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

Boston Uni.’s Dr. Charles Glenn on School Choice, Civil Rights, & Espinoza

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Dr. Charles Glenn, Professor Emeritus of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Boston University. Dr. Glenn shares his early experiences in the Civil Rights movement, and how it inspired his work to expand school choice, as well as his thoughts on the Espinoza Supreme Court case's impact on racial justice and religious liberty.

Op-ed: Time to lift up Boston’s voc-tech high school

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Read this full op-ed in CommonWealth magazine. By Tom Birmingham…

Op-ed: Students should know the name Fannie Lou Hamer

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This op-ed has appeared in WGBH News and The Berkshire Eagle. October…

Op-ed: State should expand METCO

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By Cheryl Brown Henderson and Jim Stergios The Boston Globe…

Op-ed: Slaving history must not be forgotten

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Read this op-ed in The New Bedford Standard Times, The Lowell…

Education Access Event to Feature Daughter of Lead Plaintiff in Brown vs Board of Ed

As Massachusetts debates raising the charter school cap, school…

Expanding Voc-Tech Education & Equality of Opportunity

Vocational-Technical Education, Equality of Educational Opportunity…

Op-ed: We must teach hard historical truths of Emmett Till's murder

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This week marks the 60th anniversary of the murder of Emmett…

New Report: Closing the Achievement Gap Through METCO

Closing the Achievement Gap Through METCO Pioneer Institute…

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

Boston Uni.’s Dr. Charles Glenn on School Choice, Civil Rights, & Espinoza

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Dr. Charles Glenn, Professor Emeritus of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Boston University. Dr. Glenn shares his early experiences in the Civil Rights movement, and how it inspired his work to expand school choice, as well as his thoughts on the Espinoza Supreme Court case's impact on racial justice and religious liberty.

Pulitzer Winner Diane McWhorter on Civil Rights History & Race in America

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard mark the Juneteenth commemoration of the end of slavery with an episode devoted to Civil Rights history. They are joined by Diane McWhorter, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama: The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution.

NYT Best-Selling Children’s Author Carole Boston Weatherford on Fannie Lou Hamer & Race in America

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Prof. Carole Boston Weatherford, a New York Times best-selling children’s book author, and Caldecott Honor Book and Coretta Scott King Award winning biographer of Harriet Tubman and Fannie Lou Hamer.

Kaya Henderson, Former Chancellor, D.C. Public Schools, on Leading Urban District Reform

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are happy to be joined by Kaya Henderson, the former chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools. They discuss the historic reforms Henderson oversaw, including increasing enrollment and improved test scores in an urban district that had been one of the lowest performing in the country.

UVA Law Professor Kimberly Robinson On Legal Debate About Education As Federal Right

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard continue coverage of COVID-19’s impact on K-12 education, joined by Kimberly Robinson, Professor at the University of Virginia School of Law and the Curry School of Education, about her new book, "A Federal Right to Education: Fundamental Questions for Our Democracy," and the need for states to establish a “floor of opportunity” to ensure educational equity.

Kevin Chavous on the Promise & Potential of Quality School Choice Options

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Kevin Chavous, President of Academics, Policy, and Schools of K12, Inc. about how to promote quality education options that meet the diverse needs of all kids.