Pioneer Institute has been offering a series on curricular resources for parents, families, and teachers during COVID-19, covering topics ranging from art and music education, to mathematics and Shakespeare, compiled by Pioneer’s Jamie Gass. We proudly share these resources below.

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“America Today is on Bended Knee” – 20th Anniversary of 9/11 – 20 Resources for Parents & Students

The heroic stories of 9/11 are part of our national consciousness and memory. It’s the duty and obligation of the living and those who survived to pass along this history to the next generation. As Americans mourn the events of 20 years ago, while in the midst of another national crisis during COVID-19, let’s recommit ourselves to teaching students and the younger generation about seminal events like 9/11 that still shape our world today. To support this effort, we’re offering a variety of resources to help parents, teachers, and high school students.

“Key of the Gulf” – Exploring Cuba – 35 Resources for Parents & Students

Castro’s despotism, the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Embargo, remains the Cuban people – vibrant, creative, pious, and poor, who have continued to inspire and awe with their smiles, culture, music, dance, food, tobacco, resilience, and hopes. With the desire of passing along some of this magic to American families, students, teachers, and schools, we’re providing a variety of resources to educate our people about their neighbors, who live a mere 100 miles from our shores, in Cuba.

The Globe’s Ornaments – Celebrating the Great Cities of the Ages – 35 Resources for Parents & Students

Celebrating the Great Cities of the Ages - This is part of Pioneer’s ongoing series of blogs on curricular resources for parents, teachers, and students during COVID-19.

Jeeves & Wooster’s World The Comic Genius of P.G. Wodehouse – 30 Resources for Parents & Students

Life and writing can and should be playful, witty, light, fun, and make us smile. This is particularly important during the hard realities and sometimes loneliness of COVID, lockdowns, masks, and the increasingly stilted use of language today. To provide some much-needed comic relief and to help people of all age groups glory in the English language, take ourselves less seriously, and laugh more – please enjoy the world of P.G. Wodehouse!

Elevating Liberal Democracy Above Fragmentation – 30 Resources for Citizens and Schools

In Pioneer’s ongoing series of blogs on curricular resources for parents, families, and teachers during COVID-19, this one focuses on: Elevating Liberal Democracy Above Fragmentation.

“Hellhound on My Trail” Celebrating American Blues Music – 35 Resources for Students

As music historian Ted Gioia tells us, the blues are disappearing from popular music, because of modern technology and it not being taught. American schoolchildren need to know more about the basics of blues music history and its many African-American geniuses, who reshaped the sounds and rhythms of all peoples across the globe. To remedy this, we’re offering a variety of resources to help parents, teachers, and high schoolers.

Celebrating American Independence! – 50 Resources on America’s Founding for Schoolchildren & Citizens

American schoolchildren need to know more about the basic history of and lessons from the American Revolution and War for Independence, including perhaps the greatest leader and hero the country has ever produced, George Washington. To do our small part to help the cause, we’re offering a variety of resources to help parents, teachers, schoolchildren, and citizens better celebrate the Fourth of July!

“The Jazz Age” – 1920s America – 50 Resources for High School Students

American schoolchildren need to know more about the basics of the history of and lessons from the 1920s, which did as much as any decade to shape our modern country in the last century. To remedy this, we’re offering a variety of resources to help parents, teachers, and high schoolers:

Monarchs of the Sea – American Boats, Ships, & their Captains – 40 Resources for High School Students

In Pioneer’s ongoing series of blogs on curricular resources for parents, families, and teachers during COVID-19, this one focuses on: Celebrating American Boats, Ships, & their Captains.

The People’s House The U.S. House Representatives – 40 Resources for High School Students

American schoolchildren need to know more about the basic civics and history of our key democratic institutions. To remedy this, we’re offering a variety of resources to help parents, teachers, and high schoolers:

The Spirit Enlightened Celebrating Classical Music – 50 Resources for High School Students

In Pioneer’s ongoing series of blogs on curricular resources for parents, families, and teachers during COVID-19, this one focuses on: Celebrating Classical Music.

“Ballast for the Ship of State” – The U.S. Senate – 40 Resources for High School Students

The U.S. Senate’s vital, though sometimes dormant, authority in the face of the Imperial Presidency means few Americans and schoolchildren truly understand its constitutional role and inner workings. To remedy this, we’re offering a variety of resources to help parents, teachers, and high schoolers.

