Entries by Jim Stergios

Op-ed: T privatization survives key union challenge

THE MBTA’S BUDGET SHORTFALL, once pegged at $335 million for the current fiscal year, is now down to $30 million.  That’s good news for riders, taxpayers, employers, and legislators—really everyone except the T’s unions.  Much of the savings is the result of a three-year exemption from the Commonwealth’s anti-privatization law that the authority was granted […]

Op-ed: Getting to yes on MassHealth

State leaders need to work together to tackle Medicaid challenge MASSACHUSETTS HAS A unique culture when it comes to health care.  Over the last quarter century, we have seen the business, provider, payer, consumer, and academic sectors come together to advance reforms aimed at expanding coverage and containing the cost of care. Whether it was repeal […]

Op-ed: State should expand METCO

By Cheryl Brown Henderson and Jim Stergios The Boston Globe | MARCH 08, 2017 THE 50TH anniversary of the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (Metco), which allows about 3,300 Boston and Springfield students to attend school in surrounding districts, provides a good opportunity to take stock of the program and, in doing so, compare it […]

Op-ed: Will DeVos avoid the Beltway education trap?

By Jim Stergios and Charles Chieppo Read this op-ed online at USA Today. Education nominee could improve on past secretaries by backing state and local innovation. Every administration since President George H.W. Bush’s has pinned its hopes of transforming American K-12 education on several thousand bureaucrats in the Lyndon B. Johnson Building in Washington, D.C. and the Beltway lobbyists perched […]

Remembering Fred Thorne

Fred Thorne, a longtime Pioneer Board Director and major contributor to the Institute, died this weekend.  Fred was someone that Pioneer’s founder, Pete Peters, thought the world of — and for good reason. He was a man of deep intelligence, thoughtful judgment, class, and kindness. Roger Perry and I had a chance to sit with […]

Op-ed: Time for UMass system to implement needed fiscal reforms

As University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan considers raising tuitions yet again, his institution is at a crossroads. On the one hand, the University of Massachusetts has many achievements of which to be proud. Under the leadership of Meehan and his predecessors over a quarter century, the average grade point average of entering UMass Amherst […]

Op-ed: Why Boston and Mass. need more walk-in clinics

Published in The Boston Globe, JUNE 01, 2016 AFTER NEARLY a decade of opposition, Boston may be on the verge of getting its first for-profit walk-in clinic. Although it’s not yet official, it appears the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals has approved an urgent-care center application in West Roxbury. Almost 3,000 “convenience” clinics in 41 states […]

Column: For the T, riders should come first

Excerpt from Jim Stergios’ column in The Boston Globe.  REVIEWS OF GOVERNOR Baker’s first year in office, capped off by General Electric’s decision to move its corporate headquarters to Boston, have been largely positive. A more important marker to evaluate his long-term performance began six months ago, when the Legislature passed significant MBTA reform. Read more […]

Rather than Cut The Ride’s Services, Change the Service Delivery Model

On December 14th, the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) met to discuss how to rein in the agency’s spending and debated making changes to its paratransit system, The Ride. The FMCB faces a daunting task.  The MBTA is plagued with financial woes, including $5.5 billion in outstanding debt and $7 billion in deferred […]

West Virginia, Massachusetts and why the End Common Core ballot is going forward

When it comes to the “confidence game” that has been played around the country to advance Common Core standards, there are few places where connivance was more on display than in West Virginia.  As noted in a post in March of 2012, you had there “noted national standards boosters” including “former Governor Bob Wise, now […]

What is the Lawn on D Costing Us?

Jon Chesto’s report in the Globe on Monday noted that the Lawn on D, an almost three-acre parcel immediately behind the South Boston Convention Center, is currently costing about $2.7 million to operate and generating about $424,000 in revenues, sponsorships, etc.  Both the operating costs and the revenues are up in 2015, from $2.1 million […]

Op-Ed: Making ‘The Ride’ more cost-effective could help MBTA’s finances

Unseasonably warm November days have given way to increasing chill. Long-winded prescriptions for how to fix the MBTA will now give way to the immediacy of winter’s demands — and there are reasons to worry. Longer term, there’s also cause for optimism. One side of the ledger — recent delays, breakdowns and fires during a […]

Op-ed: Big money pushes PARCC and Common Core

Each year, much is written and said about K-12 education when students head back to school. That will be especially true this fall, as the education policy community eagerly awaits a decision by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education about whether to keep the MCAS tests, or switch to assessments developed by the national Partnership […]

The Boston Globe: Create work with on-the-job training

The value of work cannot be overstated. If you love what you’re doing — great. If you don’t, studies demonstrate that even mundane jobs carry broad psychic and material benefits. Work begets self-reliance and dignity. It provides resources to live, engage with society, and establish an identity. It stabilizes families. It makes social and economic […]

COMMENTARY: More is needed to fix the MBTA

Read this op-ed in The Patriot Ledger, the Brockton Enterprise, the Fall River Herald News, the Taunton Gazette, the Salem News, the Gloucester Times, and The MetroWest Daily News. The budget lawmakers sent to Gov. Charlie Baker includes important new powers to reform the beleaguered MBTA, but ensuring an effective transit system will require additional […]

Way off track

A couple of weeks ago, Ari Ofsevit wrote a pretty scathing blog claiming that Pioneer is really, really bad at math.  We take math and transparency seriously here at Pioneer, so after sharing my reply with Ari last week, I wanted to post it publicly. Ofsevit’s piece is remarkable, not for the quality and length […]

The Single Biggest Obstacle to Reform at the MBTA

post by Gregory W. Sullivan & Matthew Blackbourn In an article published in the Globe last week, the MBTA Carmen’s union threatened to block MBTA federal transit funding if the legislature enacts the governor’s proposal to give the proposed fiscal and management control board final say on collective bargaining agreements. We hope that the legislature sees […]

The Convention Center Expansion was a House of Cards

In a piece by Jack Encarnacao in the Boston Herald, Richard Rogers, executive secretary-treasurer of the Greater Boston Labor Council claimed that opponents of the South Boston Convention Center expansion were “ideological.”  He called out Pioneer for putting ideology “ahead of the best interests of our regional and state economy.” As I noted in the piece, Mr. Rogers […]

How to measure the MBTA’s operational efficiency

Pioneer has long been interested in the efficiency of the MBTA relative to other systems around the country.  As noted in a blog response to an organization critical of our work, we are not interested in ideological playtime with numbers. The organization, called the Frontier Group, which is allied with advocates of continued MBTA expansion, […]

Getting our priorities straight on the BCEC and the MBTA

Scot Lehigh and Shirley Leung in the Globe today both focused attention on the idea of, as Lehigh put it, “tak[ing] the $1 billion in bonding bandwidth it last year dedicated to expanding the Boston Convention Center & Exhibition Center and instead apply[ing] it to helping improve the MBTA.” The background here is that at […]