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It’s about the children – ugly, mean and expensive

On October 5, Pioneer is releasing a survey of state tax deduction and tax credit programs in other states that have been used to offer scholarships to inner city kids. Come one, come all. Other states have charged ahead of Massachusetts in promoting parental involvement and school choice.  New York is pushing charters, and New City is moving to create dozens of new charter schools through the Uncommon Schools effort.  Florida, Minnesota and Arizona have long advanced tax deduction and tax credit programs.  And then in February Utah passed a far-reaching voucher law. If you think proponents of the status quo and self-interest are taking this all sitting down, you are decidedly wrong. The Wall Street Journal recently reported on […]

Weekly Football Picks

What, you expected this blog to do a straight football piece? C’mon. We are picking Mystic Valley Regional Charter School to score an upset victory this week in their home opener against Hyde Park. Mystic Valley is the only charter school in the state to have a football team and they face long odds given the youth of the program. Today’s Globe reports the team has a new coach, new offense and defense, and some returning starters looking to improve on last year’s 1 – 10 season. As a side note, we are happy to hear that someone is still running the Wing-T. The September 29th match-up with fellow Wing-T holdouts, St. Mary’s of Lynn, should be a classic for […]

Pension Liability Grows Drip By Drip

We looked at the cost that pension loopholes and gaming impose on the Commonwealth. Our report concludes that at least $3b of the $13b unfunded pension liability comes from these practices. The creation of these loopholes happens on a regular basis and here’s a small example that came up in today’s legislative session — House Bill 4024, which allows six individuals to receive credit in the Cambridge Retirement System ($108m unfunded liability as of 2006) for time they spent as mid-wives at Cambridge Health Alliance. To be clear, I’m a big fan of mid-wives and I’m not sure what the Cambridge Health Alliance is (non-profit? municipal entity? other?). But the point is — the rules of the game should not […]

A Refreshing Start

The Globe’s Thursday editorial on the start of the new school year in Boston has an interesting comment from the new superintendent: Her attitude toward independent charter schools is instructive. Unions and school boards resent the competition. She doesn’t. “The monopoly is over,” says Johnson. “We have to earn the right to serve the kids next door.”

Massachusetts and the Copernican Principle

In rough terms, the Copernican Principle states that we should assume we are not special (i.e. the universe does not revolve around us). So why does Massachusetts think it’s so exceptional? Three examples: Auto Insurance — 49 other states have some form of managed competition. Why can’t we? I don’t pretend to know the ins and outs of the recently proposed reforms (start here and follow the links on the third page for the details). But how about this for a test — What do we have to do to get Geico, Progressive, and Allstate to offer car insurance in this state? Police Details — This is an old story worth repeating — 49 other states use paid flaggers on […]