Neptune’s Domain – Oceans, Seas, & Their Creatures- 25 Resources for K-12 Students

Since water is all around us and in us, students should know more about the major bodies of water that shape our planet and our lives, including: what we eat, how we travel, our trade, our wars, and the many fascinating creatures who live in the oceans and seas. In fact, scientists estimate that 91 percent of ocean species remain unclassified, and over eighty percent of our ocean is unmapped and unexplored. We clearly have more work ahead of us to better understand the water that covers most of our world. To assist in this aquatic discovering, mapping, and exploring, we’re offering a variety of resources to help parents, teachers, and K-12 students.

A Republic of Laws – The U.S. Supreme Court – 40 Resources for High School Students

In Pioneer’s ongoing series of blogs on curricular resources for parents, families, and teachers during COVID-19, this one focuses on: Celebrating the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The Road to the Stars” – U.S. Space Exploration – 25 Resources for K-12 Students

In Pioneer’s ongoing series of blogs on curricular resources for parents, families, and teachers during COVID-19, this one focuses on: Celebrating U.S. Space Exploration.

“The Business of America is Business” – 25 Resources for High School Students

In Pioneer’s ongoing series of blogs on curricular resources for parents, families, and teachers during COVID-19, this one focuses on: Celebrating American Free-Market Capitalism.

“Be Strong, Saith My Heart” – National Poetry Month – 40 Resources for K-12 Students

In Pioneer’s ongoing series of blogs on curricular resources for parents, families, and teachers during COVID-19, this one focuses on: Celebrating National Poetry Month.

Never Forgetting – Holocaust Remembrance Day – 25 Resources for K-12 Students

In Pioneer’s ongoing series of blogs here, on curricular resources for parents, families, and teachers during COVID-19, this one focuses on: Memorializing International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27th and learning about the tragedy of the Holocaust during WWII.

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VIDEO: LET’S BE THERE FOR STUDENTS

Let’s Be There for Students

The two exceptional Catholic schools, Boston College High School and Saint Joseph Prep, featured in this video have been successful at helping students transition to remote learning, offering consistent, structured, rigorous, and supportive instructional programs during COVID. Their leaders, Grace Cotter Regan, President of Boston College High School in South Boston, and Scott Poponyak, Director of Academic Enrichment at Saint Joseph Prep in Brighton, sat down with Pioneer to share their experiences with maintaining high-quality learning environments during the COVID-19 crisis. As noted at the end of the video by Mary Z. Connaughton, mom of Catholic school students and Pioneer’s Director of Government Transparency, we know all kids want to learn, and we at Pioneer seek to help equip parents, teachers, and students with the tools they need to help students meet their potential every day, whether at home or in a classroom. Please watch and share the video & click this link to learn more! https://pioneerinstitute.org/covidlea…

RELATED RESEARCH

Poll Finds Charter Schools Widely and Broadly Popular in Massachusetts

More than six years after the failure of a statewide ballot initiative that would have increased the number of charter public schools in Massachusetts, a poll shows that 62 percent either strongly or somewhat favor them, with only 16 percent opposed.

Study Urges Massachusetts to Embrace Innovative School Models

A new policy brief from Pioneer Institute urges Massachusetts policymakers to encourage the proliferation and progress of non-traditional models that offer families creative, flexible, personalized and low-cost private education options.

Poll Finds Strong Majority of Massachusetts Residents Support Restoring U.S. History MCAS Graduation Requirement

Sixty-two percent of Massachusetts residents support restoring passage of a U.S. history test as a public high school graduation requirement, according to a poll of Massachusetts residents’ attitudes toward education policy commissioned by Pioneer Institute and conducted by the Emerson College Polling Center.

Two Stars in a Glowing Voc-Tech Education System

“A Tale of Two City Schools: Worcester Tech and Putnam Academy Become Models for Recovery” is a new white paper by Pioneer Institute that analyzes how Worcester Tech and Putnam Academy — schools with high numbers of low-income and special needs students — leapt from the bottom of Massachusetts voc-tech rankings to become leaders among local schools.

Toolkit Highlights Keys to Massachusetts’s Vocational-Technical School Success

Alternating weeks of academic and vocational education, school autonomy, and close ties with local businesses have been key to the success of Massachusetts's  vocational-technical high schools, according to a report published today by Pioneer Institute.

