COVID-19 Roundup from Pioneer: COVID-19 treatments on the way?, a COVID-19 Manhattan Project, best practices at Best Buy, “Expert Mercy,” a shout-out to a local high school, & more!

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Pioneer staff share their top picks for COVID-19 stories highlighting useful resources, best practices, and questions we should be asking our public and private sector leaders. We hope you are staying safe, and we welcome your thoughts; you can always reach out to us via email: pioneer@pioneerinstitute.org.

Our Top Picks for COVID-19 Pandemic News:

Jim Stergios, Executive Director, shares some hopeful news about COVID-19 treatments:

“The first US clinical trial of a Covid-19 vaccine candidate, which is Moderna’s mRNA-1273, has started at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) in Seattle. Funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the trial has dosed its first participant.” Read more.

“Based on results of clinical trials conducted with affected patients in both Wuhan and Shenzhen by Chinese medical authorities, Japanese-made flu drug favipiravir (also known as Avigan) has been shown to be effective in both reducing the duration of the COVID-19 virus in patients and to have improved the lung conditions of those who received treatment with the drug.” Read more.

And some concerns about testing: “Pioneer is a data-driven organization and we have concerns about policy making based on fear. That’s why the increase in COVID-19 testing is so important. As this Stat News article points out, “We don’t know if we are failing to capture infections by a factor of three or 300… The most valuable piece of information for answering questions about how many people are infected and how the epidemic is evolving would be to know the current prevalence of the infection in a random sample of a population and to repeat this exercise at regular time intervals to estimate the incidence of new infections.””

Bill Smith, Visiting Fellow in Life Sciences: Regarding the pharmaceutical chain, our dependence upon China is modest but growing.  And, there is a good deal we don’t know.  Here is some recent testimony from the FDA on the issue. Two more items of interest: “Duke University’s Margolis Center calls for a public-private ‘Manhattan Project’ to find answers to COVID-19” and “The New Yorker recounts the federal government’s missteps on coronavirus testing.  It isn’t pretty.

George Parker, Director of Individual Giving: An educational and emotional article. “Expert Mercy“: a term we should all be using and practicing!

Our Picks for Public & Private Sector Best Practices:

Barbara Anthony, Senior Fellow in Healthcare: Kudos to Best Buy for “best practices” when it comes to social distancing. Best Buy is limiting each store to 10 to 15 customers at a time and customers will be escorted by an employee who is six feet away. Of course, it will be important that Best Buy help to keep those in line waiting outside to enter six feet apart as they wait.

Jamie Gass, Education Director, shares some great resources: Florida Virtual School, winner of Pioneer’s 2008 Better Government Competition, is offering virtual teacher training to Florida school districts. FLVS’ founder Julie Young, a recent guest on Pioneer’s podcast, “The Learning Curve,” is now with Arizona State University (ASU), which is also offering terrific guidance and resources: ASU For You, which includes many learning tools at no cost such as virtual field trips; library access; video lessons, labs and simulations in K-12 subject areas; badge and certificate programs in areas such as health and well-being, smart cities and environmental science; tutoring, online courses and training videos for teachers or parents teaching from home; and courses for college credit.

Jamie also put together his own reading guide for parents seeking excellent materials on classic literature and historical figures to share with their children. And on our latest episode of The Learning Curve, Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson interviewed Former Ambassador to the Vatican and Mayor of Boston Ray Flynn, who shared his thoughts on how the world is reacting to COVID-19, and how it compares to other crises he has witnessed.

Mary Connaughton, Director of Government Transparency, gives a shout out to St. Joseph’s Prep in Brighton, MA for the great lengths they’re going to in order to adapt to remote learning and keep their students engaged. Take a look at their schedule:

She also joined The Boston Globe in reminding the public that, despite COVID-19 overshadowing everything, it’s Sunshine Week, when we promote open and accountable government – more important now than ever.

Do YOU have interesting articles to share with us? Please email us, or message us through our social media channels below!

Get Our COVID-19 News, Tips & Resources!

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NCTQ’s Kate Walsh on the Crisis in K-12 Teacher Prep, Quality, & Evaluation

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Kate Walsh, president of the National Council on Teacher Quality. They discuss the qualifications of those who enter the teaching profession, explore teacher preparation, and key differences between teacher preparation, accreditation, and job prospects in the U.S. and other countries. They also speculate about what a Biden presidency might mean for K-12 education policymaking, and discuss how to diversify the teaching pipeline.

The Republic of Gadgets – America’s Great Inventors – 25 Resources for K-12 Education

Understanding the enduring public and private benefit that great inventors and their contraptions have made to our civilization is to better appreciate the connections between human necessity, creativity, and ingenuity. Yet, in American K-12 education very little focus is placed on studying who America’s great inventors were and the central role they’ve played in shaping our republic of gadgets. We’re offering a variety of links on the topic for parents, teachers, and schoolchildren to enjoy and better realize authentic innovators.

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.

The Houses of Great American Writers – 25 Resources for K-12 Education

According to the Brookings Institution research, teaching great fiction is declining across America’s K-12 education system, so we’re offering resources to help parents, teachers, and schoolchildren to better appreciate great American writers and the places where they wrote.

