Entries by Editorial Staff

New Study Urges State to Slow Down, Rethink Proposal to Protect Students from College Closings

Board of Higher Education proposal risks “false positives” that could doom colleges, creates potential conflict, and ignores ongoing federal process Read coverage of this report in the Chronicle of Higher Education. BOSTON – The Baker administration and the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education (BHE) should slow down a fast-tracked proposal to protect students from sudden, unexpected […]

ICYMI: U.S. HHS Secretary Alex Azar’s Remarks on Healthcare Price Transparency, Opioid Crisis, HIV Epidemic & More

This past Monday, Pioneer held the 13th annual Hewitt Healthcare Lecture to honor our longtime chairman (and chairman of Beth Israel Deaconess) Colby Hewitt, Jr. The crowd of 250 enjoyed a substantive and fun night — the two can go together! — at Harvard Medical School’s Joseph B. Martin Conference Center.  The 2019 Hewitt Keynote Speaker, U.S. Health […]

U.S. HHS Secretary Alex Azar to Be Featured Speaker at Pioneer Institute’s 2019 Hewitt Healthcare Lecture

BOSTON – Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Alex M. Azar II will be the featured speaker at Pioneer Institute’s 2019 Hewitt Healthcare Lecture tonight (Monday, April 8th) on “the Future of Healthcare in America.” Secretary Azar will share his vision for value-based care transformation and how it will impact healthcare […]

Prepare for Town Budget Season with MassWatch

Online tools to understand your community’s financial condition &  so much more! Town budget season is upon us. Pioneer Institute’s MassAnalysis makes it easy to be well-prepared with the right questions to ask! MassAnalysis is one of Pioneer’s suite of online databases, known as MassWatch, that provide the tools you need to better understand your state […]

Some Public, Private MA Universities Adapting to Rise of Tech in Finance Industry, but Students Still Insufficiently Prepared

New report recommends establishing additional coursework, certification and degree-program tracks addressing fintech Media inquiries: contact Micaela Dawson at 617-723-2277 ext. 203 or mdawson@pioneerinstitute.org BOSTON – A new report by Pioneer Institute shows that while the finance and insurance industries are changing rapidly, course requirements and skill-building opportunities at Massachusetts higher education institutions are still evolving […]

State DPH Continues to Deny Private School Students Millions in School Nurse Services

State should establish a fund to provide partial support for health services for private and parochial schools     Media inquiries: Contact Jamie Gass, 617-723-2277 ext. 210 or jgass@pioneerinstitute.org BOSTON – Private and parochial school students in Massachusetts have been denied well over $10 million in school nursing services to which they are entitled under state law, […]

Public Statement: A Responsible Reply to the Fall River Superintendent’s Comments

In a recent opinion piece, Charlie Chieppo, a Pioneer Senior Fellow, and Jamie Gass, the director of PioneerEducation, argued that Massachusetts state government should consider requiring that it be able to appoint school committee members in underperforming districts in a number proportional to the percentage of state funding contributed to a district’s school budget. The […]

Pioneer Institute Celebrates Sunshine Week 2019

Sunshine Week is dedicated to bringing greater awareness to the importance of government transparency and to highlighting areas where improvement is needed. After all, a healthy democracy is unsustainable unless people are fully informed and can meaningfully engage in the democratic process. To celebrate Sunshine Week, each year Pioneer reviews some of its recent work […]

Study Finds Massachusetts Lagging on Transparency of Public Official Statements of Financial Interest

A few simple changes would update system, improve transparency Read coverage of this report in State House News Service. BOSTON – Despite some recent progress, a new policy brief published by Pioneer Institute finds there is more to do if the Commonwealth is to make the Statements of Financial Interest (SFIs) that public officials file annually […]

New Study Finds Multiple Problems with Push for Social-Emotional Learning in K-12 Education

Little research evidence for, or objective, reliable way to measure SEL’s efficacy; raises significant concerns about student health and privacy BOSTON – Social-emotional learning (SEL) has been billed as a transformational tool that will propel students to greater academic achievement and personal fulfillment.  Unfortunately, as a new Pioneer Institute study makes clear, the research evidence […]

Teacher Unions Support Progressive Taxation, but Maintain Flat-Rate Membership Dues Structure

Study shows lowest-paid teachers can pay up to 140 percent more of their salary than highest-paid teachers in membership dues BOSTON – A new study published by Pioneer Institute finds that despite backing progressive taxation initiatives, Massachusetts teacher unions use regressive methods to collect revenue from their own members. “The Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA) was […]

Whistleblowers Were Proven Right: MBTARF Was Underreporting Its Unfunded Pension Liabilities

In a new brief, Pioneer shows that whistleblowers’ 2015 claim that the MBTA Retirement Fund (MBTARF) had been underreporting its unfunded pension liabilities has proven to have been accurate. In their study, Boston University Professor Mark T. Williams and Bernie Madoff whistleblower Harry Markopo­los outlined three specific ways in which the T pension fund was underreporting […]

Pioneer Institute Public Statement on the MBTA’s Proposal to Increase Fares by 6.3 Percent

While Pioneer Institute opposed the 2016 MBTA fare increases, the Institute believes that the T has earned an increase in fares of 6.3 percent, provided it is committed to introduce differential pricing, address chronic fare non-collection, fix the T’s faltering pension system, and focus investments on key service upgrades.  These commitments would modernize fare-setting and […]

Study Finds Patient Cost for MRI Largely Unrelated to Overall Price or Insurer Contribution at 14 MA Hospitals

Read coverage of this report in WCVB-TV, Boston Herald, the Boston Business Journal, the Worcester Telegram and Gazette, and FierceHealthcare. Authors recommend greater transparency and financial incentives for patients to choose lower-cost, high-value providers BOSTON – There is little correlation between a patient’s out-of-pocket cost and either the amount insurers pay or the overall price of […]

Majority of Dues Paid by Mass. Public Higher Education Faculty Goes to State, National Union Affiliates

At state colleges and universities, portion that stays on campus as low as 1 percent BOSTON – Only a small share of annual union dues paid by faculty at the University of Massachusetts, state colleges and universities and community college campuses that make dues data publicly available remain with local union affiliates to cover the […]

Study Says State Unfunded Pension Liability Rising Despite Recent Reforms, Overall Strong Economy

More responsible assumptions about pension fund investment performance partially responsible for increase BOSTON – Despite several reform bills targeted at the Commonwealth’s public pension system in recent years, the unfunded actuarial accrued liability (UAAL) has continued to rise and is drawing closer to a crisis level, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute. “The […]

Study: After Janus, Public Employees Should Only Pay Union Dues, Fees After Knowing, Intelligent Waiver

Public Employers Should Immediately Stop Collecting Agency Fees from Non-Union Members Unless Employees Effectuate Valid Waiver of First Amendment Rights BOSTON – In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 Janus decision, public employers should inform all employees of their right not to pay union dues or agency fees, and such dues and fees […]

Study: Financial Impact of Charter Schools Depends on Percentage of Funding Districts Receive from State

“Foundation” districts unaffected, but charter tuition may cause strain for fast-growing “above-foundation” school districts Contact Jamie Gass, 617-723-2277 ext. 210 or jgass@pioneerinstitute.org BOSTON – At a time when the funding of charter schools is widely debated, a new Pioneer Institute study finds that foundation districts are largely unaffected by students who choose to transfer to charter […]

Our Government Transparency Resolutions for 2019

Government transparency has already suffered two major blows in 2019. First, a special legislative commission charged with making recommendations on the legislature’s and governor’s exemptions from public records law failed to reach consensus on a long-awaited report on improvements.> Second, Mr. Transparency himself, State Comptroller Tom Shack, the driver behind CTHRU, the state’s highly acclaimed spending […]

Study Urges Caution Before Adopting ICER Reviews to Determine Cost Effectiveness of Treatments

Review methodology could negatively impact elderly, the disabled, cancer patients and those with rare diseases Media inquiries: Contact Micaela Dawson, 617-723-2277 ext. 203 or mdawson@pioneerinstitute.org BOSTON – As states continue to grapple with prescription drug costs, a new Pioneer Institute study lays out the key ethical, methodological and disease-specific questions policy makers should address before deciding […]

Public Statement on Alma del Mar Charter School Expansion

Last night, Jeffrey Riley, the Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) made a recommendation concerning Alma del Mar Charter School’s application to serve 1,188 more students in New Bedford. Commissioner Riley is recommending that Alma be expanded to serve 450 more students, that the school accept students from a neighborhood rather than through […]

Study: After-School Programs Can Help Improve Flat or Declining Math Achievement

Philanthropic, other organizations should consider providing financial assistance to allow programs to expand into lower-income communities BOSTON – At a time of declining state and national math proficiency, after-school math programs offer a viable option for quickly increasing the number of mathematically competent students, according to a new Pioneer Institute study that profiles two such programs: […]

Press Release: Pioneer Institute Filed Amicus Brief in Case Applying Supreme Court’s Janus Ruling to MA

BOSTON – On January 8th, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court will hear oral arguments in the case of Ben Branch v. Commonwealth Employment Relations Board, in which the SJC will decide how the United States Supreme Court’s June 2018 decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) will affect Massachusetts law. Pioneer Institute, through its […]

Announcing Pioneer Institute’s 2019 Better Government Competition: “Moving People & Goods Forward”

America is a country on the move. Our economy and quality of life depend on the effectiveness of our transportation systems. State, local, and federal governments invest hundreds of billions of dollars each year in transportation infrastructure, yet we continue to waste hours in traffic, arrive late for work and medical appointments, and miss out […]

Happy New Year, from Pioneer Institute!

As we ring in 2019, we at Pioneer Institute thank all of you, especially our supporters, for the privilege of hosting public forums with experts and engaging speakers; publishing evidence-based research on the most important public policy issues of the day; and making progress toward better schools, more efficient and accountable government, more affordable healthcare, […]

A Win for Commuters

We are thrilled that the MBTA is moving forward to expand its corporate pass program (CPP) as recommended by Pioneer Institute in January. Pioneer believes the program has great potential to increase both ridership and revenue. The MBTA’s corporate pass program allows employees to purchase T passes through their employers with pre-tax dollars, which in turn reduces employee […]

Moving the MBTA Forward

We are pleased that former Pioneer Institute Research Director Steve Poftak has been named the next General Manager of the MBTA. While at Pioneer, Steve oversaw and directly authored a high-quality portfolio of research that spanned from transportation and infrastructure to pension and other state and local post-employment liabilities. Pioneer has long been committed to advancing […]

Leading Public Intellectual Steven Pinker to Headline 2018 Lovett C. Peters Lecture in Public Policy

Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard, Bestselling Author to Be Honored at Pioneer Gala & 30th Anniversary Celebration Contact Micaela Dawson, 617-723-2277 ext. 203 or mdawson@pioneerinstitute.org BOSTON – Tonight, Dr. Steven Pinker, Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, will provide the keynote remarks at Pioneer Institute’s 2018 Lovett C. Peters Lecture in […]