Book Finds Massachusetts Voc-Tech Schools Are National Model, Calls for Expansion

Massachusetts vocational-technical schools -- boasting minuscule dropout rates, strong academic performance, and graduates prepared for careers or higher education -- should be expanded to meet growing demand, according to a new book published by Pioneer Institute.

METCO Works Well, Small Tweaks Could Make It Even Better, Study Says

The Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity, or METCO program, has successfully educated thousands of students for 56 years, but several minor changes could make it even better, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.

Pioneer Institute Statement on the Latest State Audit of the Boston Public Schools

The third review of the Boston Public Schools (BPS) in fewer than 20 years makes clear: Things are getting worse.  Graduation rates are down, achievement gaps are up, an unacceptably large percentage of students attend schools ranked in the lowest 10 percent statewide. In a cruel twist, more than three in five students still are not taught material on which they are tested. There remains no clear strategy for improvement.  

Study Finds Continued Growth in Education Tax-Credit Scholarship Programs

Education tax credits grew increasingly popular in 2021, with four more states enacting programs.  There are now 28 tax-credit scholarship (TCS) programs in 23 states, and they serve more than 325,000 students, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.

Study Recommends State Receivership for Boston Public Schools

After 15 years of rapid decline marked by low overall performance, yawning achievement gaps, instability, bureaucratic inertia and central office ineffectiveness in the Boston Public Schools (BPS), the Commonwealth should initiate receivership of the district, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.

New Study Shows What Works for Civics Education

Americans strongly disagree about how our K-12 schools should teach our system of self-government. Dozens of organizations offer rival civics education resources and many of them don't work. A new study published jointly by Pioneer Institute and the National Association of Scholars offers in-depth evaluations of 15 leading civics programs, grades them on their effectiveness, and offers recommendations for how Americans should build upon these programs.

Study Finds Massachusetts Would Benefit from Adopting Education Savings Accounts

Massachusetts provides fewer options for students to be educated outside their assigned school districts than most other states do, and educational savings accounts (ESAs) offer an effective tool for giving students additional opportunities, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.

THE LEARNING CURVE PODCAST

39th U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky for National Poetry Month

 Boston University professor, Robert Pinsky discusses his memoir Jersey Breaks: Becoming an American Poet; the enduring influence of sacred texts like the Psalms; and the wide cultural significance of classic poets like Homer and Shakespeare.

U.S. Chamber Foundation’s Hilary Crow on K-12 Civics Education

U.S. Chamber Foundation VP, Hilary Crow discusses the state of K-12 civics, emphasizing the Chamber Foundation’s role in addressing America’s wide civic education deficits. Crow highlights a recent national civics survey, alarming civic literacy gaps, and links between political unrest and our nation’s educational shortcomings in K-12 civics.

UCLA’s Ronald Mellor on Tacitus, Roman Emperors, & Despotism

Dr. Mellor delves into the enduring influence of Tacitus, the great Roman historian, on both America’s Founding Fathers and contemporary understanding of politics and government. He discusses Tacitus's insights on the early Roman emperors, unchecked authority, moral judgment of leadership, and the decline of the Roman Republic, as well as ancient lessons for modern governance.

Tufts Prof. Elizabeth Setren on METCO’s Proven Results

Prof. Setren discusses her recent study of METCO, a pioneering voluntary school desegregation program under which Massachusetts students in Boston and Springfield are bused to surrounding suburban districts. She discusses METCO's history, the academic performance of students in the program, enrollment challenges, long-term benefits, and disparities among students.

Pulitzer Winner Joan Hedrick on Harriet Beecher Stowe & Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Prof. Hedrick discusses Harriet Beecher Stowe's wide literary influence on U.S. history. From her abolitionist activism to the publication of international bestseller Uncle Tom's Cabin, they explore Stowe's New England upbringing, anti-slavery convictions, and lasting impact on American literature and social reform in the 19th century.

Dr. Adrian Mims on The Calculus Project & STEM

Dr. Mims navigates through the contentious "math wars" and underscores the pivotal role of Algebra I as a gateway to higher math. He also evaluates the negative impact of Common Core math standards, and proposes strategies to combat pandemic-induced learning setbacks and bridge the gap in math proficiency between American students and their international counterparts.

Yale University Pulitzer Winner Beverly Gage on J. Edgar Hoover & the FBI

Yale Prof. Beverly Gage, author of "G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American," delves into the enigmatic life and career of J. Edgar Hoover, tracing his formative years in Washington, D.C., his rise to prominence as director of the FBI, and his enduring influence on American law enforcement and politics.

UK U-Warwick’s Benjamin Smith on Mexico’s Cartels & Drug Trade

Prof. Benjamin Smith, author of The Dope: The Real History of the Mexican Drug Trade, provides insights into various aspects of the Mexican drug trade, including its historical context and the evolution of illicit drug products over time. He discusses key cartels and their methods, the impact of the drug trade on Mexico's murder rates, the immense financial scale of the trade, its effect on Mexico and the U.S., and the challenges law enforcement face in combating it. Smith explores the relationship among Mexican cartels, other foreign countries, and the illicit drug market in the U.S.

DFER-MA’s Mary Tamer on MCAS & Teacher Strikes

Mary Tamer focuses on the historic impact of the 1993 Massachusetts Education Reform Act on the commonwealth’s students’ high achievement on national and international measures. She explores the politics of the Massachusetts Teachers Association advocating against the MCAS test as a graduation requirement. In closing, Ms. Tamer also discusses the rise of teacher strikes and their implications for education reform in the Bay State.

U-TN’s Robert Norrell on Booker T. Washington & Voc-Tech

Prof. Robert Norrell explores Booker T. Washington's early life in slavery, his transformative leadership at Tuskegee Institute amidst Jim Crow racism, and his advocacy for vocational education as a means for racial uplift. He also discusses Washington’s 1901 autobiography, Up From Slavery; his controversial White House dinner with President Theodore Roosevelt; and his often overlooked legacy following the activism of the 1960s Civil Rights era.

BC’s Dr. Matthias von Davier on TIMSS & K-12 Global STEM

Dr. von Davier explores his educational background and its influence on directing TIMSS & PIRLS, shedding light on psychometrics and standardized testing. He discusses the shift in education policy's focus, the global education data landscape, and the pandemic's effects on K-12 education around the world. Dr. von Davier addresses the alarming decline in U.S. educational performance, emphasizing the urgency to bridge achievement gaps. Drawing from international experiences, he highlights global examples for American policymakers from higher-performing countries, emphasizing the crucial links between education, skills, and innovation on the global economy.

ExcelinEd’s Dr. Cara Candal on National School Choice Week

Dr. Candal delves into the evolving landscape of K-12 education in the U.S., examining the expansion of private school choice programs post- U.S. Supreme Court decisions, changing political dynamics around charter schools, strategies of the national school choice movement in low-performing states, the role of parent-driven models during the pandemic, the significance of voc-tech education, and addressing underperformance and achievement gaps.

NYT Bestseller Jonathan Eig on the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Jonathan Eig delves into MLK's early spiritual leadership, the influence of Langston Hughes on his speeches, his relationship with his wife, Coretta Scott King, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's challenges. He discusses historic events in Birmingham, Alabama, the March on Washington, MLK's struggles in Chicago, the Poor People's Campaign, and the events leading to his assassination in 1968. Eig underscores the multifaceted aspects of MLK's life and provides insights on drawing lessons for contemporary challenges in race relations and leadership.

Olympic Track Medalist Gabby Thomas

Gabby Thomas, Pioneer Valley native, Harvard alum in neurobiology, and Olympic sprinter, won bronze and silver in Tokyo, she also pursued a master's in epidemiology. She shares her journey excelling both in academics and athletics.

T.J. Stiles on Cornelius Vanderbilt & American Business

T.J. Stiles delves into the life of America’s first tycoon, Cornelius Vanderbilt, exploring his rise to historic wealth in steamboats, shipping, and railroads. He discusses Vanderbilt's legal battles, philanthropy, and enduring legacy, exploring his business competitiveness and wide impact on 19th-century America’s economy.

Carol Zaleski on The Lord of the Rings & Narnia

Prof. Carol Zaleski discusses the literary impact of the Inklings, focusing on J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, exploring their lives, works, and enduring moral contributions in today's cultural landscape.

Emily Hanford on Reading Science & K-12 Literacy

Emily Hanford, host of the hit podcast Sold a Story: How Teaching Kids to Read Went So Wrong, discusses the science of reading, the long whole language v. phonics debate, the impact of the digital age on learning, and the importance of academic background knowledge for children becoming better readers.