Getting Nursing Home Care Right

Pioneer Institute has long recognized that seniors deserve the best of care and that innovative policy solutions are necessary to ensure that this population enjoys a high quality of life in their later years. In the 1990s, early 2000s and most recently in 2017, the Institute dedicated Better Government Competition topics to policy issues related to aging in America. Our goal each time was to find solutions and to take advantage of new innovations that would improve the quality of life and care for the elderly.

Harvard PEPG’s Prof. Paul Peterson on Charter Schools, Digital Learning, & Ed Next Polling

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Paul Peterson, the Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government and Director of the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard University.

Small Business Life Support: Policy Relief for Firms Sickened by COVID?

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Host Joe Selvaggi talks with Pioneer Institute’s Andrew Mikula and Retailers Association of Massachusetts' Jon Hurst about the state of small business in Massachusetts six months into the pandemic.

A Commonwealth of Art – 20 Resources for K-12 Art Education

In Pioneer’s ongoing series of blogs here, here, here, and here on curricular resources for parents, families, and teachers during COVID-19, this one focuses on: Introducing K-12 schoolchildren to great works of art about, from, or in Massachusetts. Great Massachusetts paintings, folk, and fine arts are often not fully explored in the Bay State’s K-12 education system, so we’re offering a variety of resources to help parents, teachers, and schoolchildren.

Award-Winning Writer Brenda Wineapple on the 170th Anniv. of The Scarlet Letter & Pres. Andrew Johnson’s Impeachment

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Brenda Wineapple, author of the award-winning Hawthorne: A Life and The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation. They discuss her definitive biography of Nathaniel Hawthorne and the 170th anniversary of the publication of his classic novel, The Scarlet Letter.

Study: Economic Recovery from COVID Will Require Short-Term Relief, Long-Term Reforms

As the initial economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed, a new study from Pioneer Institute finds that governments must continue to provide short-term relief to stabilize small businesses as they simultaneously consider longer-term reforms to hasten and bolster recovery – all while facing a need to shore up public sector revenues.

International Best-Seller Dr. Jung Chang On Wild Swans, Mao’s Tyranny, & Modern China

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Dr. Jung Chang, author of the best-selling books Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China; Mao: The Unknown Story; and Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister: Three Women at the Heart of Twentieth-Century China.

“Architecture is Frozen Music” Great Massachusetts Buildings – 25 Resources for K-12 Education

Understanding enduring public and private architecture is a key way to learn about art, ideas, and how they harmonize with our democracy. Yet, Massachusetts buildings are often never discussed in K-12 education. We’re offering a variety of links about outstanding houses and architecture across the Bay State for parents, teachers, and schoolchildren to enjoy, visit, and better appreciate, including:

COVID-19 Transparency – A Step Backwards

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Massachusetts has unfortunately taken the backwards step of ending its longstanding daily reporting of something basic and important: the virus’s cumulative impact on various age groups.

Kelly Smith, Prenda CEO, on Microschooling & the Future of K-12 Learning

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Kelly Smith, founder and CEO of Prenda, a company that helps create flexible learning environments known as microschools. Often described as the “reinvention of the one-room school house,” microschools combine homeschooling, online education, smaller class sizes, mixed age-level groupings, flipped classrooms, and personalized learning.

Lockdowns – Lawless or Laudable? Grading Gov. Baker’s COVID-19 Emergency Orders 6 Months On

Join Joe Selvaggi and Pioneer Institute’s executive director Jim Stergios for a conversation with Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby about the lawsuit against the Massachusetts Governor’s executive orders. They will explore what can be learned from the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic, and what must be considered when devising a new way forward.

“City Upon a Hill” Massachusetts Monuments & Memorials: 25 Resources for K-12 Education

In Pioneer’s ongoing series of blogs here, here, here, and here on curricular resources for parents, families, and teachers during COVID-19, this one focuses on: Introducing K-12 schoolchildren to Massachusetts monuments & memorials.

U-Ark Prof. Jay Greene & EdChoice’s Jason Bedrick on Yeshivas vs. New York & Religious Liberty

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Jay Greene, the Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas, and Jason Bedrick, the Director of Policy for EdChoice. They discuss their timely new book, Religious Liberty and Education: A Case Study of Yeshivas vs. New York, about the recent battle between Orthodox Jewish private schools and New York's state government over the content of instruction.

Drug Rebates: How Pharmacy Benefit Managers Manipulate Price & Limit Choice

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Join host Joe Selvaggi and his guest Dr. Bill Smith as they discuss the complex incentive structure between drug manufacturers, health plans, and pharmacy benefit managers. In this episode, they focus on how drug rebates work and how a system intended to optimize value may actually deliver higher costs and fewer choices. Joe and Bill also use this framework to speculate on the price of a COVID-19 vaccine, and who will likely pay for it.

Michelle Rhee, Former Chancellor, D.C. Public Schools, on Leading Urban District Reform & the COVID-19 Moment

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and guest co-host Kerry McDonald are joined by Michelle Rhee, founder and former CEO of StudentsFirst and prior to that, former chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). 

“Every Child is an Artist…” – 15 Resources for K-12 Art Education

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In Pioneer’s ongoing series of blogs on curricular resources for parents, families, and teachers during COVID-19, this one focuses on: Introducing K-12 schoolchildren to great works of art.

