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Tackling equity at Boston’s exam schools

By Jim Stergios August 2, 2019 This spring, The New York Times reported that of the 4,800 students admitted to New York’s nine exam schools, a mere 190, or 4 percent, were African-American. At Manhattan’s acclaimed Stuyvesant High School, just seven black students were among the 895 admitted. Less than 1 percent of the school’s total enrollees are black. Boston earns no bragging rights by beating the thoroughly broken New York City school system at equity of access to elite exam schools. But neither do the Boston Public Schools deserve the recent drubbing they are getting from the NAACP and Lawyers for Civil Rights, who wrote a stern letter to the city condemning the “discriminatory impact” of the schools’ admissions […]

Telecommuting Tax Credit Stands to Help Public Transportation

Governor Baker recently proposed a telecommuting tax credit that would incentivize businesses to allow employees to work from home. The program is a part of a bill that would create a $2,000-per-employee tax credit, capped at $50 million annually, awarded to businesses that allow working from home as a way to reduce the number of cars on the road. The Governor hopes the program will reduce congestion and cut commuting times. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, Massachusetts ranks 20th in the country in the percentage of full-time telecommuters, with 4.7% of the workforce working from home. The tax credit is part of the Governor’s $18 billion long-term transportation spending plan. The telecommuter tax credit would presumably be part of […]

Melville readies students for rough seas ahead

Read this op-ed in The Berkshire Eagle, The Salem News, and The Gloucester Daily Times. By Jamie Gass BOSTON — “For all his tattooings he was on the whole a clean, comely looking cannibal,” is how Herman Melville describes the heroic Polynesian harpooner Queequeg in his 1851 classic, “Moby-Dick.” “[T]he man’s a human being just as I am: he has just as much reason to fear me, as I have to be afraid of him.” Today (August 1) marks the bicentennial of Melville’s birthday. He was a self-educated, unorthodox literary genius, whose many family tragedies and disappointments kept him largely unnoticed during his lifetime. Melville’s key works include the short story, “Bartleby, the Scrivener” (1853); a novel, “The Confidence-Man” (1857); […]

MBTA Facilities in Desperate Need of Spending Increase

A number of MBTA facilities have deteriorated in recent years. As a result, many commuters are left to navigate stations with crumbling steps, limited access for the disabled, broken elevators, and leaking ceilings. The condition of these facilities is not surprising, given the T’s lack of spending compared to peer transportation systems.  A 2018 report published by the MBTA rated the agency’s stations and parking facilities on a scale of 1 to 5. The report found that nearly 60 percent of the MBTA’s 378 stations and parking facilities scored 2 or less, meaning they need significant repairs. Seventy eight of those properties had a rating of 1. To make matters worse, some of the worst-rated stations include major hubs such […]

Signs of Growth in Several Gateway Cities

It’s safe to say that Boston is the economic hub of Massachusetts and will be for the foreseeable future. However, a number of cities have the potential to boost the Commonwealth’s economy in the long-run. These communities, known as “gateway cities”, were once home to booming industries that have since left; but what these industries left behind can become the foundations for another wave of economic development. Gateway cities have struggled both economically and socially over the past several decades. In fact, two characteristics that originally defined these cities were rates of educational attainment and median household incomes below the state average. While these issues persist, some communities are showing notable signs of growth, the first of which is rising […]