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.

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“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

Smith College Prof. Paula Giddings on Ida B. Wells and Her Anti-Lynching Crusade

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This week on “The Learning Curve," Cara Candal and guest co-host Derrell Bradford talk with Prof. Paula Giddings, Elizabeth A. Woodson Professor Emerita of Africana Studies at Smith College, and author of A Sword Among Lions: Ida B. Wells and the Campaign Against Lynching.

AFC’s Denisha Merriweather on School Choice Advocacy & Black Minds Matter

This week on “The Learning Curve," Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Denisha Merriweather, the director of public relations and content marketing at the American Federation for Children and founder of Black Minds Matter. They discuss Denisha’s inspiring personal narrative, from a struggling student to a leading national spokesperson for school choice.

UVA Law Prof. G. Edward White on Law, Race, & the U.S. Supreme Court in American History

This week on “The Learning Curve," as the nation prepares for the likely confirmation of its first Black female U.S. Supreme Court justice, Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Dr. G. Edward White, David and Mary Harrison Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Virginia School of Law, and author of the three-volume book, Law in American History.

EdChoice’s VP Leslie Hiner on Landmark SCOTUS Decisions for School Choice

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Leslie Hiner, Vice President of Legal Affairs and Director of Legal Defense & Education Center with EdChoice. They discuss the the landmark U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision in Brown v. Board of Education, among the most important in the nation’s history, and how Brown’s call for racial access and equity in K-12 education has helped inform the work and advocacy of the school choice movement.

ESPN Senior Writer Howard Bryant on Race in Boston & American Sports

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-host Gerard Robinson and guest co-host Kerry McDonald talk with Howard Bryant, a senior writer for ESPN and the author of nine books, including Full Dissidence: Notes From an Uneven Playing Field and The Heritage: Black Athletes, A Divided America, and the Politics of Patriotism.

Parent Advocate Virginia Walden Ford on Civil Rights, School Choice, & the D.C. Voucher Program

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-host Gerard Robinson and guest co-host Derrell Bradford talk with Virginia Walden Ford, education advocate and author of Voices, Choices, and Second Chances, and School Choice: A Legacy to Keep. She shares her experiences growing up and desegregating high schools in Little Rock, Arkansas in the mid-1960s, and the lessons she carried forward in her school choice advocacy in Washington, D.C.

Stanford’s Prof. Clayborne Carson on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Civil Rights Vision & Legacy

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Dr. Clayborne Carson, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Centennial Professor of History Emeritus at Stanford University and the Founding Editor of The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Institute for Justice’s Michael Bindas on the SCOTUS Oral Arguments

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Michael Bindas, a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice, who represents the lead plaintiffs in the U.S. Supreme Court case, Carson v. Makin.

Lipan Apache Tribe’s Pastor Robert Soto on Native American Heritage Month & Religious Liberty

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Pastor Robert Soto, a Lipan Apache religious leader and award-winning feather dancer who has successfully upheld his Native American cultural heritage and religious liberties in federal courts. As the country celebrates Native American Heritage Month, Pastor Soto shares his personal journey as a religious leader and describes the Lipan Apache Tribe.

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

Smith College Prof. Paula Giddings on Ida B. Wells and Her Anti-Lynching Crusade

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This week on “The Learning Curve," Cara Candal and guest co-host Derrell Bradford talk with Prof. Paula Giddings, Elizabeth A. Woodson Professor Emerita of Africana Studies at Smith College, and author of A Sword Among Lions: Ida B. Wells and the Campaign Against Lynching.

AFC’s Denisha Merriweather on School Choice Advocacy & Black Minds Matter

This week on “The Learning Curve," Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Denisha Merriweather, the director of public relations and content marketing at the American Federation for Children and founder of Black Minds Matter. They discuss Denisha’s inspiring personal narrative, from a struggling student to a leading national spokesperson for school choice.

UVA Law Prof. G. Edward White on Law, Race, & the U.S. Supreme Court in American History

This week on “The Learning Curve," as the nation prepares for the likely confirmation of its first Black female U.S. Supreme Court justice, Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Dr. G. Edward White, David and Mary Harrison Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Virginia School of Law, and author of the three-volume book, Law in American History.

NYU’s Dr. Arthur Levine on Higher Education’s Future & Improving K-12 Teacher Preparation

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This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Dr. Arthur Levine, a scholar with New York University's Steinhardt Institute for Higher Education Policy, a senior fellow and president emeritus of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, and president emeritus of Columbia University's Teachers College. He shares the main findings and recommendations of a new book he recently co-authored, The Great Upheaval: Higher Education’s Past, Present, and Uncertain Future.

EdChoice’s VP Leslie Hiner on Landmark SCOTUS Decisions for School Choice

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Leslie Hiner, Vice President of Legal Affairs and Director of Legal Defense & Education Center with EdChoice. They discuss the the landmark U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision in Brown v. Board of Education, among the most important in the nation’s history, and how Brown’s call for racial access and equity in K-12 education has helped inform the work and advocacy of the school choice movement.

ESPN Senior Writer Howard Bryant on Race in Boston & American Sports

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-host Gerard Robinson and guest co-host Kerry McDonald talk with Howard Bryant, a senior writer for ESPN and the author of nine books, including Full Dissidence: Notes From an Uneven Playing Field and The Heritage: Black Athletes, A Divided America, and the Politics of Patriotism.