Confronting COVID Constraints: How Certificate of Need laws stifle innovation, increase costs, and reduce quality in healthcare

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Join Joe Selvaggi and co-host Josh Archambault, Pioneer Institute's Senior Fellow in Healthcare, as they talk with Institute for Justice’s Jaimie Cavanaugh about the effects of Certificate of Need laws on the healthcare system.

Executive branch overreach, blanket orders having harmful effects

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At the outset of the pandemic, limited knowledge and the need to mitigate risk understandably led to political overreach. At this point in the disaster response, though, we are far better at distinguishing fact from fiction and policies that have worked from those that have not.

“Music is liquid architecture” – 15 Resources for K-12 Education

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In Pioneer’s ongoing series of blogs on curricular resources for parents, families, and teachers during COVID-19, this entry focuses on introducing K-12 schoolchildren to timeless music.

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.

The ABCs of the Newest Diagnostic Science for COVID-19 Testing

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Join Hubwonk host Joe Selvaggi as he talks with Hannah Mamuszka, expert in diagnostic science, about the state of COVID-19 testing technology and its implications for a safer return to school and work in the fall.

HVAC Systems’ Influence on the Spread of Covid-19

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HVAC systems provide heating, ventilation, and air conditioning…

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.

Christensen Institute’s Julia Freeland Fisher on K-12 Disruptive Innovation, Professional Networks, & Social Mobility

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Julia Freeland Fisher, director of education research at the Clayton Christensen Institute.

Effects of Covid-19 on the Accommodation and Food Services Industry

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Since March, lockdowns and safety regulations from the Covid-19 pandemic have dramatically affected the Accommodation and Food Services industry. The sector is predicted to lose at least 2.1 billion dollars in Massachusetts before recovering. These losses affect individuals, businesses, and Massachusetts’ economy as a whole. 

Mapping K-12 School Reopening in Massachusetts

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As the 2020-21 school year begins for the approximately 950,000 schoolchildren in Massachusetts, our state and country are working to adapt to the unprecedented moment presented by COVID-19. To aid in these efforts, Pioneer Institute is posting a database and map of districts’ reopening plans.

Doctors Beyond Borders: Firefly Health Shines a Light on Virtual Primary Care

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Join Hubwonk host Joe Selvaggi as he speaks with Firefly Health President Fay Rotenberg and Primary Care Doctor and Co-Founder Jeff Greenberg as they discuss the promise and potential of virtual primary care to deliver direct doctor access, price transparency, and more holistic healthcare that may revolutionize the healthcare system.

COVID-19 Roundup from Pioneer: COVID vaccine update; Back to School?; Who’s really getting PPP Loans?; Hubwonk: COVID & public spaces; What about school sports?; & more!

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COVID-19 Roundup from Pioneer: COVID vaccine update; Back to School?; Who's really getting PPP Loans?; Hubwonk: COVID & public spaces; What about school sports?; & more!

Drawing on State Guidelines to Keep Youth Baseball Alive during COVID-19

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Since Major League Baseball finalized its reopening plans in…

President of D.C.’s AppleTree Institute, Jack McCarthy on Charter Schools and Fall Reopening

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Jack McCarthy, president and CEO of AppleTree Institute for Education Innovation and board chair of AppleTree Early Learning Public Charter School. Jack shares what animated him to establish this highly innovative early childhood charter public school network that serves the most vulnerable children in Washington, D.C.

Youth Basketball and COVID-19: Preparing an Indoor Winter Sport for a Global Pandemic

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With a COVID-19 vaccine’s widespread availability still estimated…

Non-Profits Facing COVID-19: Charles River’s Esplanade Association on Why It’s No Walk in the Park

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Join host Joe Selvaggi as he talks with Esplanade Association’s executive director Michael Nichols about how he and other non-profits adapt to a surge in demand for services while coping with a collapse in fundraising opportunities.

“Call Me Ishmael” Melville Scholar Prof. Hershel Parker on Moby-Dick & Classic Literature

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard and guest co-host Kerry McDonald, senior education fellow with the Foundation for Economic Education, are joined by Hershel Parker, the H. Fletcher Brown professor emeritus at the University of Delaware and the definitive biographer of the 19th-century American novelist, Herman Melville.

Let’s Be There For Students

As we head into the new academic year, unsure if remote learning will continue, we must equip our teachers to ensure that all students are offered the consistent, structured, rigorous, and supportive instructional programs that they need to succeed. This video highlights two schools that have successfully transitioned to remote learning.

HHS COVID Funding Tracker

As of July, the Feds have distributed $86.7 billion to medical providers, of which $2.3 billion came to Massachusetts. Pioneer’s new HHS COVID-19 Funding app shows who and how much, from the $1 sent to American Current Care of Massachusetts, to the $418,034,675 sent to the MA Department of Public Health. We also break down the distribution by city or town.

Pioneer Decries New Travel Order as Unnecessarily Intrusive and Divisive

Pioneer Institute is disappointed at certain extreme aspects of Governor Baker’s executive order that goes into effect tomorrow.

