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!

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.

Stanford’s Prof. Caroline Hoxby on Charter Schools, K-12 Ed Reform, & Global Competitiveness

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Caroline Hoxby, the Scott and Donya Bommer Professor of Economics at Stanford University and a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution.

The 400th Anniversary of the Mayflower – 15 Resources for K-12 Students

In Pioneer’s ongoing series of blogs on curricular resources for parents, families, and teachers during COVID-19, this one focuses on: Celebrating the 400th Anniversary of the Mayflower’s voyage.

SABIS® President Carl Bistany on International Education, Charter Public Schools, & At-Risk Students

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Carl Bistany, the president of SABIS® Educational Systems, an education company founded over 130 years ago that serves young women in the Middle East, and poor and minority students in the U.S.

MBTA Cuts Ahead: COVID Causes Commuters To Consider Comprehensive Changes

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Host Joe Selvaggi and Pioneer Institute Senior Fellow Charlie Chieppo discuss the reasons for the recently proposed cuts to MBTA service, and offer suggestions as to how the agency’s leadership could use this crisis to improve the service’s long-term health.

Pioneer Report Spotlights Decade-long Building Boom in Massachusetts Construction Industry

In the lead-up to the COVID-19 crisis, the Massachusetts construction industry enjoyed a boom in select subsectors, though employment numbers had yet to recover from the setbacks of the Great Recession, according to a new report from Pioneer Institute that draws data from the MassEconomix web tool.

Contracting with private providers could avert MBTA cuts

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In response to a collapse in MBTA service in the winter of 2015, the newly formed Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) set the authority on a course of bold reforms. The COVID-19 pandemic is once again presenting new and significant challenges to T leadership that require a rethinking of how service is delivered to stave off painful service cuts.

Pioneer Institute Statement on MBTA Service Cuts

Even as MBTA ridership and revenue have been gutted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the system remains a lifeline for so many residents in the Greater Boston area, especially those working in essential services like health care or in industries most impacted by the pandemic such as the restaurant sector.  Facing a crisis of this magnitude, T leadership must first do its all to rethink how it delivers services before reflexively making cuts.