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. 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:

William Smith, Visiting Fellow, Life Sciences: Fauci is cautiously optimistic about a vaccine. And, the NIH cancels two trials for hydroxychloroquine for lack of efficacy.

Greg Sullivan, Research Director: WHDH-TV aired a segment last night with new revelations about the Holyoke Soliders’ Home and the factors contributing to the tragic COVID death rate. Read Pioneer’s research on the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home. Also, check out Pioneer’s Long Term Care Facility COVID Tracker.

Mary Z. Connaughton, Director of Government Transparency: Pioneer recently lauched a new hotline where the public can log violations of Open Meeting Laws, especially those that may be a result of relaxed standards due to COVID.

Rebekah Paxton, Research Analyst: As town officials and public health experts determine if, when, and how local beaches will reopen, business owners, town managers, and beach-goers alike question what lies ahead. Read our Roger Perry interns’ new analysis on what different towns have done to open their beaches, and view an interactive map of all beach regulations; and an analysis of COVID prevalence and the economic impact on the Cape and islands.

Andrew Mikula, Peters Fellow: Massachusetts is home to so many college campuses – how is COVID affecting them? Read this Associated Press story that cites Pioneer’s research. Also check out my recent policy brief: As college students and parents demand robust COVID-19 response, university finances suffer.

 

Questions for Our Public & Private Sector Leaders:

Josh Archambault, Senior Fellow: When COVID-19 recedes, child abuse reports and foster care needs are expected to surge. Read my commentary in USA Today this week, co-authored with Naomi Schaefer Riley, on how online services, training and data can strengthen the system.

Joe Selvaggi, Host, Hubwonk: This week, Pioneer Executive Director Jim Stergios and I talked with Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby about his provocative recent column on police reform & public sector unions. Tune in!

Jamie Gass, Pioneer’s Education Policy Director: On the latest episode of “The Learning Curve” podcast, co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talked with Pulitzer Prize winning author Diane McWhorter about Civil Rights history and racial injustice. The hosts also discussed an innovative program used in London to fill learning gaps as a result of COVID school closures, and the migration of New York City’s wealthy families to the suburbs due to COVID – will they return?

  • Watch: Digital learning pioneer Julie Young of ASU Prep Digital was the featured speaker at a Pioneer webinar held yesterday, simulcast on Facebook.

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

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Get Our COVID-19 News, Tips & Resources!

COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker

Pioneer is proud to present a new vaccine tracker, the newest tool in our COVID-19 tracking project. Pioneer distilled the vaccination data down to those who are either fully vaccinated or partially vaccinated, by all the demographic categories published by the DPH. Use the new tool below to compare rates among groups, by municipality and by county. We will update the data every week.

The Washington Post’s Jay Mathews on An Optimist’s Guide to American Public Education

This week on “The Learning Curve," Gerard and Cara talk with Jay Mathews, an education columnist for The Washington Post and author of the recent book, An Optimist's Guide to American Public Education. Jay describes the three key trends in K-12 schooling that he views as cause for hope.

Grading Education in a Pandemic: Survey Finds Teachers Pass, Administrations Fail & Students Incomplete

This week on Hubwonk, Joe Selvaggi discusses a recently released survey from Pioneer Institute and Emerson Polling, "Massachusetts Residents’ Perceptions of K-12 Education During the Covid-19 Pandemic," with Emerson's lead analyst, Isabel Holloway, and Pioneer Institute’s Charlie Chieppo.

Poll Finds Mixed Views About Schools’ Pandemic Performance

A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, Massachusetts residents have mixed opinions about how K-12 education has functioned, but they tend to view the performance of individual teachers more favorably than that of institutions like school districts and teachers’ unions, according to a poll of 1,500 residents commissioned by Pioneer Institute.

Doctor Heal Thyself: Insider’s Prescription For Healthcare Reform

Host Joe Selvaggi talks with surgeon and New York Times bestselling author Dr. Marty Makary about the healthcare reform themes in The Price We Pay, the 2020 Business Book of the Year.  The discussion covers the value of price transparency, provider accountability, and performance information to drive better medical outcomes and improve doctor and patient satisfaction.

New Study Warns Graduated Income Tax Will Harm Many Massachusetts Retirees

If passed, a constitutional amendment to impose a graduated income tax would raid the retirement plans of Massachusetts residents by pushing their owners into higher tax brackets on the sales of homes and businesses, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute. The study, entitled “The Graduated Income Tax Trap: A retirement tax on small business owners,” aims to help the public fully understand the impact of the proposed new tax.

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.

Study: Graduated Income Tax Proponents Rely on Analyses That Exclude the Vast Majority Of “Millionaires” to Argue Their Case

Advocates for a state constitutional amendment that would apply a 4 percent surtax to households with annual earnings of more than $1 million rely heavily on the assumption that these proposed taxes will have little impact on the mobility of high earners. They cite analyses by Cornell University Associate Professor Cristobal Young, which exclude the vast majority of millionaires, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.

Hoover Institution’s Dr. Eric Hanushek on COVID-19, K-12 Learning Loss, & Economic Impact

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This week on “The Learning Curve," Gerard and Cara talk with Dr. Eric Hanushek, the Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. They discuss his research, cited by The Wall Street Journal, on learning loss due to the pandemic, especially among poor, minority, and rural students, and its impact on skills and earnings.

UK Classics Scholar Kathryn Tempest on Cicero, Brutus, & the Death of Caesar

This week on “The Learning Curve," Gerard and Cara talk with Dr. Kathryn Tempest, a Reader in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Roehampton in London, UK, and author of Cicero: Politics and Persuasion in Ancient Rome and Brutus: The Noble Conspirator. They discuss the historical, civic, and moral lessons political leaders, educators, and schoolchildren today can learn by studying the Roman Republic and the lives of key figures from that era such as Cicero and Brutus.