COVID-19 Silver Lining: MBTA Takes Advantage of Ridership Lull to Accelerate $8.5 Billion Modernization Program

Pioneer Institute congratulates the Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) and MBTA management for taking advantage of the precipitous ridership declines due to the COVID pandemic to dramatically accelerate ongoing construction projects.

New Study Offers Guide to Recovery in MA Retail, Accommodation and Tourism, and Restaurant Sectors

A new guide to economic recovery in the retail and hospitality industries published by Pioneer Institute calls for the federal and state governments to consider consumption-based refundable tax credits for brick and mortar businesses; the federal government to conduct a detailed study of the costs and benefits of suspending employer-side payroll taxes; businesses to pay special attention to developing and marketing their cleanliness, hygiene and contactless procedures; and third-party customer review sites to include comments about the implementation of COVID safety measures to provide options and reassurance to safety-minded consumers

COVID & Classrooms: Lessons for Students, Staff, & Society on Reopening Schools

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Join host Joe Selvaggi and co-host Rebekah Paxton of Pioneer Institute as they talk with Harvard Medical School Professor Benjamin Sommers on the most current scientific observations regarding the health and safety of reopening schools.

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.

WSJ Children’s Book Critic & Author, Meghan Cox Gurdon on Reading Aloud to Children in the Age of Distraction

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Meghan Cox Gurdon, the Wall Street Journal’s children’s book reviewer and author of The Enchanted Hour: The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction.

The Virtual Lessons Catholic Schools Can Teach

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This op-ed originally appeared in The Boston Pilot. By Tom…

A Time to Build

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The MBTA is taking advantage of anemic low ridership from the…

COVID Transmission: A Scientist’s Insight on What Matters

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Join Joe Selvaggi and Pioneer Institute co-host Bill Smith as they talk with Harvard Medical School’s Dr. Ed Nardell about his scientific observations on how the novel coronavirus is spread and what can be done to make our schools, buildings, and lives in public safer.

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.

COVID-19 Roundup from Pioneer: COVID & Air Conditioning; NEW: PPP Loan Tracker; COVID Nursing Home Task Force; Hubwonk: Fixing Foster Care; UMass’ Unique Re-opening Plans & more!

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Pioneer staff share their top picks for COVID-19 stories highlighting useful resources, best practices, and questions we should be asking our public and private sector leaders.

PPP Loan Tracker

To advance transparency regarding public funds, Pioneer Institute developed this Paycheck Protection Plan Loan Tracker. This web tool allows you to track PPP loans by recipient, lender, location, industry, and loan range. According to this data, from the Small Business Administration, 18,177 Massachusetts small businesses received PPP loans, which the companies claim retained 738,613 jobs.

One UMass System, Different Reopening Plans

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One UMass System, Different Reopening Plans On March 11, UMass…

Foster Family Fixes: Serving Our Most Vulnerable Children with Foster Care Reform

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Join Joe Selvaggi and Pioneer Senior Healthcare Fellow Josh Archambault as they discuss specific reforms that could improve the current foster care system. Josh shares findings from his recent research, as well as his experiences as a foster parent himself.

Bringing Back Youth Soccer Amidst COVID-19

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For decades, organized youth soccer has been a staple for teaching…

Pioneer Urges Future COVID-19 Study and Recommendations Task Force to Consider Impact on Nursing Home Residents

After over 5,000 people have died of COVID-19 in Massachusetts nursing homes, Pioneer Institute is issuing an open letter to the state’s future COVID-19 health equity task force that outlines an extensive list of recommendations on infection control and preparedness in eldercare facilities.

Open Letter: COVID-19 Study and Recommendations Task Force Established Pursuant to Massachusetts Bill H.4672

Pioneer hopes the members of this important task force will be appointed as soon as possible and that they will look into recommendations to address Covid-19 among the aged and in the state’s nursing homes. Read our Open Letter.

U-Arkansas Prof. Patrick Wolf on School Choice, Espinoza, & Students’ Civic Prep

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U-Arkansas Prof. Patrick Wolf joins The Learning Curve to discuss school choice, the Supreme Court's Espinoza case, & students’ civic preparation.

COVID-19 Roundup from Pioneer: Hope for a vaccine; Open Meeting violations; Holyoke Soldiers Home report; COVID & foster care; Re-opening the beaches; the fate of college towns; COVID’s economic toll on Bay State cities & more!

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Pioneer staff share their top picks for COVID-19 stories highlighting useful resources, best practices, and questions we should be asking our public and private sector leaders.

Announcing the Pioneer Institute & Nichols College Sports Management Policy College Case Competition

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In recognition of the cancellation of many student internships…

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.

Coronavirus Hits Back on Communities Who Slowed Their Spread

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“This couldn’t come at a worse time,” said rep. Bill Keating…

Combatting COVID-19: Life in the MGH Emergency Room

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Join host Joe Selvaggi and Pioneer Senior Fellow Josh Archambault as they talk with Dr. David King about the experience of being in emergent care during a pandemic and lockdown. They explore the challenges of coping with a poorly understood virus during a lockdown, all while continuing to serve the sick.

New Pioneer Institute Hotline Allows Public to Report Violations of Open Meeting Law

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With most public meetings taking place remotely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pioneer Institute has unveiled an online hotline that allows members of the public to report potential violations of the Commonwealth’s and other states' Open Meeting Law.

