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

Defusing Ideological Tribalism: Methods for Communicating Across Political Language Barriers

Hubwonk host Joe Selvaggi talks with economist and author Dr. Arnold Kling about his book, The Three Languages of Politics, Talking Across the Political Divides, which outlines the dynamics of political tribalism, defines the respective world view and vocabulary of progressives, conservatives, and libertarianism, and offers methods for communicating and persuading across ideological lines in a way that fosters civil, productive, public debate.

Time for State Action on Troubled Boston Schools

Given the failures of both appointed and elected school boards, perhaps the time has come to have the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education appoint the members of the Boston School Committee. Patience might be warranted if the Boston Public Schools were improving. But we have waited for decades, and they are only getting worse. Holding adults in the system accountable was a cornerstone of the Education Reform Act. If not now, when?

Pioneer Applauds MassDOT for Allston Project All At-Grade Plan

Pioneer Institute applauds the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (Mass DOT) for its decision to move forward with an all at-grade design for the “throat” area as part of the massive $1.7 billion Allston I-90 Interchange project announced yesterday by State Secretary of Transportation Jamey Tesler. Pioneer had proposed that MassDOT should revise its Scoping Report on the I-90 Allston Multimodal Project and recommend an additional option - a modified at-grade option for the throat area - to the Federal Highway Administration.

Match Charter Public School Founder Mike Goldstein on School & Teacher Prep Reform

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Mike Goldstein, the founder of the MATCH Charter School and MATCH Teacher Residency in Boston.

Study: After Years of Steady Increases, Homeschooling Enrollment Rose Dramatically During COVID

After steadily increasing for years, the number of parents choosing to homeschool their children skyrocketed during the pandemic, and policy makers should do more to acknowledge homeschooling as a viable option, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.

Marathon Endurance Test: Leaders Pave the Way for Boston’s Return

Hubwonk host Joe Selvaggi talks with Boston Athletic Association’s CEO Tom Grilk about the leadership challenges of cancelling the world’s oldest continuous marathon, a $200-million benefit to the region involving eight municipalities and 10,000 volunteers, in the face of a pandemic - and how cooperation among stakeholders brought back the epic event to be run this October.

A Modest Proposal to Raise Federal Revenue

As a way to tackle drug prices, President Joe Biden recently announced that he supports the so-called “inflation rebate,” which would require drug companies to give the federal government any revenue from Medicare drug prices above the general rate of inflation. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have also publicly endorsed the inflation rebate.

Study Finds SALT Deduction Cap, Graduated Income Tax Will Combine to More Than Double Tax Burden on Some Households

A provision of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 strictly limiting deductions for state and local taxes (SALT) will greatly exacerbate the adverse effects of a proposal to create a constitutionally mandated graduated income tax, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.

ASU’s Julie Young, Virtual Schooling Pioneer, on Digital Learning during COVID-19

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-host Cara Candal talks with Julie Young, ASU Vice President of Education Outreach and Student Services, and Managing Director of ASU Prep Academy and ASU Prep Digital. They discuss the implications of COVID-19’s disruption of American K-12 education and the future of digital learning.

Economic Long Covid: Mixed Health Messages for Baystate Businesses

Hubwonk host Joe Selvaggi talks with NFIB’s Chris Carlozzi and Retailers Association of Massachusetts' Jon Hurst about the challenges and future prospects for businesses as they adapt to widespread consumer confusion caused by vague and often conflicting public health messaging from our political leadership.

UChicago’s Dr. Leon Kass on Genesis, Exodus, & Reading Great Books

This week on “The Learning Curve," guest co-host Jason Bedrick and co-host Gerard Robinson talk with Dr. Leon Kass, MD, the Addie Clark Harding Professor Emeritus in the Committee on Social Thought and the College at the University of Chicago. Dr. Kass describes the important pieces of wisdom and humanity people today can still learn from reading the Book of Genesis, the topic of his 2003 work, The Beginning of Wisdom.

Enduring the Maelstrom: Lessons from MassPort Leadership During 9/11

Hubwonk host Joe Selvaggi talks with author and former MassPort CEO Virginia Buckingham about her recently released book, On My Watch: A Memoir, which chronicles her experience leading the organization through 9/11 and the life and leadership lessons learned from that tragic day.

NYT Best Seller Dr. Kate Clifford Larson on Fannie Lou Hamer & the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Dr. Kate Clifford Larson, a New York Times best-selling biographer of Harriet Tubman and Fannie Lou Hamer. Kate shares why she has written about these historical African-American figures, and how she thinks parents, teachers, and schools can draw on their lives to talk about race.

Rescuing Afghan Refugees: Finding Redemption amidst the Wreckage of Collapse

Hubwonk host Joe Selvaggi talks with Jeffrey Thielman, President and CEO of the International Institute of New England, about the path refugees must take to resettle in the US, how organizations like his facilitate and integrate refugees including those recently displaced in Afghanistan, and what individuals concerned about the fate of refugees can do to support their resettlement. 

Valhalla Foundation’s Nancy Poon Lue on STEM Access & Equity

This week on “The Learning Curve," host Gerard Robinson talks with Nancy Poon Lue, incoming Senior Director at the Valhalla Foundation, where she will be leading their K-12 math funding initiatives. Nancy shares her recent work with the EF+Math Program, some of the challenges America has faced in ensuring students have a strong grounding in math and science, and the kinds of results she aims to achieve for kids in all ZIP codes. 

Why are health care costs rising every year in Massachusetts?

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The largest driver is the increase in prices by health systems that have the clout to command higher payments and work to recruit more patients to their high-cost facilities.

Untangling Variants & Outbreaks: Can Vaccines & Natural Immunity Outrun Delta?

Hubwonk host Joe Selvaggi talks with author, surgeon, and public health expert Dr. Marty Makary about the COVID-19 Delta Variant, the durability of natural and vaccinated immunity, the benefits of booster shots, and the health risks for children as we move into the fall.

Yale’s Pulitzer-Winning Prof. David Blight on Frederick Douglass, Slavery, & Emancipation

This week on “The Learning Curve," Cara Candal and guest co-host Derrell Bradford talk with David Blight, Sterling Professor of American History and director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University. He is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom.