Stay Connected!

Receive the latest updates in your inbox.


To tell the Whole Truth, Nothing but the Truth

Some people have noted that Pioneer is overstating the risk to education gains posed by the Governor’s proposal to “pack the board.” Some even take exception with the term “pack” which clearly refers to FDR’s notorious attempt to jam through legislation that could not pass muster at the Supreme Court. Well, none other than Governor Patrick’s pick to be Chairman of the Board of Education has opined against the major elements of the Governor’s plan: “So, Horace Mann and generations of subsequent leaders in the State House saw fit, for well over a century, to insulate educational policy from the ebb and flow of politics. This as accomplished by putting some distance between the chief policy making entity, the Board […]

MATCH School inspires my home town

The Mayor of my home town (Cumberland, RI), Daniel McKee, is engaged in a very interesting experiment. As Ed Week noted, if McKee: and a coalition of other Rhode Island town leaders have their way, they’ll ditch public education’s current bureaucracy and start over with a clean slate. It’s just not clear yet exactly what they will be able to write on it. The plan, as Mr. McKee and his Coalition of Communities Improving Rhode Island were planning to announce it late last week, is to set up a regional, mayorally headed network of charter schools—something that charter school experts say has never been attempted in quite the way the coalition is proposing. Yes, the Cumberland teachers union rep is […]

Some Good Bridge News

You may recall our recent report — Our Legacy of Neglect — that examined the condition of the Longfellow Bridge and the condition of our state’s assets. MSNBC has done an enterprising bit of reporting on national bridge inspection standards and come up with some shocking results — massive numbers of bridges go uninspected for more than two years at a time (the absolute maximum recommended time between inspections). The good news is that Massachusetts has none of these bridges, although some other states (Illinois, Arizona) look pretty shabby. Sadly, we are still in the top 3 for structurally deficient and functionally obsolete bridges (at more than 50%) but we have improved by .6% in a year! Finally, if you […]

More Commuter Rail Chatter

To make my bias plain, I’m a regular commuter rail user and a big fan. That said, Tuesday’s Globe had some dispiriting news about the newest commuter line — Greenbush. Its getting roughly 2700 riders per day (or around 1350 round-trip passengers) but a quarter of those are from another form of public transit — the commuter boat out of Hingham. So, we paid $500m+ to get about a thousand people a ride into the city (that’s a cool $500,000 per person). To be fair, the line may become more popular as time goes on, but this is not an encouraging sign. Looking back at the planning documents (see pg. 19 of this document), the seeds of this problem were […]

A bit like asking if we should build the South Coast rail link

A friend on Friday mentioned her visit to infamous Gravina Island. Ah, Gravina Island, you ask. Pray tell, where is that? You may recall a certain Bridge To Nowhere. You may also remember that at the end of the summer Governor Palin from her perch in the fair capital city, Juneau (yes, that is the capital), decided not to push for the construction of the BTN, thereby putting the $200+ million to use on other highways and bridges in the Last Frontier State. You may also recall that the BTN was to have run from the balmy (for Alaska) city of Ketchikan (pop. 8,000) to Gravina Island (home to 50 permanent residents). What I did not know was that the […]