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.

Pioneer Institute Study Calls for Streamlining State Sales Tax Revenue Collection

At a time when state tax revenues are plummeting, a plan to modernize sales tax collection could get money into state coffers more quickly, according to a new policy brief published by Pioneer Institute.

COVID-19 Roundup from Pioneer: Hubwonk: Elections & COVID-19; Update: Mapping COVID Testing; School Reopening; Protecting Civil Liberties, & more!

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Pioneer staff share their top picks for COVID-19 stories highlighting useful resources, best practices, and questions we should be asking our public and private sector leaders.

Hubwonk Ep. 9: Elections in Epidemics: Keeping Voters Safe & Elections Fair during COVID-19

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Join Joe Selvaggi and Pioneer’s Mary Connaughton as they talk with MIT Professor Charles Stewart on how states in general, and Massachusetts in particular, are adapting their voting process to keep elections safe, transparent, and fair during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Update: “Mapping COVID-19” Tool Now Shows Testing Data

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Now, in addition to maps and tables regarding the number of cases and case rates across the state, “Mapping COVID-19” also includes information regarding the testing efforts in the Commonwealth.

MA Commissioner Jeff Riley on Remote Learning, Voc-Techs, & Reforming Boston’s Schools

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard open with commentary on the George Floyd tragedy and K-12 education’s role in addressing racial injustice. Then, they are joined by Jeffrey Riley, the Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education, to talk about the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19.

Easthampton High Scores A National Educational Victory During The COVID-19 Pandemic

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This spring, Massachusetts’ Easthampton High School was crowned national champion in the “We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution” contest. The competition brings together about 1,200 students from across the country to answer civics questions based on America’s Founding Documents including the U.S. Constitution; The Federalist Papers; and U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

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.

Pioneer Institute Looks Ahead to the Protection of Civil Liberties

Challenges to Americans’ civil liberties have increased in recent years.  History teaches us that during national emergencies governments are even more likely to overstep and violate constitutionally guaranteed freedoms. To address this concern, Pioneer Institute has created “Respect My Rights,” a web-based hotline to which citizens can submit complaints and descriptions of violations they have experienced.

COVID-19 Roundup from Pioneer: Antibodies & immunity; Talking about WHO; Telecommuting Survey Results; Mapping COVID – Update; & more!

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Pioneer staff share their top picks for COVID-19 stories highlighting useful resources, best practices, and questions we should be asking our public and private sector leaders.

Even for the most remote part of Massachusetts (Franklin County), it’s far from business as usual

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The Connecticut River valley is home to some of the most productive…

Hubwonk Ep. 8: Who is WHO? COVID-19, Massachusetts, and the unhealthy World Health Organization

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Hubwonk host Joe Selvaggi and Pioneer Healthcare Senior Fellow Josh Archambault are joined by Hoover Institution’s Dr. Lanhee Chen to discuss the role that the World Health Organization (WHO) plays, what dysfunction may have contributed to the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic, and what steps can be taken to bring back transparency and trust.

COVID Tracker for Long-Term Care Facilities

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Long Term Care Facilities With 2+ Known COVID Cases and Facility-Reported Deaths in Massachuetts

Study: Safely Reopening Office Buildings Will Require Planning, Innovation

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Safely bringing employees back into workplaces presents a significant challenge for employers located in office buildings, particularly when it comes to elevator operations and building entry and exit.  To address the challenge, managers must develop plans to control the flow of workers, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.

Acclaimed Poet & Former NEA Chairman Dana Gioia on Poetry & Arts Education

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Dana Gioia, a poet, writer, and the former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, to talk about why the arts are so pivotal to the intellectual and civic development of America’s K-12 schoolchildren.

38.8 percent of the Massachusetts workforce and 28.3 percent of the U.S. workforce have filed unemployment claims over the past ten weeks.

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Data released today by the U.S. Department of Labor shows that 38.8 percent of the Massachusetts workforce and 28.3 percent of the U.S. workforce have filed unemployment claims since the COVID-19 unemployment surge began ten weeks ago.

Once anchored by higher education, Hampshire County, MA finds itself out of work after a cancelled semester

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The 38,000 college and university students at the Five College…

In Hampden County, COVID-19 exacerbates a stark employment divide between urban and rural areas

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Hampden County, Massachusetts, home of Western New England’s…

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.

Hubwonk Ep. 7: Covid Testing: What went wrong, where we are & when we’ll get closer to normalcy

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https://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/chtbl.com/track/G45992/feeds.soundcloud.com/stream/828394294-pioneerinstitute-hubwonk-ep-7-covid-testing-what-went-wrong-where-we-are-when-well-get-closer-to-normalcy.mp3 Join…

Survey Suggests Demand for Telecommuting After COVID-19 Crisis

Citing an avoidance of the commute and more flexible scheduling, nearly 63 percent of respondents to Pioneer Institute’s survey, “Will You Commute To Work When The COVID-19 Crisis Is Over?” expressed a preference to work from home one day a week, and a plurality preferred two to three days a week, even after a COVID-19 vaccine is available. Respondents cite social isolation as the biggest drawback of remote work. The survey was conducted from April 22nd to May 15th, and received responses from over 700 individuals.

It’s Time for the MBTA to Actively Engage Riders to Understand Their Commuting Plans

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The MBTA should conduct a survey of mTicket app users regarding their future plans. Some may never work in offices again. Some will certainly do some workdays in the office and some at home. Others will be in offices and back to business as usual at some point. Using their responses, the T can calculate ridership and determine projected revenue.

Homeschooling Expert Kerry McDonald on Harvard Law Professor Controversy & COVID

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are happy to be joined by Kerry McDonald, a homeschooling expert and Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Economic Education, on the major lessons we all should be learning from this educational moment, now that COVID has turned most of America’s 50 million schoolchildren and their families into "homeschoolers."

32.9 percent of the Massachusetts workforce and 26.2 percent of the U.S. workforce have filed unemployment claims over the past nine weeks.

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Data released today by the U.S. Department of the shows that 33.0 percent of the Massachusetts workforce and 26.2 percent of the U.S. workforce have filed unemployment claims since the COVID-19 unemployment surge began nine weeks ago.

Study Finds Pandemic Likely to Negatively Impact Biopharmaceutical Sector

Contrary to conventional wisdom that says the coronavirus pandemic will generally benefit biopharmaceutical companies, a new Pioneer Institute study finds many companies will emerge from the pandemic commercially weaker, dealing with delays in new product launches and with fewer resources to invest in research and development.

“Every Action has an Equal and Opposite Reaction”: 8 K-12 Science Resources During COVID-19

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The fourth in Pioneer’s ongoing series of blogs on curricular resources for parents, families, and teachers during COVID-19 focuses on science education.

COVID-19 Roundup from Pioneer: The race for a vaccine; Unemployment Tracker; Reopening reactions; Grading BPS on remote learning; Holyoke Soldiers’ Home understaffing; & more!

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Pioneer staff share their top picks for COVID-19 stories highlighting useful resources, best practices, and questions we should be asking our public and private sector leaders.

In The Era Of COVID-19, Mass. Needs To Get Long-Term Care Right

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This op-ed originally appeared in WGBH News. In much of the…

Hubwonk Ep. 6: COVID-19 and Commerce: Main Street’s Concerns with Governor Baker’s Course

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In this episode of Hubwonk, Host Joe Selvaggi & Pioneer Research Analyst Rebecca Paxton to get reactions to Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s phased reopening, from the leaders of two statewide business organizations, NFIB and Retailers Association of Massachusetts.

Holyoke Soldiers’ Home Study Targets Inadequate Nursing Home Staffing Standards

Standards enforced at the federal and state levels are insufficient to address chronic staffing issues reported by staff and residents’ families at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, making that facility particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new Pioneer Institute research.

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.

28.9 percent of the Massachusetts workforce and 24.1 percent of the U.S. workforce have filed unemployment claims over the past eight weeks.

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Data released yesterday by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Workforce Development show that 28.9 percent of the Massachusetts workforce and 24.1 percent  of the U.S. workforce have filed unemployment claims over the past eight weeks.

Time to follow the science, not fear

Over the past two months, we have all learned a great deal about COVID-19 and the efficacy of - and the new challenges created by - our policy responses. Pioneer Institute believes it is time to shift to a more thoughtful, science-based footing in our approach to COVID-19 policymaking. The following are principles for state and local public officials to consider as we move forward.

Where in Massachusetts is being hit hardest by unemployment due to COVID-19?

Pioneer’s new tool, called “COVID Unemployment Tracker,” provides an interactive look at how economic shutdowns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are affecting jobs and lives across the state of Massachusetts.

How will COVID-19 affect the 2020 Census in Massachusetts?

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On April 1, 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau unveiled a flood of…

Hubwonk Ep. 5: COVID Calling: How answering the tracing phone call will move us forward

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In this episode, Host Joe Selvaggi and Co-Host Barbara Anthony speak with the heads of Partners in Health Drs. Sheila Davis & John Welch on how they are bringing their expertise battling Ebola in West Africa to defeating the COVID-19 epidemic in Massachusetts. They explore precisely how and why tracing is an essential element in battling the epidemic.

COVID-19 Roundup from Pioneer: Swabbing at home?; Is re-infection real?; Latest unemployment numbers; Can colleges survive?; What does re-opening look like?; How Holyoke happened; Homeschooling summit; Stargazing & more!

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Pioneer staff share their top picks for COVID-19 stories highlighting useful resources, best practices, and questions we should be asking our public and private sector leaders.

As college students and parents demand robust COVID-19 response, university finances suffer

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COVID-19 is likely going to put severe pressure on college finances in the coming months due to costly added safety measures, cuts to state funding, and foregone revenue from campus housing, services, and events.

During COVID-19 Outbreak, Compounding Challenges for Special Education Students

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In Massachusetts, there’s a staunch and persistent negative…

Stargazing: Five Astronomy Resources for Parents, Teachers, and Kids During COVID-19

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Here are some resources for parents, teachers, and students of all ages. Our hope is to cultivate the curiosity within us, in order to better understand the heavens and stars above us.

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.

The past seven weeks of Massachusetts unemployment claims total 25.8 percent of the civilian workforce.

