Entries by Jim Stergios

Arne Duncan, fiction writer

News flash for Washington watchers!  Now we know what Arne Duncan will do once his service as US Education Secretary comes to an end.  In the Boston Globe on Monday, he demonstrated a flair for fiction, with a panegyric to Gov. Patrick’s stewardship of education policy.  My reaction is posted here and at the Globe’s Podium section: […]

Thoughts on what everyone hates talking about (testing)

No one wants to talk about testing except the people that want to get rid of it.  Which leaves the field of debate on a critical aspect of education reform in pretty partial hands. Above all other states, Massachusetts should understand the important role of standardized testing. Former Senate President Tom Birmingham, chief architect of the state’s landmark 1993 Education […]

BPS’ all-in adoption of PARCC is bad for kids, and is illegal

A front page article by Jamie Vaznis in the Boston Globe today carries the news that all lower-grade Boston district schools will drop the MCAS and adopt the new Common Core-aligned PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career) test. Most Boston public schools would drop the MCAS next spring in favor of […]

WGBH: METCO Matters As Never Before

Six decades ago, the Supreme Court’s unanimous Brown v. Board of Education decision sought to ensure that all children had access to good educational institutions. With the civil rights movement’s continued emphasis on education as central to economic freedom, 48 years ago the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO) desegregation program was established to serve […]

The Globe on Common Core and Poetry

It is not stereotyping poets to say that they burn with a particular passion.  Just as a biochemist has insatiable curiosity about living organisms, the ways in which genetic information gets stamped into DNA, nucleic acids and lipids, poets have a burning passion for creating worlds, images and associative metaphors and paradoxes with words.  They […]

South Coast Rail not the way to go

RESIDENTS OF MASSACHUSETTS’ South Coast believe their region hasn’t received the state investment it deserves. They’re right. The Big Dig vacuumed money away from transportation projects across Massachusetts. More recently, the South Coast has not been a major focus of recent bridge repair projects. And, today, efforts are underway to plan new mega-projects like expanding the […]

Detroit Breakdown

The New York Times today is reporting that Detroit is eligible to shed billions in debt in the largest public bankruptcy ever in the United States, a federal judge ruled Tuesday, while also finding that the public pensions could be reduced during reorganization despite a provision in Michigan’s Constitution. and that Under the ruling, the […]

Who you calling dumb?

Calling your opponents “stupid” is the refuge of those who can’t be bothered to consider their arguments.  That is precisely what Bill Keller does in his New York Times piece on Common Core. There are certainly some who, as Keller writes, disapprove of anything President Obama supports.  As Keller notes there is indeed a “if-that-Kenyan-socialist-in-the-White-House-is-for-it-I’m-against-it […]

Brief take on the tax holiday

(from the Providence Journal) Tax holidays are fine.  I like feel-good events as much as the next guy.  But the fact is that they have little long-term impact on investment, business growth and job creation.  No business owner I know will hire anything more than temporary help for that one Sales Tax Holiday. Comparing the […]

Public statement on the resignation of Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett

Dr. Tony Bennett did some good work in Indiana and more recently in Florida to advance key K-12 education reforms. Some of these reforms were very important, including expanding parental choice options. Pioneer Institute believes that public accountability for school performance is an integral part of state K-12 education reform efforts. Without strong accountability, it […]

Ed Glaeser’s Straw Man on Common Core (by Jim Stergios)

In today’s Globe, Ed Glaeser, an economist by trade and a member of the Gates Foundation advisory board for domestic programs, shares his thoughts on education standards – a topic on which we generally refer to experts. Think national education experts like Sandra Stotsky, James Milgram, Ze’ev Wurman, Mark Bauerlein, and folks who have worked […]

Mass. charter schools: No sector like it in the US

In 1992, Pioneer published a book that had the kind of squishy title and wishy-washy message you have all come to expect from Pioneer Institute: “Reinventing the Schools: A Radical Plan for Boston.” Its core message was nested in the dozens of pages of the state’s landmark 1993 Education Reform Act, along with high-quality standards […]

Upholding the Spirit of Boston

We at Pioneer are thankful that our loved ones are safe.  That may not be great solace to our great city and to the celebration of the revolutionary spirit that we all hold dear — and that was dirtied on Marathon Monday.  This attack caused death and injury in a way that shocks us all. […]

Open the Boston taxicab “market” to competition

The Boston Globe‘s Spotlight team has done a great job uncovering the Kafka-esque maze of half-million-dollar medallions, bribes, and indentured servitude that we call the Boston taxicab “market.”  Oddly, little has been said in that paper’s pages on how to fix things, with the exception of a good letter, noting, INSTEAD OF tinkering with the medallion system […]