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 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.