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The U.S. Department of Labor released its weekly report on jobless claims Thursday morning at 8:30 a.m., reporting that Massachusetts received 55,448 initial unemployment insurance (UI) claims during the week ended May 2. This brings the total of regular UI claims filed in Massachusetts since March 14, the beginning of the unemployment surge, to 781,110. 

National Study Finds Most States Lack Healthcare Price Transparency Laws

At a time when the coronavirus pandemic has caused massive shifts in state policies on telehealth and scope of practice in healthcare, a new Pioneer Institute study underscores that most of the 50 states continue to suffer from weak laws regarding price transparency.  The study identified states that have laws that require carriers, providers or both to provide personalized cost information to consumers before obtaining healthcare services.  Fully 33 states placed in the lowest of the three broad analytic tiers on the strength of their state healthcare transparency laws. 

Explosion in ESL enrollment creates new opportunities, challenges

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  The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that, between 2010…

COVID-19 will likely lead to a recession. Can Massachusetts municipal budgets handle one?

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Using municipalities' experiences during the Great Recession, a new policy brief examines the likely impact of COVID-19 on local property taxes, as well as political implications for state aid. We list the municipal revenues by category among the least tax-reliant communities in Massachusetts, show the trajectory of tax revenue growth rate in Massachusetts state and local governments, and rank stabilization fund assets per capita among Massachusetts Gateway Cities.

Conquering COVID-19: When and From Where Will Vaccines and Therapies Emerge?

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This week on Hubwonk, Host Joe Selvaggi is joined by Pioneer’s Bill Smith, Visiting Fellow in Life Sciences, and Dr. Peter Kolchinsky, Harvard-trained virologist, biotech investor and author of the new book, The Great American Drug Deal, to learn how the SARS-CoV2 works, what a vaccine may look like, and how we might produce it to scale.

COVID-19 Roundup from Pioneer: Human testing of a vaccine; NYT best-selling author John Barry on COVID-19 & warmer weather; Just who’s getting stimulus $?; Latest unemployment #s; What will reopening look like?; Tipping point for Telehealth & more!

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Pioneer staff share their top picks for COVID-19 stories highlighting useful resources, best practices, and questions we should be asking our public and private sector leaders.

New York Times #1 best-selling author John M. Barry on the 1918 Influenza Pandemic & lessons for COVID-19

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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 John M. Barry, author of the #1 New York Times best seller, The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History.

The past six weeks of Massachusetts unemployment claims total 24.0 percent of civilian workforce

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The U.S. Department of Labor released its weekly report on jobless claims this morning at 8:30 a.m., reporting that Massachusetts received 70,714 initial unemployment insurance (UI) claims during the week ended April 25. This brings the total of unemployment claims filed in Massachusetts since March 14, the beginning of the unemployment surge, to 725,018. 

Re-opening for business: What should employers and commercial real estate managers do to prepare?

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Weeks away from re-opening, now is a time when employers and real estate managers must act. To assist our community in doing a great job of preparing, Pioneer Institute, in partnership with the law firm of Verrill, is sharing two checklists that will help you keep your employees safe, anticipate challenges, and develop feasible and useful methods to successfully deal with those challenges when they do.

Report Finds “Reopening Day” in the Commonwealth Will Likely Include Phasing in Businesses and Contact Tracing

New study compares the reopening of three European countries – Austria, Denmark, and Germany – to highlight approaches that could inform the Commonwealth’s reopening strategy.

To Read or Not to Read Shakespeare? 12 Great Ways to Get to Know The Bard During COVID-19

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With school closures impacting 50 million children across America, and a challenging transition to remote learning,  many parents are seeking supplementary material to enrich their children's academic experience during COVID-19.  Fortunately, there is a wealth of information available to introduce children of all ages to, arguably, the greatest literary figure in the English-speaking world, William Shakespeare.

A Tipping Point for Telehealth – Bringing Healthcare into Your Home

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This week on "Hubwonk," Joe Selvaggi and Josh Archambault talk with Dr. Roy Schoenberg, Chief Executive of Amwell, a global telehealth technology company headquartered in Boston, about the promise of telemedicine and how the COVID-19 pandemic has catalyzed broader adoption.

COVID-19 Roundup from Pioneer: 90-day prescription refills?; Who has the power to re-open the economy?; Grading the Bay State in Online Learning; The T & COVID prevention; & more!

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Pioneer staff share their top picks for COVID-19 stories highlighting useful resources, best practices, and questions we should be asking our public and private sector leaders.

Ashley Berner of Johns Hopkins on Academic Quality, Educational Pluralism, & the Providence Public Schools

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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 Ashley Berner, Deputy Director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy. 

New jobless claims data shows that Massachusetts unemployment has grown from 2.8% to at least 20.4% in five weeks

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Based on today’s jobless claims report, Pioneer Institute projects that the current unemployment rate in Massachusetts is at least 20.4 percent, with a minimum of 762,299 currently unemployed individuals.

Study Highlights Transit Agency Best Practices in Response to COVID-19

The MBTA is taking a number of important steps to mitigate risks associated with the coronavirus, but some transit agencies around the country - from Philadelphia to San Francisco - have done significantly more, according to a new study that highlights the best practices of U.S. transit systems in response to COVID-19.

