Happy New Year from Pioneer Institute

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We hope you are taking time to celebrate and find peace during this season. Thank you for your support for Pioneer, which has helped us stay focused on steering the state’s debate on the pandemic response, and making progress on our key policy objectives. Here’s to a great 2021 for Massachusetts and the country.

Recent Posts

UCLA’s Ronald Mellor on Tacitus, Roman Emperors, & Despotism

Dr. Mellor delves into the enduring influence of Tacitus, the great Roman historian, on both America’s Founding Fathers and contemporary understanding of politics and government. He discusses Tacitus's insights on the early Roman emperors, unchecked authority, moral judgment of leadership, and the decline of the Roman Republic, as well as ancient lessons for modern governance.

Poor Housing Incentives: Tax Credits Reward Politicians Not Neighbors in Need

Joe Selvaggi interviews Chris Edwards, Chair of Fiscal Studies at CATO Institute, about his research on the 40-year history of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits. They delve into its features, effects, and potential alternatives that could provide greater benefits at lower costs to taxpayers.

Tufts Prof. Elizabeth Setren on METCO’s Proven Results

Prof. Setren discusses her recent study of METCO, a pioneering voluntary school desegregation program under which Massachusetts students in Boston and Springfield are bused to surrounding suburban districts. She discusses METCO's history, the academic performance of students in the program, enrollment challenges, long-term benefits, and disparities among students.

Biden’s Budget Breakdown: Pragmatic Progress or Political Posturing

Joe Selvaggi talks with Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Brian Reidl about how the contours of President Biden’s recently released budget proposal reveal a persistent, bipartisan reluctance to address profound structural deficits.

Pulitzer Winner Joan Hedrick on Harriet Beecher Stowe & Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Prof. Hedrick discusses Harriet Beecher Stowe's wide literary influence on U.S. history. From her abolitionist activism to the publication of international bestseller Uncle Tom's Cabin, they explore Stowe's New England upbringing, anti-slavery convictions, and lasting impact on American literature and social reform in the 19th century.

Genetic Therapy Revolution: Benefits and Barriers for Medicine’s New Horizon

Joe Selvaggi talks with neurobiologist and writer Dr. Anne Sydor about the potential for gene therapy to address deadly and debilitating diseases and how current health care models must adapt to encourage this nascent technology.

Dr. Adrian Mims on The Calculus Project & STEM

Dr. Mims navigates through the contentious "math wars" and underscores the pivotal role of Algebra I as a gateway to higher math. He also evaluates the negative impact of Common Core math standards, and proposes strategies to combat pandemic-induced learning setbacks and bridge the gap in math proficiency between American students and their international counterparts.

Contours of Content Curation: SCOTUS Hears Online Free Speech Cases

Cato Institute's Thomas Berry, talks about oral arguments at the Supreme Court in the NetChoice cases, exploring the First Amendment questions that affect both social media users and the platforms that curate their content.

Yale University Pulitzer Winner Beverly Gage on J. Edgar Hoover & the FBI

Yale Prof. Beverly Gage, author of "G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American," delves into the enigmatic life and career of J. Edgar Hoover, tracing his formative years in Washington, D.C., his rise to prominence as director of the FBI, and his enduring influence on American law enforcement and politics.

Mortgage’s New Normal: Guide to Better Borrowing Amidst Higher Rates

Joe Selvaggi talks with mortgage expert, Trip Miller of Cambridge Savings Bank, about mortgage rates and trends and explores best practices for finding a mortgage structure that suits individual buyers’ needs.

UK U-Warwick’s Benjamin Smith on Mexico’s Cartels & Drug Trade

Prof. Benjamin Smith, author of The Dope: The Real History of the Mexican Drug Trade, provides insights into various aspects of the Mexican drug trade, including its historical context and the evolution of illicit drug products over time. He discusses key cartels and their methods, the impact of the drug trade on Mexico's murder rates, the immense financial scale of the trade, its effect on Mexico and the U.S., and the challenges law enforcement face in combating it. Smith explores the relationship among Mexican cartels, other foreign countries, and the illicit drug market in the U.S.

Medicaid’s Massive Miasma: Taming Beacon Hill’s Burgeoning Budget Beast

Marc Joffe, a state policy analyst at the Cato Institute, talks about his research on Medicaid's cost and size. They explore how Massachusetts can control spending growth while protecting other priorities.

DFER-MA’s Mary Tamer on MCAS & Teacher Strikes

Mary Tamer focuses on the historic impact of the 1993 Massachusetts Education Reform Act on the commonwealth’s students’ high achievement on national and international measures. She explores the politics of the Massachusetts Teachers Association advocating against the MCAS test as a graduation requirement. In closing, Ms. Tamer also discusses the rise of teacher strikes and their implications for education reform in the Bay State.

Baystate Budget Blues: Declining Revenue Causes Concern

Joe Selvaggi engages in a conversation with Pioneer Institute’s Eileen McAnneny, Senior Fellow for Economic Opportunity, to analyze the status of the 2024 budget. They compare actual revenue and spending with pre-July 1 estimates, investigating potential reasons for any surpluses or shortfalls. They also dive into policy implications for legislators as they approach fiscal 2025.

U-TN’s Robert Norrell on Booker T. Washington & Voc-Tech

Prof. Robert Norrell explores Booker T. Washington's early life in slavery, his transformative leadership at Tuskegee Institute amidst Jim Crow racism, and his advocacy for vocational education as a means for racial uplift. He also discusses Washington’s 1901 autobiography, Up From Slavery; his controversial White House dinner with President Theodore Roosevelt; and his often overlooked legacy following the activism of the 1960s Civil Rights era.

Smothering Gas Exports: President Sides with Environmentalists Over Environment

Dr. Benjamin Zycher, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, talks on the impact of President Biden's executive order to halt liquefied natural gas export approvals. He explores potential economic impacts, the response from trading partners, and the negligible effect on climate.

Teachers strikes hurt the students

At a time when the country’s basic commitment to the rule of law is being questioned, Newton educators are teaching their students that breaking the law and thumbing one’s nose at a judge’s order are OK — if it is in your self-interest.

BC’s Dr. Matthias von Davier on TIMSS & K-12 Global STEM

Dr. von Davier explores his educational background and its influence on directing TIMSS & PIRLS, shedding light on psychometrics and standardized testing. He discusses the shift in education policy's focus, the global education data landscape, and the pandemic's effects on K-12 education around the world. Dr. von Davier addresses the alarming decline in U.S. educational performance, emphasizing the urgency to bridge achievement gaps. Drawing from international experiences, he highlights global examples for American policymakers from higher-performing countries, emphasizing the crucial links between education, skills, and innovation on the global economy.