Call For Moving “Know-Nothing” Governor’s Portrait From State House Wall

Bigoted Know-Nothing Amendments still part of state constitution Read coverage in The Boston Globe: “School-choice advocates target portrait of 19th-century governor” BOSTON – Former Ambassador to the Vatican and three-term mayor of Boston Raymond Flynn will headline an event calling for moving symbols and repealing amendments from a disgraceful and bigoted chapter in Massachusetts history. […]

Leveling the Playing Field for the Taxi Industry

As a Massachusetts state legislative committee considers a contentious ridesharing regulation bill, a new Pioneer Institute report urges lawmakers to explore changes to the taxi industry that would modernize service and increase competition in a marketplace that includes innovators like Uber and Lyft.  A recent U.S. District Court ruling ordered the City of Boston to revise […]

Study: Expand Use of Transponder Technology to Parking, Other Non-Tolling Services

Report calls for creation of single account to simplify customer experience, boosting transponder market share, streamlining MassDOT services BOSTON – With all-electronic tolling and the elimination of Turnpike toll booths set to take effect later this year, a new Pioneer Institute white paper calls on state leaders to embrace transponder technology for a wider variety […]

Join us 8/1: “Move This Portrait: The Know-Nothings’ Governor & Barriers to School Choice”

Henry Gardner was the Know-Nothing Governor of Massachusetts who led the effort to persuade lawmakers to adopt a state constitutional amendment that blocks greater access to school choice. Today, his State House portrait hangs next to the Main Entrance to the House of Representatives. Bigoted and antiquated state legal barriers prevent Massachusetts’ K-12 students and families  from […]

PioneerLegal Joins Amicus Brief In Takings Case Before Sixth Circuit

Pioneer Institute (Pioneer) has joined in an amicus brief in Brott vs. U.S., a case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit involving a claim that the federal government took plaintiffs’ land through eminent domain without compensation in violation of the Fifth Amendment’s requirement of just compensation. Pioneer identified this case through […]

Study: Character Education in Mass. Charter Public Schools Improving Academic Results, Social Behavior

Two local case studies demonstrate benefits, but many programs also fall short. BOSTON – At a time when the priorities in K-12 education have skewed towards STEM courses and academic achievement scores, two new papers from Pioneer Institute highlight how teaching character education in schools can benefit students even beyond the classroom, but can be […]

Mobile Medication, Early Intervention, Suicide Prevention, and Opioid Addiction Programs Win 25th Annual Better Government Competition

BOSTON – Pioneer Institute’s 25th annual Better Government Competition received nearly 100 entries from agencies and organizations across the U.S. on the topic, “Improving Care for Individuals with Mental Illness.” One winner, four runners-up and four special recognition recipients will be recognized at the Institute’s Awards Gala on June 20th at the Hyatt Regency in […]

Study: BID-Plymouth Program Shows Promise in Battling Opioid Abuse

Collaborative ER-based approach improves access to detox treatment, reducing relapses and saving money. BOSTON – Preliminary results suggest that a new program that gives opioid overdose patients at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth (BID-Plymouth) multiple opportunities to access detox programs, psychological counseling, anti-abuse drugs and other services is proving effective at reducing recidivism and returning opioid users […]

Pioneer Institute Public Statement to the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board

Earlier this week, Fox 25 News reported that Michael Mulhern, the executive director of the MBTA Retirement Fund, will be triple-dipping from taxpayer-funded pensions. A few days earlier, Mulhern announced his intention to resign from the fund in August. In addition to healthcare coverage, he is already receiving a $65,000 pension from the T as […]

Study Calls for Reforming Bridgewater State Hospital, Commonwealth’s Solitary Confinement Practices

Read coverage of this report in State House New Service and The Springfield Republican. State should halt trend toward housing mentally ill in correctional facilities BOSTON – Reforming the commonwealth’s solitary confinement policies and the troubled Bridgewater State Hospital would be important steps to halt the trend in recent decades toward housing more mentally ill individuals […]