Press Release: Pioneer’s Jamie Gass Honored by the Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies

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BOSTON – Pioneer Institute is proud to announce that our Director of the Center for School Reform, Jamie Gass, has been honored by the Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies with the organization’s 2015 Janna Bremer Friend of Social Studies Award.

“I’m profoundly honored and grateful to the Council for this award,” Gass said. “Our forefathers established public education to teach young people to be active participants in the civic life of our democracy, and it’s critically important that we make U.S. History, civics, and the social studies a top priority in our schools and in the lives of schoolchildren.”

In recent years, Gass has been a tireless advocate for rigorous, content-based academic standards that include U.S. History and civics instruction. Under his leadership, Pioneer has published reports and polling on the lack of understanding of U.S. History, which has often been neglected by state policy makers and marginalized in public school instruction. He and Pioneer have advocated strongly for restoring passage of a U.S. History MCAS test as a high school graduation requirement, as outlined in the Commonwealth’s landmark 1993 Education Reform Act. In recent years, Gass has served as a state and national judge representing Massachusetts at the “We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution” contest held in Washington, D.C.

Pioneer has also published research on history education; sponsored a U.S. History essay contest for Massachusetts high school students; and hostedpublic forums on nearly every major phase of U.S. History, including the Founding era, slavery, the Civil War, World War II, the Cold War, the Civil Rights movement, and women’s history, featuring numerous Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. historians, including Gordon Wood, James McPherson, Rick Atkinson, Edmund Morris, Diane McWhorter, Taylor Branch among others, as well as internationally-recognized figures, such as Cokie Roberts.

The Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies held the awards ceremony at its annual meeting on May 20th in Norwood. Other award recipients were Donald Benson, Sean Smith, Robin Wanosky, and Monny Cochran of Weston High School; Daniel Bracken of Silver Lake Regional Middle School in Kingston; Kristine Forsgard of the Academy of Notre Dame in Tyngsboro; Cynthia Massillon of Somerville High School; Steven Herbert of Plymouth South Middle School; Ian McKay of Arlington High School; and James Kircaldy of Hingham High School.

Gass was also honored by the Foundation for Florida Virtual School in 2013 and the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators in 2009.


Pioneer Institute is an independent, non-partisan, privately funded research organization that seeks to improve the quality of life in Massachusetts through civic discourse and intellectually rigorous, data-driven public policy solutions based on free market principles, individual liberty and responsibility, and the ideal of effective, limited and accountable government.