Ben Forman

Research Director, MassINC

About Ben Forman

Benjamin Forman is MassINC’s research director. He coordinates the development of the organization’s research agenda and oversees production of research reports. Ben has authored a number of MassINC publications and he speaks frequently to organizations and media across Massachusetts.

About Ben Forman

Benjamin Forman is MassINC’s research director. He coordinates the development of the organization’s research agenda and oversees production of research reports. Ben has authored a number of MassINC publications and he speaks frequently to organizations and media across Massachusetts.

Stories by Ben Forman

Harnessing the ‘Third Way’ to improve communities

Harnessing the ‘Third Way’ to improve communities

Education and community health can benefit from new approach

WHEN I WAS in graduate school studying urban planning in the early-2000s, there was a lot of talk about how cities need “good” schools, but surprisingly little discussion or study about how you build community to nurture a good school, and vice versa. Luckily, I had the opportunity to work for a professor engaged in(...)

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Massachusetts should clear juvenile records

Massachusetts should clear juvenile records

Research shows 'expungement' leads to lower adult arrest rates, higher grad rates

A WHO’S WHO crowd of criminal justice leaders gathered at the Seaport Hotel on Monday for the annual fundraising breakfast for the Chelsea-based nonprofit Roca, which works to steer high-risk young people toward positive pursuits. Addressing the audience, Gov. Charlie Baker reflected on recent efforts to increase prison education—a practice that has long been understood to(...)

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Providing opportunities for all

Providing opportunities for all

Economic development bill hold great promise -- if used the right way

GOV. CHARLIE BAKER introduced a major economic development package last week. Reading the tea leaves, one conclusion can be drawn for sure: The administration is serious about empowering its leaders to put forward bold ideas. Line by line, the legislation reflects the energy and insight for which Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash(...)

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Universal, broader screenings of students needed

Universal, broader screenings of students needed

Approach would support social-emotional learning efforts

THE OPIOID LEGISLATION taken up by the House this week excludes a controversial provision from the Senate bill requiring public schools to screen all students in grades 7 through 10 for substance abuse problems. As the bill moves to conference committee, an opening remains to build on the spirit of the Senate’s screening provision with(...)

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Moving beyond Boston

Moving beyond Boston

Other states have many successful regions within their borders. Why doesn’t Massachusetts?

SPRINGFIELD WAS ONCE synonymous with innovation. Today the city that produced the first tire, the first car, the first motorcycle, and the first commercial radio station is counting on a casino to drive growth. Springfield’s lost industrial prowess comes at a cost to the entire Pioneer Valley economy. Gateway Cities in other parts of the state(...)

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Fact-checking the state’s incarceration rate

Fact-checking the state’s incarceration rate

Massachusetts ranks low, but only if viewed in narrow context

In the debate over mandatory minimum sentences and corrections reform, those resisting major changes say there is little need for wholesale reform because the state incarceration rate is so low. The available data suggest they are correct, but only if that information is viewed in a narrow context. Figures compiled by the US Department of(...)

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We need to reverse course on mandatory minimums

We need to reverse course on mandatory minimums

Sentences discriminate and don't improve public safety

AT LAST MONTH’S second annual Massachusetts Criminal Justice Reform Summit, we heard two opposing views on the public safety impact of mandatory sentences for drug offenders. One camp, represented by Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants, held that the practice has been a costly failure, with particularly dire consequences for minority communities. The other(...)

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How about a Gateway Cities Olympics?

How about a Gateway Cities Olympics?

Boston focus is far too narrow

EVEN NAYSAYERS BELIEVE the 2024 Olympic bid is a rare opportunity to generate fresh ideas about the future of the Commonwealth. For a productive conversation, a shared understanding of priorities is required. It will always be hard to generate consensus in a state with so much diversity, but if there is one issue on which(...)

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Collaborative leadership up against the charter school cap

Can we develop a smarter way to authorize new charters in the future?

Leaders in Brockton and Fitchburg are distressed by the reaction to last week’s news that charters will not be awarded to applicants looking to open new schools in their communities. This episode is yet another example of how the debate around charters has become toxic. Having witnessed how hard educators in Brockton and Fitchburg have(...)

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Secretary of State John Kerry soldiers on

As John Kerry embarks on his “Thank you, Massachusetts” tour, his move out of the shadow of Ted Kennedy is complete. While Kennedy’s heart was solidly in Massachusetts, the Vietnam veteran and son of a Foreign Service officer, focused on the world beyond the Bay State. At his confirmation hearing, Kerry commented that in his(...)

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