To fulfill the ideals of our nation’s founding, all Americans must have access to freedom and prosperity. That’s why Pioneer Institute focuses on expanding economic opportunity for all, and as a critical component of that, expanding access to high-quality educational options. These include charter public and vocational schools, the Metco and interdistrict choice programs, and access to private schools, all of which have demonstrated success at bridging achievement gaps for urban students.  We have convened policymakers, school and business leaders, and the general public through forums with high-profile Civil Rights activists and historians that raise awareness of the role of slavery and racism in American history — and the need for all students to study and understand the damage that has resulted. Below we share a sampling of our efforts to educate the public and promote reforms.

“Making a Difference Through METCO” Pioneer video, Oct. 2019

A video about the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO) produced by Pioneer Institute was featured at METCO’s recent annual meeting held at the Boston Foundation.

“The Time to Act” Pioneer video featuring Civil Rights history & Cheryl Brown Henderson, daughter of lead plaintiff in Brown v. Board of Ed

This video illustrates the longstanding Civil Rights struggle that culminates today with poor and minority kids in the Bay State seeking equality of educational opportunity through the best charter schools in the country. Help us ensure that this important video receives a wide audience, so all Massachusetts residents can learn about the power and promise of charters to address the state and country’s social challenges.

BROWSE OUR WORK

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.

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.

Wall Street Journal Columnist Jason Riley on the 2020 Election, School Choice, & Race in America

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Jason Riley, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and columnist for The Wall Street Journal. Jason shares insights on the 2020 election, its implications for the next two years, and assuming Vice President Biden becomes president, how he may govern on K-12 education.

Cheryl Brown Henderson, Daughter of Lead Plaintiff in Brown v. Board of Ed., on Race & Schooling

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Cheryl Brown Henderson, president of the Brown Foundation for Educational Equity, Excellence, and Research. She shares her experience as the daughter of the lead plaintiff in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, and thoughts on how the historic decision contributed to advancing civil rights in our country.

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.

When ignorance and violence are permitted to trump justice

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This week marks the 65th anniversary of the murder of Emmett Till, a 14-year old black boy from Chicago who was killed by two white Mississippians for whistling in the presence of a white woman.

Award-Winning Author Devery Anderson on the 65th Anniversary of the Murder of Emmett Till

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Devery Anderson, the author of Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement. Today, August 28th, marks the 65th anniversary of the brutal murder of 14-year old Emmett Till, a story which is central to understanding America's ongoing struggle for civil rights and racial justice.

The 65th Anniversary of the Murder of Emmett Till: 6 Key Resources for K-12 Education

Continuing Pioneer’s ongoing series of blogs on curricular resources for parents, families, and teachers during COVID-19, this post focuses on the 65th anniversary of the murder of Emmett Till, which is August 28, 2020.

Daughters of Liberty: Celebrating the Centennial of Women’s Suffrage & History – 10 Key Resources for K-12 Education

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In Pioneer’s ongoing series of blogs here, here, and here on curricular resources for parents, families, and teachers during COVID-19, this one focuses on: Celebrating the Centennial of Women's Suffrage & Women’s History.

VIDEOS FROM OUR EVENTS

Pioneer Institute hosted a forum that celebrated the birthday and legacy of the late Birmingham, Alabama civil rights leader Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth. The event featured his widow, award-winning historians, and civil rights and school leaders discussing how best to make the promise of civil rights a reality through school choice options for underserved families.

Roundtable discussion participants included Sephira Shuttlesworth, Regional Support Director with SABIS® Educational Systems, and authors Andrew Manis and Diane McWhorter. McWhorter is a Birmingham native and the author of Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama – The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution, which was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction. Manis is an ordained Baptist minister and the author of A Fire You Can’t Put Out: The Civil Rights Life of Birmingham’s Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth. The discussion followed by audience questions and answers, and then a policy panel moderated by the Rev. Liz Walker, pastor of the Roxbury Presbyterian Church.

A century ago, African-American civil rights leaders, Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois, framed a national debate about educational opportunity and racial uplift.  Washington believed vocational-technical education was the best route to equality for African-Americans, while Du Bois argued for the liberal arts.

Co-keynote addresses by Dr. Robert Norrell and Dr. Jacqueline Moore. Robert Norrell is professor and Bernadotte Schmitt chair of excellence with the Department of History at the University of Tennessee.  He is the author of the widely acclaimed Up from History: The Life of Booker T. Washington (2009).  Another of his books, Reaping the Whirlwind: The Civil Rights Movement in Tuskegee, won the Robert F. Kennedy book award in 1986. Dr. Moore is a professor of History at Austin College in Texas and the author of Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, and the Struggle for Racial Uplift (2003). She is co-editor of the African-American History Series for Rowman and Littlefield.

The event featured a keynote address by Cheryl Brown Henderson, whose father, the late Rev. Oliver L. Brown, was lead plaintiff in Brown vs. Board of Education, the landmark 1954 U.S. Supreme Court case that banned segregation in public education.

Two Pulitzer Prize winners, Taylor Branch and Robert P. Moses, were among those featured at a Pioneer Institute education reform forum marking the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday.

Get Updates on our Education Research!

RELATED PODCAST EPISODES

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

/
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.

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

/
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.

Wall Street Journal Columnist Jason Riley on the 2020 Election, School Choice, & Race in America

/
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Jason Riley, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and columnist for The Wall Street Journal. Jason shares insights on the 2020 election, its implications for the next two years, and assuming Vice President Biden becomes president, how he may govern on K-12 education.

Cheryl Brown Henderson, Daughter of Lead Plaintiff in Brown v. Board of Ed., on Race & Schooling

/
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Cheryl Brown Henderson, president of the Brown Foundation for Educational Equity, Excellence, and Research. She shares her experience as the daughter of the lead plaintiff in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, and thoughts on how the historic decision contributed to advancing civil rights in our country.

Award-Winning Author Devery Anderson on the 65th Anniversary of the Murder of Emmett Till

/
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Devery Anderson, the author of Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement. Today, August 28th, marks the 65th anniversary of the brutal murder of 14-year old Emmett Till, a story which is central to understanding America's ongoing struggle for civil rights and racial justice.

Widow of Civil Rights Icon, Dr. Sephira Shuttlesworth on Desegregating Schools & Racial Equity

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Dr. Sephira Shuttlesworth, a retired teacher and charter school leader, and the widow of the late Birmingham, Alabama, civil rights leader, the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth.