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.

[ytp_video source=”wRgYR3s24os”]

“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

Law Prof. Melvin Urofsky on Justice Louis Brandeis, the SCOTUS, & Dissenting Opinions

This week on “The Learning Curve," Gerard and Cara talk with Melvin Urofsky, Professor of Law & Public Policy and Professor Emeritus of History at Virginia Commonwealth University, and the author of several books, including Louis D. Brandeis: A Life and Dissent and the Supreme Court. Professor Urofsky shares insights on Justice Brandeis’s jurisprudence, and why he consistently ranks among the three most influential Supreme Court justices in American history.

Stanford’s National Humanities Medal Winner Prof. Arnold Rampersad on Langston Hughes & Ralph Ellison

This week on “The Learning Curve," Gerard and Cara talk with Professor Arnold Rampersad, the Sara Hart Kimball Professor Emeritus in Humanities at Stanford University and recipient of the National Humanities Medal for his books including The Life of Langston Hughes and Ralph Ellison: A Biography.

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.

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.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, International Best-Selling Author & Human Rights Activist

/
This week on “The Learning Curve," Gerard and Cara talk with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, founder of the AHA Foundation, and author of the books Prey: Immigration, Islam, and the Erosion of Women's Rights, Infidel: My Life, and Nomad: From Islam to America - A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations. 

WSJ Drama Editor Terry Teachout on Jazz Greats Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington

This week on “The Learning Curve," Gerard and guest co-host Kerry McDonald continue our celebration of Black achievements with Terry Teachout, drama critic at The Wall Street Journal, and author of such books as Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong and Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington.

UGA Prof. Valerie Boyd on Zora Neale Hurston, the Harlem Renaissance, & Black History Month

/
This week on “The Learning Curve," Cara and Gerard celebrate Black History Month with Professor Valerie Boyd, the Charlayne Hunter-Gault Distinguished Writer in Residence and Associate Professor of Journalism at the University of Georgia, and the definitive biographer of Zora Neale Hurston. Boyd discusses why Hurston is such an important novelist and cultural figure, and the influence of Hurston’s 1937 classic novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, on American literature.

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.

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

Law Prof. Melvin Urofsky on Justice Louis Brandeis, the SCOTUS, & Dissenting Opinions

This week on “The Learning Curve," Gerard and Cara talk with Melvin Urofsky, Professor of Law & Public Policy and Professor Emeritus of History at Virginia Commonwealth University, and the author of several books, including Louis D. Brandeis: A Life and Dissent and the Supreme Court. Professor Urofsky shares insights on Justice Brandeis’s jurisprudence, and why he consistently ranks among the three most influential Supreme Court justices in American history.

Stanford’s National Humanities Medal Winner Prof. Arnold Rampersad on Langston Hughes & Ralph Ellison

This week on “The Learning Curve," Gerard and Cara talk with Professor Arnold Rampersad, the Sara Hart Kimball Professor Emeritus in Humanities at Stanford University and recipient of the National Humanities Medal for his books including The Life of Langston Hughes and Ralph Ellison: A Biography.

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.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, International Best-Selling Author & Human Rights Activist

/
This week on “The Learning Curve," Gerard and Cara talk with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, founder of the AHA Foundation, and author of the books Prey: Immigration, Islam, and the Erosion of Women's Rights, Infidel: My Life, and Nomad: From Islam to America - A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations. 

WSJ Drama Editor Terry Teachout on Jazz Greats Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington

This week on “The Learning Curve," Gerard and guest co-host Kerry McDonald continue our celebration of Black achievements with Terry Teachout, drama critic at The Wall Street Journal, and author of such books as Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong and Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington.

UGA Prof. Valerie Boyd on Zora Neale Hurston, the Harlem Renaissance, & Black History Month

/
This week on “The Learning Curve," Cara and Gerard celebrate Black History Month with Professor Valerie Boyd, the Charlayne Hunter-Gault Distinguished Writer in Residence and Associate Professor of Journalism at the University of Georgia, and the definitive biographer of Zora Neale Hurston. Boyd discusses why Hurston is such an important novelist and cultural figure, and the influence of Hurston’s 1937 classic novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, on American literature.