Entries by Jamie Gass

A Whale Of An Education Battle Rocks New Bedford

“[A] whale-ship was my Yale College and my Harvard,” reads Herman Melville’s classic novel Moby-Dick, which was famously inspired by New Bedford’s whaling industry. In an acrimonious plot straight from Melville, New Bedford’s mayor is fighting the expansion of a high-performing K-8 charter public school named Alma del Mar (“Soul of the Sea”), located in the […]

Remember Poland’s Working-Class Revolt Against Communism

This op-ed appeared in The Springfield Republican, The Standard-Times of New Bedford, The Providence Journal, and The Federalist. “The fall of the Berlin Wall makes for nice pictures,” said Poland’s Lech Walesa, the charismatic Gdansk electrician who co-founded Solidarnosc (Solidarity), the first independent trade union behind the Iron Curtain. “But it all started in the shipyards.” […]

Reading great literature like ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ helps students become great readers

This op-ed appeared in The Daily Caller, The Berkshire Eagle, CommonWealth magazine, and The Lowell Sun. “Live, then, and be happy, beloved children of my heart, and never forget,” reads “The Count of Monte Cristo” by French novelist Alexandre Dumas, “that all human wisdom is contained in these two words — `Wait and hope.’” Tuesday […]

Op-ed: Time is right to study Jefferson in our schools

By Jamie Gass and Will Fitzhugh “Students of reading, writing, and common arithmetick . . . Graecian, Roman, English, and American history . . .,” Thomas Jefferson advised about democratic education, “should be able to guard the sacred deposit of the rights and liberties of their fellow citizens.” Friday marks the 275th anniversary of Jefferson’s […]

Op-ed: A Frankenstein’s monster attacks school literature

This op-ed appeared in The Springfield Republican, The Berkshire Eagle and The Daily Caller. BOSTON — “[N]othing contributes so much to tranquilize the mind as a steady purpose,” wrote Mary Shelley, author of the classic horror story ‘Frankenstein’. “[A] point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye.” The novel’s 200th anniversary this year is a fitting […]

Op-ed: Copernicus Inspires Us To Seek Out A Challenging Education

This op-ed appeared in The Daily Caller. By Jamie Gass and Ze’ev Wurman “The massive bulk of the earth does indeed shrink to insignificance,” pronounced Renaissance astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, “in comparison with the size of the heavens.” February 19th is the 545th anniversary of Copernicus’s birth. His 1543 book, On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres, reversed humanity’s millennia-old […]

Op-ed: Education establishment ruining reform

This op-ed appeared in the Boston Herald on Wednesday, November 29, 2017.  The history of education reform in Massachusetts over the past quarter century could be a case study in playing the long game. A 1993 law provided a massive increase in state funding in return for high standards, accountability and more choice. Teachers unions, […]

Op-ed: Students should know the name Fannie Lou Hamer

This op-ed has appeared in WGBH News and The Berkshire Eagle. October 6 would be the 100th birthday of Fannie Lou Hamer, the black civil rights activist and vice-chair of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP). She made history during Freedom Summer 1964, storming the Magnolia State’s all-white delegation at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Atlantic City. “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired,” Hamer would later famously […]

Op-ed: Let’s return to educational liberty

Read this op-ed in The New Bedford Standard Times, The Lowell Sun, The Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise, The Springfield Republican, The MetroWest Daily News, The Providence Journal, The Salem News. The Scituate Mariner, and the NH Union Leader. “[T]he Government of the United States … gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance,” President George Washington wrote […]

Op-ed: Jules Verne brings children summer adventures

Read this op-ed in the Salem News, The Lowell Sun, The Patriot Ledger, Brockton Enterprise, The Fitchburg Sentinel and Enterprise, The New Bedford Standard Times, The Springfield Republican, The Berkshire Eagle, and The Federalist.  “[M]y task is to paint the whole earth, the entire world, in novel form, by imagining adventures…” wrote the renowned, late-19th-century French novelist, […]

Op-ed: The Great Statesman Cicero Presides Over The Ides Of March Forever

“How I could wish that you had invited me to that most glorious banquet on the Ides of March!” the heroic Roman statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero wrote to one of the Roman senators who stabbed perpetual dictator Julius Caesar to death more than two millennia ago. The Ides of March on March 15, 44 B.C., is among the […]