Francine Klagsbrun on Golda Meir’s Leadership and the State of Israel

This week on The Learning Curve, Francine Klagsbrun, author of "Lioness: Golda Meir and the Nation of Israel," discusses the remarkable life and legacy of the woman who left Kiev as a child, grew up in Milwaukee, emigrated to Mandatory Palestine, was a signatory to the declaration of independence for the state of Israel, and rose to become that nation's fourth prime minister.

Hillsdale’s Dr. Kathleen O’Toole on K-12 Classical Education

Dr. O'Toole explores Hillsdale's mission and its impact on K-12 education, delving into classical education, Greco-Roman ideals, Enlightenment principles, and the college’s efforts to enhance education. She discusses the challenges faced in exporting Hillsdale's model to K-12 public schooling, critiques of American education, and the role of the liberal arts in fostering academic unity amidst societal divisions.

National Alliance’s Nina Rees on Charter Public Schools in America

Prof. Albert Cheng and Charlie Chieppo interview Nina Rees from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools on policy gains, charter school growth, challenges, debates, federal spending, and academic recommendations.

Harvard Prof. Leo Damrosch on Jonathan Swift & Gulliver’s Travels

Harvard Prof. Leo Damrosch discusses Jonathan Swift's satirical genius, political critiques, and literary legacy. He emphasizes Swift's wit, insights, and commitment to liberty, and closes the interview with a reading from his book, Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World.

Vanderbilt’s Dr. Carol Swain on U.S. History, Race, & 1776 Unites

Dr. Carol Swain, a political scientist, discusses her background, experiences with discrimination, faith's role in justice, and her work with 1776 Unites and public intellectuals on The Learning Curve podcast.

Leslie Klinger on Sherlock Holmes, Horror Stories, & Halloween

Mr. Klinger discusses Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, Edgar Allan Poe's influence on the detective genre, and the significance of 19th-century horror stories such as Dracula, Frankenstein, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in popular culture.

Pioneer’s U.S. History & Civics Book with Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola discusses Pioneer's new book "Restoring the City on a Hill: U.S. History & Civics in America's Schools" based on U.S. K-12 history and civics education, highlighting declining standards, leadership importance, crisis, primary sources, and state profiles, underscoring academic content's value.

Prof. Jeff Broadwater on George Mason, Federalism, & the Bill of Rights

Prof. Broadwater delves into Mason's views on constitutionalism, federalism, leadership among Anti-Federalists, and concerns regarding emerging commercial interests. He emphasizes Mason's belief in civic virtue as the bedrock of American self-governance and even provides a reading from his biography on George Mason.

Former D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty on School Reform

Former D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty discusses his education reforms with Michelle Rhee, addressing DCPS challenges, politics, leadership transitions, and teacher unions in urban education reform.

UCLA’s Prof. James Stigler on Teaching & Learning Math

Professor Stigler discusses the enduring teaching and learning challenges in U.S. STEM education, international student achievement, math pedagogy debates, and international standardized tests. He explains possible strategies for mitigating COVID-19-related learning loss.

UK’s Laura Thompson on Agatha Christie, Queen of Crime Mystery

In this week's episode of The Learning Curve, guest co-hosts Mariam Memarsadeghi and Mary Connaughton interview Laura Thompson, author of "Agatha Christie: A Mysterious Life." Ms. Thompson discusses into Agatha Christie's life, her iconic characters, and her impact on the mystery genre, including adaptations of her works in film and theater, as well as her mysterious 1926 disappearance. The interview concludes with a reading from Thompson's biography of Agatha Christie.

John Steele Gordon on America’s Economic Rise

This week on The Learning Curve, guest co-hosts Charlie Chieppo and Derrell Bradford interview John Steele Gordon, the author of 10 books on business, economic, and technology history. They discuss the keys to America’s transformation into the world’s foremost economic power and its economic prospects for competitiveness in the twenty-first century.

Dr. Ramachandra Guha on Gandhi’s Enduring Legacy

This week on The Learning Curve, guest co-hosts Charlie Chieppo and Mariam Memarsadeghi interview writer and biographer Dr. Ramachandra Guha. The author of the definitive two-volume biography of Mohandas K. Gandhi, Guha discusses Gandhi’s formative educational experiences, spirituality, political leadership, and philosophy of nonviolent resistance.

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