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!

Study: Massachusetts Should Embrace Direct Healthcare Options

Especially in the COVID era, many are looking to alleviate the increased burden on the healthcare system.  One solution is direct healthcare (DHC), which can provide more patient-centered care at affordable prices and is an effective model to increase access to care for the uninsured, underinsured and those on public programs like Medicaid, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.

Pulitzer Winner Taylor Branch on MLK, Civil Rights History, & Race in America

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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.

California Tax Experiment: Policy Makers Receive Valuable Economics Lesson

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Host Joe Selvaggi talks with Stanford University Economics Professor Joshua Rauh about his research on the reaction of Californians to a tax increase, from his report, “The Behavioral Response to State Income Taxation of High Earners, Evidence from California.” Prof. Rauh shares how his research offers tax policy makers insight into the likely effects of similar increases in their own states, including here in Massachusetts.

New Study Finds Tax Policy Drives Connecticut’s Ongoing Fiscal & Economic Crisis

Multiple rounds of tax increases aimed at high earners and corporations triggered an exodus from Connecticut of large employers and wealthy individuals, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.

Eva Moskowitz of Success Academy on Charter Schools, Achievement Gaps, & COVID-19 Learning Loss

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This week on “The Learning Curve," Cara and Gerard kick off the new year with Eva Moskowitz, CEO & Founder of Success Academy Charter Schools, a network of 47 schools enrolling 20,000 K-12 students in New York City. Eva shares her own education path, and how it influences her leadership and philosophy.

Unemployment Insurance Rescue: Employer Advocate Seeks Relief to Catalyze Pandemic Recovery

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Joe Selvaggi talks with John Regan, President and CEO of Associated Industries of Massachusetts, about the impact of higher UI rates on employers and what legislators can do to help mitigate the pain.

USED Asst. Sec. Jim Blew Talks Sec. DeVos, School Choice, & K-12 Politics

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Jim Blew, the assistant secretary for planning, evaluation, and policy development at the U.S. Department of Education. Assistant Secretary Blew shares lessons from leading and implementing K-12 public education reform efforts in often contentious policy environments, and the unique challenges of the current partisanship and gridlock in Washington, D.C.

Oxford & UCLA Pulitzer Winner Prof. Daniel Walker Howe on Horace Mann, Common Schools, & Educating for Democracy

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Daniel Walker Howe, Rhodes Professor of American History Emeritus at Oxford University in England and Professor of History Emeritus at UCLA. Drawing from his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848, he provides background information on Horace Mann, the first secretary of the Massachusetts State Board of Education, founder of the common school movement in public education, and a prominent abolitionist in Congress.

COVID-19 Vaccine: The End of the Epidemic is Within Reach

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Join Host Joe Selvaggi and Virologist and Investor Dr. Peter Kolchinsky as they discuss the rapid development, efficacy, and rollout of the newly approved COVID-19 vaccines.

Knowledge is Power: Sir Francis Bacon and the Scientific Method – 10 Resources for High School Students

In Pioneer’s ongoing series of blogs here, on curricular resources for parents, families, and teachers during COVID-19, this one focuses on: Celebrating the 400th Anniversary of Sir Francis Bacon and the scientific method.