Op-ed: Slaving history must not be forgotten

Read this op-ed in The New Bedford Standard Times, The Lowell Sun, The Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise, The Springfield Republican, The Berkshire Eagle, The MetroWest Daily News, and The Federalist. “In thinking of America, I sometimes find myself admiring her bright blue sky … and star-crowned mountains,” wrote African-American statesman and former slave Frederick Douglass. “But […]

Op-ed: Gulliver’s Travels and Common Core

This op-ed appeared in The Daily Caller and The New Bedford Standard-Times on October 27, 2016. by Jamie Gass “It is universally read, from the cabinet council to the nursery,” British dramatist John Gay wrote about Jonathan Swift’s 1726 satirical masterpiece, Gulliver’s Travels. October marks the 290th anniversary of Lemuel Gulliver’s towering stride onto the world’s literary […]

Guest Opinion: Don’t let Challenger disaster, space race become lost

(Note: This op-ed originally appeared on the anniversary of the Challenger disaster, in the news outlets linked at the bottom of this post. Post originally posted on Jan. 28, 2015.) BOSTON — Today marks the anniversary of the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger tragedy. “We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, […]

Gass: On Veterans Day, Learning from ‘Black Jack’ Pershing

This op-ed has appeared in The MetroWest Daily News, The Taunton Daily Gazette, The New Bedford Standard Times, the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise, the Springfield Republican, and The Lowell Sun. Read an excerpt below. “There’s no ‘glory’ in killing. There’s no ‘glory’ in maiming men,” said American six-star General John “Black Jack” Pershing, upon his 1924 […]

Massachusetts Charter Schools: “A Fire You Can’t Put Out”

This past week, at the urging of state K-12 education commissioner Mitch Chester, Deval Patrick’s Massachusetts Board of Education took a vote against Massachusetts’ nation-leading and achievement gap-closing charter schools. The vote reminds us once again how intellectually warped so much of K-12 education policymaking remains. The biggest victims of this BOE vote are the […]

To Be a National Curriculum, or Not to Be a National Curriculum: More Fordham-Finn Flip Flopping

Who says that Common Core ELA cuts classic literature, poetry, and drama? Our good friends at the Fordham Institute (see Checker & Co. as Gates Foundation vendor) must wake up early to start writing their dramatic “exemplar” texts and examples for America’s kids and policymakers. But here’s a dramatic exemplar of Common Core’s Surrealist art imitating life: […]

Common Core Math’s House of Hay

More than once, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has described himself as a frustrated architect. But nothing highlights our governor’s questionable architectural chops like his unwise decision to dismantle the nationally-recognized K-12 academic standards that were central to Massachusetts’ landmark 1993 Massachusetts Education Reform Act and replace them with weaker national English and math standards known […]

Fordham’s Petrilli Rodeo Clowning for ObamaCore, Gates $$, & the Great Society

Commentary magazine did a great blog about how Common Core is really ObamaCore and how right-leaners and left-leaners alike across the country are now in open rebellion over the growing federal takeover of K-12 education standards, testing, and curriculum. See below: Wherever you stand on the Common Core, an attempt to provide a set of […]

Worcester Telegram & Gazette: Missing out on timeless literature

Guest View: Southern literature never ceases to inspire This op-ed originally appeared in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette and The New Bedford Standard Times. By Jamie Gass Jamie Gass directs the Center for School Reform at Pioneer Institute, a Boston-based think tank. August 09, 2013 12:00 AM “He is immortal, not because he alone among […]

New Bedford Standard Times: Otis’ fiery speech a clarion call to teachers

This op-ed originally appeared in The Lowell Sun, Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise, and the New Bedford Standard Times. By Jamie Gass Jamie Gass directs the Center for School Reform at Pioneer Institute, a Boston-based think tank. July 04, 2013 7:20 AM After witnessing the speech “Against the Writs of Assistance,” Massachusetts […]

Memorial Day: Honoring Our Fallen Soldiers and Cherishing Our Freedom

For many, Memorial Day is regarded as the official kick-off of summer – in Massachusetts, the start of the season of backyard barbecues, beaches, and boating. But in communities all across America – small towns and large – we’ll also see lively parades with marching bands, and breathtaking images of veterans’ memorials and cemeteries adorned […]

Anti-Common Core News Round-up (May 3): Daily Caller, Heritage, AFT, Ed Week, Wash Times, IN, MO, NY, WI, ID, TN, AZ

As opposition to Common Core national  education standards picks up steam across the country, with more grassroots activism and movement among state and national political leaders, we’ll do our best to bring you the latest news on this front. See today’s round-up below: DAILY CALLER: Common Core a common enemy for some conservatives, liberals HERITAGE: […]