This Week at Pioneer

That was then, this is now… MA Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester in 2004:

“Most of the states made a commitment to standards for students that predates No Child Left Behind. What No Child Left Behind did was mandate the yearly measurement of progress toward meeting those standards and then to report the results publicly. Very often, responses to accountability and the No Child Left Behind law are defined by the sense of urgency with which one hopes to change the current educational system. In Ohio, and in many other places, the people most resistant to accountability measures are very often employed by the education establishment: They’re resistant to having inferences drawn about their effectiveness. But people outside the system-that is, parents and community members-share a great sense of urgency about pushing the system in a new direction. What the accountability system does, and what No Child Left Behind does, is create some transparency in the system and put those of us in the education profession in a position of having to confront the realities about the kind of achievement we’re accomplishing with kids-especially kids from groups that traditionally have not been well-served by schools. That’s uncomfortable, but it’s an opportunity to rethink the system, which is very positive.

http://www.gse.harvard.edu/new…

Commissioner Chester in today’s Boston Globe:  

Mitchell Chester, commissioner of elementary and secondary education, said the requirement that 100 percent of students be “proficient” on state exams by 2014 – a key part of the federal act – has lost credibility as an increasing number of schools and districts fail to demonstrate yearly progress in getting more students to perform at that level.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/met…

and

http://www.boston.com/Boston/m…

So, why the change of heart, Commissioner? In the same piece, Pioneer’s Jamie Gass makes the case that Massachusetts is backsliding on high expectations for student achievement by seeking a waiver from NCLB.

The Joint Cmte on Education held a hearing yesteray on dropout prevention. Jim Stergios says Massachusetts should work to reduce its dropout rate by adopting proven methods of success, and not get bogged down with new proposals to add layers of staff.

http://www.boston.com/communit…  

Pioneer is working hard to make public information more accessible. Greater transparency can help citizens keep watch over how their government is spending their money, and it can help public officials share best practices. Here are a few of our initiatives that serve each purpose:

PioneerMuniShare.org –  http://pioneermunishare.org/

This is an innovative best practices clearinghouse that gives municipal leaders easy access to studies executed for and by cities and towns across the country on issues ranging from education, environment, finance/budget, and health & human services, to housing, IT, infrastructure/transportation, and public safety, among many other areas.

MuckRock –  http://www.pioneerinstitute.or…

Through our partnership with Michael Morisy of MuckRock, we bring you primary source material uncovered through public records requests regarding Massachusetts policymaking. We hope that our original findings on economic development, tax incentives, education, and health care will become a resource for public officials, investigative reporters, and citizens like you. Check back soon for MuckRock’s next blog post, which reviews public records related to the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector.

MassOpenBooks – Citizens, public officials, investigative journalists can use this tool to find out state employees’ salaries, state retirees’ pensions, and every payment made by every state agency.  We are about to announce a new and improved version – look for that soon!

We hope that you’ll visit us at: http://www.pioneerinstitute.or…  

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This Week at Pioneer

Your 2.3 million tax dollars at work:

EBT cards are supposed to be used for food, clothing, and staples for the most needy, but Team 5 reporters found $ millions were used for out-of-state travel to Hawaii, Vegas, Florida and other exotic locales; $200 on nail care in Miami; purchases at Whole Foods and Dave & Busters, etc. Pioneer’s Jim Stergios, in this clip, calls it “absolutely wrong” and urges an audit: http://www.thebostonchannel.co…

BLOG: In New England, Massachusetts leads job growth – for state employees

“While I still hold out hope that one day we’ll get an answer about how headcounts grew throughout round after round of supposed layoffs, it might be more practical in the meantime to compare the Commonwealth to its peers to better understand how other state governments have handled a reduction in income when it comes to their staffing levels. Massachusetts leads the pack in state public hiring in New England.” Read more here. http://www.pioneerinstitute.or…

Pioneer is releasing a new book this November, Healthy Federalism – it will feature chapters by national experts, covering the federal-state relationship, the most meaningful state reforms, and a fact-based assessment of Massachusetts’ so-called RomneyCare. To receive exclusive updates and previews, sign up here: https://docs.google.com/spread…

If you were unable to make it to our Better Government Awards Dinner last week, but you’re curious about what our Keynote Speaker, Governor Rick Perry, had to say, click here to watch the full address:

http://www.pioneerinstitute.or…

Yesterday, we brought state education leaders and reformers from across the country together for a very lively forum on changing the education bureaucracy. We’ll make video clips available soon.

