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The United States is a nation of immigrants. And so is the region of Greater Boston. We've gone through waves of being more and less open to immigration, but the effect across recent generations has been a steadily diversifying population. Not only is racial diversity increasing in the aggregate, but a growing number of families are forming across racial and ethnic lines. Today, for instance, one in five babies born in Massachusetts is of mixed race or Latino ethnicity. The report provides detail on these shifting demographic patterns and engages with what they mean for our communities more broadly.
Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health;
A new study that quantifies the total and interstate deaths from transportation-related air pollution from five vehicle types in 12 states and Washington, D.C. has been published in Environmental Research Letters. The research was led by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health.The study is part of the Transportation, Equity, Climate, and Health project (TRECH), a multi-university research team from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston University, University of North Carolina, and Columbia University, which analyzes policy scenarios to address carbon pollution from the transportation sector.Key TakeawaysOzone and fine particulate matter from vehicle emissions in 2016 led to an estimated 7,100 deaths in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the U.S., and pollution from tailpipe emissions is also traveling across state lines, harming the health of people living in cities and states downwind.Region wide, light-duty trucks, which include SUVs, were responsible for the largest number of premature deaths at 2,463 followed by light-duty passenger vehicles (1,881) and heavy-duty trucks (1,465)All states experienced substantial health impacts from vehicle emissions and can gain health benefits from local action.New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey were hardest hit with health damages at $21 billion, $13 billion, and $12 billion, respectively, in 2016 (the most recent data available from EPA).Many states are heavily impacted by out-of-state emissions and some states cause more deaths out-of-state than in-state, including PA and NJ, highlighting the importance of region-wide action to reduce vehicle emissions.On a ton for ton basis, buses in the New York-Newark-Jersey City metropolitan area had the largest health damages at $4 million for every ton of particulate matter emitted.Ammonia emissions play a stronger relative role in causing health damages compared to oxides of nitrogen. Regionally, ammonia emissions from vehicles were responsible for 740 premature deaths in 2016, more than 10% of the total deaths. Ammonia emissions from vehicles are an unintended by-product of catalytic converters and are unregulated in the U.S., and their role in urban air pollution has been generally under appreciated.
Kitty and Michael Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University;
Recognizing the importance of immigrants to Greater Boston and the value of English classes and other supports to building an inclusive and welcoming community, the Boston Foundation and the Latino Legacy Fund commissioned a study that explores the "return on investment" (ROI) for teaching English to adults who are speakers of other languages. Known as ESOL programs, these services are an important component of adult education and a key piece of the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. The result of that study is this report, comprising an analysis of the region's ESOL landscape that provides background and context for the in-depth case studies and ROI estimates that follow.
Nellie Mae Education Foundation;
As schools move towards a 21st century model of preparing students for college and a career, it is becoming unnecessary to maintain a system based on time spent in the classroom, according to the report's authors. Rather, learning happens at different times in a variety of settings, and progress should be demonstrated by mastery of content, not merely grade promotion. In the proficiency-based systems examined in "Making Mastery Work", students advance at their own pace as part of a cycle of continuous learning and achievement. This mix of freedom and responsibility is positively impacting both the teaching and the learning at the ten schools studied by Nora Priest, Antonia Rudenstine and Ephraim Weisstein, the report's authors. Issues examined through the collected experiences of the participating schools include: the creation of a transparent mastery and assessment system, time flexibility, curriculum and instruction, leadership for competency education development, and the role of data and information technology in a competency-based education model.
Residential property management is easiest to do well and profitably when a large number of units are concentrated in a small number of properties located in close proximity. Many managers of residential rental property consider 150 to 200 units a minimum threshold for undertaking the management of a property. Many managers of affordable housing throughout New England and elsewhere, however, are operating without these advantages: their portfolios are modest in size; individual properties typically have less than 50 units and are often scattered over a large geographic area.Economies of scale can prove elusive for small properties or small portfolios. It is difficult to deploy management staff to administer and maintain properties over large geographic regions. Finally, many rural communities in New England have faced declining populations and softening real estate markets in recent years, creating further obstacles to profitable property management.We visited seven property management firms, both non-profit and for-profit, who are widely regarded as doing good work even in difficult environments to learn how some property managers faced these challenges successfully. They have portfolios that range in size from 65 to 2,000 units and from one to 65 entities. (An entity is any building or number of buildings that have the same ownership structure. All but one of the organizations manage less than 1,000 units. We also spoke with four firms in other parts of the country that face similar challenges. We found that while it may not always be possible to turn a profit, a well-run company can sustain high-quality affordable housing even in the face of these challenges.This article will highlight some of the successful strategies we observed are significant in managing small, rural or scattered properties.
Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy;
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) represents a dramatic expansion of the federal role in education and has profound implications for schools across the country and in Massachusetts. The Center for Education Research and Policy at MassINC selected and interviewed ten superintendents from Massachusetts in order to document and communicate their insights and concerns about NCLB's implementation in Massachusetts. The superintendents interviewed represented both large and small urban school districts that have been heavily impacted by NCLB provisions. Interviews focused on the following areas related to NCLB implementation: Assessing student progress and holding schools accountable; Providing public school choice and supplemental education services; Improving the qualifications of teachers and paraprofessionals; and Other specific issues identified by the superintendents. The brief is intended to clarify selected superintendents' key concerns, as well as suggest some direction for resolving these concerns at the national level.
Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy;
With few exceptions, urban high schools that serve high proportions of low-income and minority youth are failing to meet the academic needs of their students, according to a new study released by the Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy at MassINC. Using a range of indicators, some of which include: attendance rates, drop-out rates, college plan data, and MCAS scores, Head of the Class: Characteristics of Higher Performing Urban High Schools in Massachusetts identifies just one Bay State high school as "high performing:" University Park Campus School in Worcester.The report identifies eight other non-selective urban high schools that are on the road to success in helping their students achieve at high levels (the study's parameters were 50% minority and 45% low-income). The eight schools are: Academy of the Pacific Rim, Hyde Park, BostonLynn Classical High School, LynnAccelerated Learning Lab School (ALL), WorcesterMedia & Technology Charter High School (MATCH), BostonBoston Arts Academy, BostonSabis International Charter School, SpringfieldFenway High School, BostonSomerville High School, SomervilleThe report details five common practices that were found across all nine schools: High standards and expectations: Administrators communicate high standards and expectations for students and teachers;A culture of personalization: Each school has been able to develop a culture that personalizes instruction, while offering significant supports for teachers and students;Small learning communities: Size is critical to students and teachers forming strong, trusting relationships, and the ability of teachers to respond to student needs;Data-driven curricula: These schools respond to data on student performance - including those that put a heightened focus on math and literacy; andStrong community relationships: Parents, corporate partners, and higher education institutions provide important supports.The small number of schools identified in the report points to the existence of a persistent and far-reaching achievement gap, despite the important gains made in student learning since the Massachusetts Education Reform Act was passed in 1993. Educators and policymakers concerned about achieving high standards for all students in the Commonwealth need to attend to this stark disparity with urgency.
Nellie Mae Education Foundation;
Finds that most New England states will suffer declines in the percentage of young workers holding Bachelor's degrees by the year 2020 if current educational and demographic trends continue.
Pew Environment Group;
Documents the decline of the New England fishing industry as a result of mismanagement, presents examples of successful and sustainable fisheries, and examines the viability of proposed community-based, fishermen-run cooperatives as a solution.
This brief draws on two sources of data, a survey and state-collected tax revenue data, and finds that marriages have had a positive economic effect on Massachusetts -- likely providing a boost of over $100 million to the state economy. Same-sex couples' weddings injected significant spending into the Massachusetts economy and brought out-of-state guests to the state, whose spending also added to the economic boost.
Earn a reputation for achieving results and, more often than not, your organization will face a flow -- perhaps even a flood -- of requests to expand. Responding eagerly to as many as possible is a natural reaction, not only because it seems like the right thing to do, but also because saying "no" can be so very hard. But, altruism aside, saying "yes" to any and all comers has its problems. It effectively puts others in the driver's seat when it comes to your strategic direction and priorities.Consider the experience of MY TURN, Inc. Over its first 20 years, MY TURN had grown to be a leading provider of vocational and educational services to youth in southeastern Massachusetts, largely by responding to requests from neighboring communities. With documented proof that the MY TURN model worked and multiple national awards for excellence in serving youth, its management and board were ready to accelerate growth and expand regionally. But faced with more opportunities than MY TURN possibly could take on, they wanted to understand which to seize and which to let pass by.
Immigrant Learning Center, Inc.;
Immigrant entrepreneurs are co-founders in 25.7 percent of Massachusetts Biotechnology firms. In 2006, these immigrant-founded biotechnology companies produced over $7.6 billion dollars in sales and employed over 4,000 workers. The foreign-born founders came from across the globe but in larger numbers from Europe, Canada or Asia. Their firms specialize in the most complex, risky, life science-intensive aspects of biotechnology to seek knowledge directly applicable to human health. Biotechnology is a crucial industry for Massachhusetts and the evidence strongly suggests that immigrants have been key contributors to this industry by establishing new businesses as well as bringing intellectual capital and thereby contributing significantly to the overall economic growth of the Commonwealth.