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:

COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker

Pioneer is proud to present a new vaccine tracker, the newest tool in our COVID-19 tracking project. Pioneer distilled the vaccination data down to those who are either fully vaccinated or partially vaccinated, by all the demographic categories published by the DPH. Use the new tool below to compare rates among groups, by municipality and by county. We will update the data every week.

The Washington Post’s Jay Mathews on An Optimist’s Guide to American Public Education

This week on “The Learning Curve," Gerard and Cara talk with Jay Mathews, an education columnist for The Washington Post and author of the recent book, An Optimist's Guide to American Public Education. Jay describes the three key trends in K-12 schooling that he views as cause for hope.

Grading Education in a Pandemic: Survey Finds Teachers Pass, Administrations Fail & Students Incomplete

This week on Hubwonk, Joe Selvaggi discusses a recently released survey from Pioneer Institute and Emerson Polling, "Massachusetts Residents’ Perceptions of K-12 Education During the Covid-19 Pandemic," with Emerson's lead analyst, Isabel Holloway, and Pioneer Institute’s Charlie Chieppo.

Poll Finds Mixed Views About Schools’ Pandemic Performance

A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, Massachusetts residents have mixed opinions about how K-12 education has functioned, but they tend to view the performance of individual teachers more favorably than that of institutions like school districts and teachers’ unions, according to a poll of 1,500 residents commissioned by Pioneer Institute.

Doctor Heal Thyself: Insider’s Prescription For Healthcare Reform

Host Joe Selvaggi talks with surgeon and New York Times bestselling author Dr. Marty Makary about the healthcare reform themes in The Price We Pay, the 2020 Business Book of the Year.  The discussion covers the value of price transparency, provider accountability, and performance information to drive better medical outcomes and improve doctor and patient satisfaction.

New Study Warns Graduated Income Tax Will Harm Many Massachusetts Retirees

If passed, a constitutional amendment to impose a graduated income tax would raid the retirement plans of Massachusetts residents by pushing their owners into higher tax brackets on the sales of homes and businesses, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute. The study, entitled “The Graduated Income Tax Trap: A retirement tax on small business owners,” aims to help the public fully understand the impact of the proposed new tax.

Dartmouth’s Prof. Susannah Heschel Discusses Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel & the Civil Rights Movement

This week on “The Learning Curve," Gerard and Cara talk with Dr. Susannah Heschel, the Eli M. Black Distinguished Professor of Jewish Studies at Dartmouth College, and the daughter of noted 20th-century Jewish theologian and Civil Rights-era leader, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. They discuss what teachers and students today should know about Rabbi Heschel’s life and legacy.

Study: Graduated Income Tax Proponents Rely on Analyses That Exclude the Vast Majority Of “Millionaires” to Argue Their Case

Advocates for a state constitutional amendment that would apply a 4 percent surtax to households with annual earnings of more than $1 million rely heavily on the assumption that these proposed taxes will have little impact on the mobility of high earners. They cite analyses by Cornell University Associate Professor Cristobal Young, which exclude the vast majority of millionaires, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.

Hoover Institution’s Dr. Eric Hanushek on COVID-19, K-12 Learning Loss, & Economic Impact

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This week on “The Learning Curve," Gerard and Cara talk with Dr. Eric Hanushek, the Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. They discuss his research, cited by The Wall Street Journal, on learning loss due to the pandemic, especially among poor, minority, and rural students, and its impact on skills and earnings.

UK Classics Scholar Kathryn Tempest on Cicero, Brutus, & the Death of Caesar

This week on “The Learning Curve," Gerard and Cara talk with Dr. Kathryn Tempest, a Reader in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Roehampton in London, UK, and author of Cicero: Politics and Persuasion in Ancient Rome and Brutus: The Noble Conspirator. They discuss the historical, civic, and moral lessons political leaders, educators, and schoolchildren today can learn by studying the Roman Republic and the lives of key figures from that era such as Cicero and Brutus.