We hope that you’ll visit us at: http://www.pioneerinstitute.or…  

And consider becoming more involved in our important work by:

– Attending our events

– Signing up for our e-updates http://server1.streamsend.com/…

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– Making a donation http://www.pioneerinstitute.or…

 

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This Week at Pioneer

Pioneer’s Better Government Awards Dinner featuring Texas Gov. Rick Perry was a HUGE success. Here’s a video clip courtesy of the Boston Herald:

More coverage from all over the place…

http://www.boston.com/news/pol…

http://www.bostonherald.com/ne…

http://www.thebostonchannel.co…

http://www.boston.com/news/pol…

http://www.thebostonchannel.co…

http://politicalticker.blogs.c…

http://www.washingtonpost.com/…

http://www.salon.com/wires/pol…

http://www.ajc.com/news/nation…

We’ll make a video clip and pics available soon.

We have another event coming up – this one will not feature a presidential candidate – but it’s free! On Sept. 20th, join us for a lively panel discussion and addresses from three Education Commissioners from Texas, Indiana, and Rhode Island on the topic, “Changing the Bureaucracy: State Depts of Education and State-led Reforms.” To learn more details and to RSVP, please email bpatterson at pioneerinstitute.org asap.  

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This Week at Pioneer

As Pioneer busily prepares to welcome Texas Governor Rick Perry to Boston for our Better Government Awards Dinner in less than a week, we are releasing new research on a topic he knows well: tort reform. Under Gov. Perry’s watch, Texas has enacted some of the most extensive legislation in the country to reduce malpractice claims and insurance rates.

Our health care policy director Josh Archambault thinks we have an opportunity this fall for much-needed reform here in the Bay State. Watch this brief clip of highlights from our new report, Innovative Medical Liability Reform:

 

Last week, Josh asked: Is the Obama Administration Rethinking the Massachusetts Model? Click here to find out what sparked the question:

http://www.pioneerinstitute.or…

http://commonhealth.wbur.org/2…

How do we explain the shift in popular opinion toward unionized labor? Read Jim Stergios’ take in the New York Post: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/o…

Join us on September 20th for an event featuring school chiefs from across the country: Deborah Gist, Commissioner of Education, Rhode Island; Robert Scott, Commissioner of Education, Texas; and Tony Bennett, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Indiana. Massachusetts’ former Commissioner David Driscoll, who oversaw the implementation of the state’s landmark education reform law, will participate in a panel of experts to share their insights.

http://www.pioneerinstitute.or…

The state’s failure to restore a US History MCAS graduation requirement has meant that history is a shrinking part of the curriculum in Massachusetts schools. Over Labor Day weekend, Pioneer’s Jamie Gass and Charlie Chieppo asked how we can be sure that our children understand the context of the current national debate over collective bargaining if we’re not teaching them US History? Read more in the Lowell Sun, the New Bedford Standard-Times and the Providence Journal.  

http://www.lowellsun.com/ci_18…

http://www.southcoasttoday.com…

http://www.projo.com/opinion/c…

We hope that you’ll visit us at: http://www.pioneerinstitute.or…  

And consider becoming more involved in our important work by:

– Attending our events

– Signing up for our e-updates http://server1.streamsend.com/…

– Liking us (and commenting!) on our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/Pionee…

– Following us on Twitter http://twitter.com/PioneerBoston and/or

– Making a donation http://www.pioneerinstitute.or…

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