WILL YOU COMMUTE TO WORK WHEN THE COVID-19 CRISIS IS OVER?

How will you look at commuting in the future? This survey will ask over 30,000 people how their attitudes and habits will change. Please be part of our work to understand the changing world around us.

COVID-19 Roundup from Pioneer: How long does COVID-19 survive?; Remdesivir to the rescue; HubWonk: Attorneys & clients at risk? & more!

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Pioneer staff share their top picks for COVID-19 stories highlighting useful resources, best practices, and questions we should be asking our public and private sector leaders.

Coronavirus & Contracts – Protecting Massachusetts Attorneys & Clients from Risk

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In this episode of "Hubwonk," host Joe Selvaggi and Pioneer’s Chief Financial Officer & Director of Government Transparency, Mary Connaughton, speak with attorney and entrepreneur Kosta Ligris about how Massachusetts’ requirement for live attestation for many vital contracts is putting attorneys and clients at risk of exposure to coronavirus.

Buoy Health – Intelligent Front Door to Optimized Healthcare

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In this first episode of Pioneer's new podcast, Hubwonk, host Joe Selvaggi and Pioneer Senior Fellow in Healthcare Josh Archambault talk with Dr. Andrew Le, cofounder and Chief Executive Officer of Buoy Health.

Elderly people were already vulnerable to COVID-19. Then it came to nursing homes.

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Last week, reports of mismanagement and negligence regarding…

Hospitality, Retail Trade, Healthcare Among ‘Most Vulnerable Industries’ in Terms of Unemployment due to COVID-19

Recent data provided by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development show that hospitality, retail trade, healthcare and social assistance, and construction are the industries that have suffered the most unemployment as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, according to the new Pioneer Institute report, “A Look at the Massachusetts Industries that are Most Vulnerable Due to COVID-19.”

Mapping COVID-19 in Massachusetts Cities & Towns

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Kudos to he Massachusetts Department of Public Health for posting the count and rate (per 100,000) of confirmed COVID-19 Cases in Massachusetts by City/Town.

Transparency Needed at Long-term Care Facilities

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The anxiety of having a parent in a nursing home under the constant…

Christensen Institute Co-founder Michael Horn on Digital Learning & COVID-19

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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 Michael Horn, co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.

COVID-19’s Impact on Rental Housing

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The Massachusetts Legislature is currently debating a rental housing bill. What impact will it have on the many landlords for whom rental income is their only source of income?

COVID-19 Roundup from Pioneer: Will plans to re-open hurt civil liberties?; COVID-19 model skeptic; SCOTUS returns!; New podcast, HubWonk; 5 Tips for online learning & more!

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Pioneer staff share their top picks for COVID-19 stories highlighting useful resources, best practices, and questions we should be asking our public and private sector leaders.

Which industry’s workforce has been hurt the most from the COVID-19 outbreak?

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Unemployment claims have reached all-time highs in the U.S. recently…

New Study Calls for Re-thinking Massachusetts’ COVID-19 Care Standards

Pioneer's new study raises concerns about the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s (DPH’s) Crises Standards of Care (CSC) issued earlier this month, which bear the earmarks of a state bureaucratic effort and should be rethought under a process that includes a thorough vetting by Massachusetts citizens.

Pioneer Institute Launches Its New Policy Podcast, “HubWonk”

Pioneer Institute is pleased to announce the launch today of a new, weekly podcast called “HubWonk,” covering timely topics, with insights and in-depth interviews on the issues that affect our quality of life, ability to prosper, and liberties. 

Will the COVID-19-related economic recession cause a spike in crime?

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Intuitively, it makes sense that people replace legitimate business…

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.

The Institute for Justice’s Tim Keller on Espinoza v. Montana DOR & ongoing school choice litigation

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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 Tim Keller, Senior Attorney with the Institute for Justice, which is representing the plaintiffs in the high-profile Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court,.

State Ranking: Michigan, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and Nevada have been hardest-hit by COVID-19 jobless claims so far. Massachusetts ranks as 9th hardest-hit.

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The U.S. Department of Labor reported today that in the week ended April 4, the advance number of seasonally-adjusted initial jobless claims was 6,606,000. This follows 6,867,000 initial claims filed in the week ended March 28 and 3,307,000 in the week ended March 21.

COVID-19 Roundup from Pioneer: Tracking drug discovery efforts; Secrets to Germany’s success; Unemployment tsunami; Voc-techs answering the call; COVID prevalence by town & more!

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Pioneer staff share their top picks for COVID-19 stories highlighting useful resources, best practices, and questions we should be asking our public and private sector leaders.

COVID-19 unemployment surge is on pace to wipe out the MA Unemployment Reserve Fund within three months

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The unprecedented surge of COVID-19- related unemployment claims that began two weeks ago is on pace to wipe out the MA unemployment Reserve Fund within three months, which will force state leaders to turn to the federal government for a bailout loan.

Report: MA Likely to See Sharp Spike in Unemployment Rate

The COVID-19 recession could cause Massachusetts’ unemployment rate to skyrocket to 25.4 percent by this June, according to a new policy brief published by Pioneer Institute. The authors recommend that the state join others in lobbying Congress for large block grants to avoid a severe fiscal crisis.