COVID-19 Roundup from Pioneer: Why the divergent fatality rates?, Time for Telehealth, Missing the Greatest Generation, Senator profiting from COVID-19 & more!

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Pioneer staff share their top picks for COVID-19 stories highlighting useful resources, best practices, and questions we should be asking our public and private sector leaders. We hope you are staying safe, and we welcome your thoughts; you can always reach out to us via email:  pioneer@pioneerinstitute.org.

Our Top Picks for COVID-19 Pandemic News:

Jim Stergios, Executive Director: This is a really thoughtful, data-driven look at the divergent fatality rates observed around the world, with focus on two western countries (Italy and Germany) and one Asian country (South Korea). The ability of South Korea to drive up testing across all of its populations has been critical in its thus-far successful strategy to turn back the tide on the virus.

William Smith, Visiting Fellow in Life Sciences: Here is a link to the widely-used Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracking map.

Our Picks for Public & Private Sector Best Practices:

Josh Archambault, Senior Fellow in Healthcare, writes in CommonWealth magazine that Telehealth is a vital tool to serve patients and protect medical providers. Gov. Baker has taken some important steps to address current obstacles, and has a big opportunity to do more. Read more.

Barbara Anthony, Senior Fellow in Healthcare, writes in WGBH News about the generation who endured the Great Depression and World War II:

“Although we are deprived of their personal experience and guidance, we can still learn from their courage and strength and put our own complaints about lack of social contact in perspective.” Read more.

Barbara also shares a Boston.com news story on the City of Cambridge paying restaurants to make meals for the homeless. And she praises some municipalities, including Cambridge and Boston, for suspending the ban on plastic bags for essential businesses, and Gov. Baker for following suit with a statewide ban. On a related note, “kudos to Whole Foods at Fresh Pond for concrete steps to implement social distancing. This is the same method being used inside for checkout lines. Hopefully, all essential retailers are following suit.” See images below:

 

 

Jamie Gass, Director of Education Policy, shares with you an informative story: “The COVID-19 crisis is giving parents a taste of digital ‘unschooling’: With 55 million children now learning at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, digital homeschooling is providing an alternative form of education—one parents just might stick with once the threat recedes.” This story features a guest co-host of Pioneer’s “The Learning Curve” podcast, Kerry McDonald, author of Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom.

Shawni Littlehale, Director of the Better Government Competition, shares some information on the stimulus bill as it relates to small businesses.

Questions for Our Public & Private Sector Leaders:

Mary Connaughton, Director of Government Transparency: Why is transparency of elected officials’ financial disclosures as important now as ever? Read how financial disclosures at the federal level revealed that one US senator may have profited from the COVID-19 crisis. Yet at the state level, financial disclosure transparency of elected officials and policymakers varies widely. Pioneer Institute can show you how your state ranks here.

Do YOU have interesting articles to share with us? Please email us, or message us through our social media channels below!

Get Our COVID-19 News, Tips & Resources!

Read our COVID-related content below:

Study: Economic Recovery from COVID Will Require Short-Term Relief, Long-Term Reforms

As the initial economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed, a new study from Pioneer Institute finds that governments must continue to provide short-term relief to stabilize small businesses as they simultaneously consider longer-term reforms to hasten and bolster recovery – all while facing a need to shore up public sector revenues.

International Best-Seller Dr. Jung Chang On Wild Swans, Mao’s Tyranny, & Modern China

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Dr. Jung Chang, author of the best-selling books Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China; Mao: The Unknown Story; and Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister: Three Women at the Heart of Twentieth-Century China.

“Architecture is Frozen Music” Great Massachusetts Buildings – 25 Resources for K-12 Education

Understanding enduring public and private architecture is a key way to learn about art, ideas, and how they harmonize with our democracy. Yet, Massachusetts buildings are often never discussed in K-12 education. We’re offering a variety of links about outstanding houses and architecture across the Bay State for parents, teachers, and schoolchildren to enjoy, visit, and better appreciate, including:

COVID-19 Transparency – A Step Backwards

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Massachusetts has unfortunately taken the backwards step of ending its longstanding daily reporting of something basic and important: the virus’s cumulative impact on various age groups.

Kelly Smith, Prenda CEO, on Microschooling & the Future of K-12 Learning

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Kelly Smith, founder and CEO of Prenda, a company that helps create flexible learning environments known as microschools. Often described as the “reinvention of the one-room school house,” microschools combine homeschooling, online education, smaller class sizes, mixed age-level groupings, flipped classrooms, and personalized learning.

Lockdowns - Lawless or Laudable? Grading Gov. Baker’s COVID-19 Emergency Orders 6 Months On

Join Joe Selvaggi and Pioneer Institute’s executive director Jim Stergios for a conversation with Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby about the lawsuit against the Massachusetts Governor’s executive orders. They will explore what can be learned from the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic, and what must be considered when devising a new way forward.

“City Upon a Hill” Massachusetts Monuments & Memorials: 25 Resources for K-12 Education

In Pioneer’s ongoing series of blogs here, here, here, and here on curricular resources for parents, families, and teachers during COVID-19, this one focuses on: Introducing K-12 schoolchildren to Massachusetts monuments & memorials.

U-Ark Prof. Jay Greene & EdChoice’s Jason Bedrick on Yeshivas vs. New York & Religious Liberty

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Jay Greene, the Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas, and Jason Bedrick, the Director of Policy for EdChoice. They discuss their timely new book, Religious Liberty and Education: A Case Study of Yeshivas vs. New York, about the recent battle between Orthodox Jewish private schools and New York's state government over the content of instruction.

Drug Rebates: How Pharmacy Benefit Managers Manipulate Price & Limit Choice

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Join host Joe Selvaggi and his guest Dr. Bill Smith as they discuss the complex incentive structure between drug manufacturers, health plans, and pharmacy benefit managers. In this episode, they focus on how drug rebates work and how a system intended to optimize value may actually deliver higher costs and fewer choices. Joe and Bill also use this framework to speculate on the price of a COVID-19 vaccine, and who will likely pay for it.

Michelle Rhee, Former Chancellor, D.C. Public Schools, on Leading Urban District Reform & the COVID-19 Moment

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and guest co-host Kerry McDonald are joined by Michelle Rhee, founder and former CEO of StudentsFirst and prior to that, former chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS).