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!

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Read our COVID-related content below:

Pulitzer Winner Taylor Branch on MLK, Civil Rights History, & Race in America

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This week on “The Learning Curve," Cara and Gerard are joined by Taylor Branch, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of a landmark trilogy on the Civil Rights era, America in the King Years. They discuss the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, whose birthday the nation observed on Monday. They review Dr. King’s powerful, moving oratory, drawing on spiritual and civic ideals to promote nonviolent protest against racial injustice, and how, as head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, he shared leadership of the movement with organizations such as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

California Tax Experiment: Policy Makers Receive Valuable Economics Lesson

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Host Joe Selvaggi talks with Stanford University Economics Professor Joshua Rauh about his research on the reaction of Californians to a tax increase, from his report, “The Behavioral Response to State Income Taxation of High Earners, Evidence from California.” Prof. Rauh shares how his research offers tax policy makers insight into the likely effects of similar increases in their own states, including here in Massachusetts.

New Study Finds Tax Policy Drives Connecticut’s Ongoing Fiscal & Economic Crisis

Multiple rounds of tax increases aimed at high earners and corporations triggered an exodus from Connecticut of large employers and wealthy individuals, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.

Eva Moskowitz of Success Academy on Charter Schools, Achievement Gaps, & COVID-19 Learning Loss

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This week on “The Learning Curve," Cara and Gerard kick off the new year with Eva Moskowitz, CEO & Founder of Success Academy Charter Schools, a network of 47 schools enrolling 20,000 K-12 students in New York City. Eva shares her own education path, and how it influences her leadership and philosophy.

Unemployment Insurance Rescue: Employer Advocate Seeks Relief to Catalyze Pandemic Recovery

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Joe Selvaggi talks with John Regan, President and CEO of Associated Industries of Massachusetts, about the impact of higher UI rates on employers and what legislators can do to help mitigate the pain.

USED Asst. Sec. Jim Blew Talks Sec. DeVos, School Choice, & K-12 Politics

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Jim Blew, the assistant secretary for planning, evaluation, and policy development at the U.S. Department of Education. Assistant Secretary Blew shares lessons from leading and implementing K-12 public education reform efforts in often contentious policy environments, and the unique challenges of the current partisanship and gridlock in Washington, D.C.

Oxford & UCLA Pulitzer Winner Prof. Daniel Walker Howe on Horace Mann, Common Schools, & Educating for Democracy

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Daniel Walker Howe, Rhodes Professor of American History Emeritus at Oxford University in England and Professor of History Emeritus at UCLA. Drawing from his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848, he provides background information on Horace Mann, the first secretary of the Massachusetts State Board of Education, founder of the common school movement in public education, and a prominent abolitionist in Congress.

COVID-19 Vaccine: The End of the Epidemic is Within Reach

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Join Host Joe Selvaggi and Virologist and Investor Dr. Peter Kolchinsky as they discuss the rapid development, efficacy, and rollout of the newly approved COVID-19 vaccines.

Knowledge is Power: Sir Francis Bacon and the Scientific Method – 10 Resources for High School Students

In Pioneer’s ongoing series of blogs here, on curricular resources for parents, families, and teachers during COVID-19, this one focuses on: Celebrating the 400th Anniversary of Sir Francis Bacon and the scientific method.

Stanford’s Prof. Caroline Hoxby on Charter Schools, K-12 Ed Reform, & Global Competitiveness

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Caroline Hoxby, the Scott and Donya Bommer Professor of Economics at Stanford University and a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution.