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.

Study: Systemic Failure in IDEA Implementation for Private School Students with Disabilities in Additional States

On the heels of a $3.8 million settlement for private school students with disabilities in Massachusetts for the state’s failure to comply with provisions of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that require provision of equitable, publicly funded special education services to students in private schools, a Pioneer Institute study finds that two states and three school districts around the country for which data are available also appear to be out of compliance.

Key Madison Park Program Lags Other State Voc-Techs, but Shows Signs of Improvement

The co-operative education program at Boston’s Madison Park Technical Vocational High School, which places students in paid positions with local employers, lags far behind other Massachusetts vocational-technical schools in terms of both placements and number of employer contacts.  But with the school as a whole beginning to improve after years of turmoil, the co-op is also showing promising signs, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.

New Book Offers Roadmap to Sustainability for Massachusetts Catholic Schools

Catholic schools in Massachusetts must focus on the characteristics that make them academically successful and distinguish them from traditional public schools, but must also seek new models and governance structures that will help them achieve financial sustainability, according to a new book published by Pioneer Institute. The book, "A Vision of Hope: Catholic Schooling in Massachusetts," will be the topic of a webinar co-sponsored by Pioneer and the Catholic Schools Foundation to be held on Wednesday, January 27 at 2:00 pm. 

New Study Provides Toolkit for Crafting Education Tax-Credit Scholarship Programs

In the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a key impediment to private school choice, Pioneer Institute has published a toolkit for designing tax-credit scholarship programs. Now available in 18 states, nearly 300,000 students nationwide use tax-credit scholarships to attend the school of their family’s choice. TCS policies create an incentive for taxpayers to contribute to nonprofit scholarship organizations that aid families with tuition and, in some states, other K–12 educational expenses. This paper explores the central design features of TCS policies—such as eligibility, the tax credit value, credit caps, and academic accountability provisions—and outlines the different approaches taken by the TCS policies in each state.

Study: Signs of Progress at Madison Park, but Still a Long Way to Go

Four years after it began to implement a turnaround plan, Boston’s Madison Park Technical Vocational High School is showing clear signs of progress, but its performance continues to lag behind that of other vocational-technical schools in Massachusetts, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.

MA’s Remote Learning Regs Should Specify Consistent District Grading Policies, Return of MCAS in 2020-21

The COVID-19 pandemic-related revisions to Massachusetts’ remote learning regulations should restore state and local accountability by specifying that any remote academic work shall, to the same extent as in-person education, prepare students to take MCAS tests, and that grading criteria should be the same across in-person, remote, and hybrid learning environments, according to a new policy brief published by Pioneer Institute.

New Pioneer Study Looks to International Examples to Inform Massachusetts K-12 Schools Reopening

With the fall semester fast approaching, Massachusetts should provide more specific COVID-19-related guidance for school districts about ramping up remote learning infrastructure; rotating in-person cohort schedules; diversifying methods of communication between students, parents, and teachers; and investigating physical distancing capabilities.  Districts must determine whether to adopt in-person, remote, or hybrid schooling options, and they will not be ready for the fall unless the state provides clear direction, according to new analysis from Pioneer Institute.

Public Statement: Pioneer Institute Applauds U.S. Supreme Court Ruling in Espinoza School Choice Case

Pioneer Institute applauds today’s U.S. Supreme Court’s decision striking down a bigoted state constitutional amendment in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue. Like Massachusetts, Montana is among nearly 40 states with so-called anti-aid amendments, which have roots in 19th century anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant discrimination.

Pandemic, Lost Instructional Time Reveal Massachusetts’ Digital Learning Weaknesses

A report released today by Pioneer Institute says that the shutdown of Massachusetts schools due to the COVID-19 virus and the shift to online education have exposed the uneven nature of digital learning in the Commonwealth, and calls for state officials to develop programs to create more consistency.

Experts Find K-12 Online Education Can Be Appropriate for Most Special Needs Students

School closures due to COVID-19 have separated more than seven million K-12 special needs students from support they receive in the classroom, but online learning can be appropriate for most of those students if teachers and parents work as a team to provide each one with what he or she needs, according to a new report published by Pioneer Institute and ASU Prep Digital.

Study: Officials Must Address Basic Questions to Improve Public School Computer Science Education

Even as the COVID-19 pandemic has further transitioned education towards electronic devices, computer science education in K-12 public schools around the country faces a number of daunting challenges, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.

Pioneer Institute Relaunches “One-Stop Shop” for Education Performance Data

Pioneer Institute is re-launching a new and improved MassReportCards.org, a one-stop shop for information on Massachusetts public schools, including test performance, school finance, and much more. The new version of the site includes additional and updated data, and is more user friendly than the original. MassReportCards adds to Pioneer’s suite of online transparency tools, MassWatch.

Study Finds Historic Drop in National Reading and Math Scores Since Adoption of Common Core Curriculum Standards

New study shows that, breaking with decades of slow improvement, U.S. reading and math scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and other assessments have seen historic declines since most states implemented national Common Core English and math curriculum standards six years ago.

New Report Offers Case Study for Transition to Online Learning

Virtual Schooling Pioneer Julie Young provides tips on how states should move forward with the transition to online education during COVID-19.

New Brief Calls on the USED for School Closure Guidelines During COVID-19

Pioneer calls on the federal government to quickly release a single report identifying which federal laws - and which aspects of those laws - are relevant to the topic of school closure during the COVID pandemic, and providing concrete guidance on how schools can comply in the coming weeks.

Public Statement on MA DESE Blocking Federal Funding to Religiously Affiliated Special Needs Students

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (DESE) legal office has played a key role in denying students at religious schools services funded by the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for more than a decade.

VIDEO: Making a Difference Through METCO

A new video about the METCO program centers around the friendship between two Wayland High School students; one who lives in Wayland and the other from Boston. It also features interviews with METCO CEO Milly Arbaje-Thomas and Mabel Reid-Wallace, Director of Wayland's METCO program.

Press Release: Choice Media, Pioneer Institute, and Ricochet Announce New Education Podcast

“The Learning Curve” to feature Bob Bowdon, Cara Candal,…

Study Calls for Tying Additional State Education Aid to Reforms

Narrowing funding gap between high-income and less affluent districts…

Pioneer Alert: Supreme Court Will Rule on Highly Significant School Choice Case

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Today, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) announced that it would…

Study Finds Student Growth Percentile Is Unreliable, Limits Access to Charter Public Schools

High degree of error, especially in small school districts, leads…

Pioneer Public Statement on Legislative Demise of New Bedford Charter School Deal

This past week, in a display of the state’s teacher unions'…

Pioneer Institute Public Statement on UMass Financial Oversight

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Contact Micaela Dawson, 617-723-2277 ext. 203 or mdawson@pioneerinstitute.org Pioneer…

Pioneer Institute Files Amicus Brief Urging Supreme Court to Hear School Choice Case

Claims amendment to Montana Constitution motivated by anti-Catholic…

New Study Urges State to Slow Down, Rethink Proposal to Protect Students from College Closings

Board of Higher Education proposal risks “false positives”…

Some Public, Private MA Universities Adapting to Rise of Tech in Finance Industry, but Students Still Insufficiently Prepared

New report recommends establishing additional coursework, certification…