This Week at Pioneer

Join Pioneer for a FREE preview screening of Won’t Back Down tomorrow night (Thursday, September 27th) at 5:30 pm. 

Location:  AMC Loews Boston Common, 175 Tremont Street, Boston, MA  02111

Register here – registration is required!

Inspired by true events, this is the story of two working moms (played by Academy Award nominated actresses Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis) who battle entrenched and powerful special interests to transform their children’s failing inner city school. 

Won’t Back Down is released by Walden Media, the same production house that created nationally released hit films like The Chronicles of Narnia, Bridge to Terabithia, and Because of Winn-Dixie. Won’t Back Down has been described as gripping, emotional, and entertaining. Important for those of us interested in improving education in America, Won't Back Down has the potential to put the issue of school choice front and center in our national dialogue, and at kitchen tables across America.

Can't make this event but interested in school choice? Come to our upcoming breakfast policy forum (also free) on October 9th, “For Profit Charter School Management: International Lessons from SABIS with ames Tooley, Professor of Education Policy at Newcastle University and author of From Village School to Global Brand: Changing the World Through Education, and an all-star panel: Jim Peyser, New Schools Venture Fund; Basan Nembirkow, retired Superintendent; and Kathie Skinner, Massachusetts Teachers Association.

We want to thank everyone who attended our 21st annual Better Government Competition Awards Dinner. We'll have video available soon, but want to congratulate this year's winners, Grace-Marie Turner, Galen Institute, and Robert Helms, Ph.D., American Enterprise Institute, for their entry: Coordinated Care Management for Medicare and Medicaid Beneficiaries. You can read their entry and the runners up and special recognition awardees in our 21st Better Government Competition Compendium of Winning Ideas. Also check out this Providence Journal op-ed by Josh Archambault and Jim Stergios describing Massachusetts' plans to implement the ideas proposed in the winning entry.

Last week, we hosted an education policy event in which we released new research showing that Common Core national education standards will cut the amount of classic literature in K-12 classrooms by 50%. Here's coverage of it in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette (here and here), the New York Daily News.   

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This Week at Pioneer

Join us next Weds. (9/19) in Boston for a DEBATE on the quality of the national education standards with current and former Mass. Board of Education members, Mark Bauerlein, author of The Digital Divide: Writings for and Against Facebook, YouTube, Texting, and the Age of Social Networking and keynote addresses by Ron Powers, Mark Twain biographer and bestselling author of Flags of Our Fathers, and Harvard's Jocelyn Chadwick, who has written on some of the controversy surrounding reading The Adventures of Huckleberry FinnRSVP to bpatterson at


Stanley Kurtz on Fox News asks, should the White House control what your kids learn?

Crickets…crickets… Jim Stergios is Waiting for the Candidates to Debate Education Policy – He asks, can the Republicans provide a real alternative to the Democrats’ vision of a centralized Ministry of Education?

On Sept. 24th, national political commentator Michael Barone is here for our 2012 Better Government Competition Awards Dinner – six weeks out, get an expert's take on Election 2012 and what's at stake for the future of American government and policy. Buy your ticket today!

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This Week at Pioneer

Fact checking Gov. Patrick's DNC speech: The Boston Globe's Michael Levenson cites us in his coverage of the Governor's speech, and we noted that Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick's speech to the DNC conveniently glossed over the fact that MA student performance on the Nation's Report Card has FLATLINED under his administration.

And National Review's The Corner cited blogs by our Josh Archambault in calling out Gov. Patrick for repeatedly claiming to have “solved” Massachusetts’s structural deficit. “but this relies on, as Joshua Archambault of the Pioneer Institute has pointed out, unrealistic expectations about Medicaid and shameful cheating on pension accounting.”

Watching the conventions, Jim Stergios searches for clarity on which political party is for high academic standards, testing and charter schools (used to be Republicans), and which is for centralized policymaking in DC (used to be Democrats). Read his “Rock the Schoolhouse” post: Schools and Conventional Wisdom

Josh Archambault was cited in this New York Times story about Medicaid on the Campaign Trail:

Political commentator Michael Barone is the keynote speaker at our Better Government Competition Awards Dinner on Sept. 24th. Buy your tickets here

Hollow at the Core: Massachusetts education leaders abandoned their state's own high-quality curriculum standards and adopted weaker Common Core national education standards with few public hearings, no review of their cost, or even legality — but Pioneer is bringing the debate – join us on Weds., Sept. 19th for a free public forum that will feature a lively panel discussion about the national standards' quality, focusing on literature. Speakers include Dr. Sandra Stotsky, former MA Board of Education member and expert on Massachusetts' curriculum frameworks, Dr. Jeff Howard, current Board of Ed. member who voted for adoption of the Common Core national education standards, Dr. Mark Bauerlein, Emory professor and author of The Dumbest Generation, Robert Pondiscio of Core Knowledge, moderator David Steiner, Dean of the School of Education at Hunter College. Keynotes: Harvard professor Jocelyn Chadwick, Mark Twain scholar, and Ron Powers, Pulitzer Prize winning Mark Twain biographer and co-author of New York Times best-seller, Flags of Our Fathers. RSVP by emailing bpatterson at

This Labor Day weekend, the Boston Herald published this op-ed by Charles Chieppo & Jamie Gass about how Labor leader Albert Shanker would likely be appalled by the mockery supporters of Common Core national education standards have made of the democratic processes he held so dear. Common Core was developed almost entirely inside the Beltway by a small group of D.C.-based education trade organizations. 

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