Spring 2014

Spring 2014

Doing well and good

Doing well and good

With an unusual restructuring, a Billerica education publishing company has been able to thrive – and stay true to its mission

CALL IT A textbook case of serendipity. A few years ago, Frank Ferguson, then in his early 80s, reluctantly began considering the fact that he would not be able to run Curriculum Associates forever. The Billerica-based educational publishing company he helped launch in the late 1960s was doing well. But Ferguson lamented the idea that(...)

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Threading the needle

Threading the needle

For Massachusetts Republicans, it’s an increasingly narrow path to victory. The party’s two best hopes for major office this fall are plotting very different paths to try to get there.

In his second run for governor, Charlie Baker is focusing heavily on crossover issues that appeal to independents and Democrats. Charlie Baker bounds into the Charlestown Knights of Columbus, where the once and future savior of the Massachusetts Republican Party finds a hall stuffed full of shamrock balloons and voters clad in green sweaters. Baker(...)

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To fill our talent pool, fix remedial education

To fill our talent pool, fix remedial education

With so many students arriving unprepared, state colleges need flexibility to help them succeed.

jonathan was trying. But his professor, Mike Williamson of Middlesex Community College in Lowell, could see the student’s frustration mounting as he worked, once again, to conquer Algebra 1. He’d placed into the remedial math course based on his standardized college placement exam. And now, he couldn’t get out. Eventually, to Williamson’s frustration, Jonathan gave(...)

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Harsh history lessons

Harsh history lessons

Constitutional office looks like a great springboard to becoming governor, but no statewide officeholder has been elected to the state’s top job in almost 60 years. Voters may be telling us something.

It’s hard to hear as the chatter bounces off the bare tile floor of the crowded VFW hall in Ipswich. The Democratic town committee is holding its annual breakfast on a sunny Saturday in early February. Local party activists have turned out in droves, and not for the chafing trays of scrambled eggs and bacon(...)

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Spring 2014 Editor’s note

Spring 2014 Editor’s note

Casino questions

the massachusetts gaming Commission has a tough choice to make in awarding the Greater Boston casino license. The two finalists, Mohegan Sun and Wynn Resorts, are both strong companies, pledging to create 4,000 jobs and pump more than $1 billion into their projects. Yet, as our Conversation package with the leaders of the two companies(...)

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A can-do attitude

A can-do attitude

A recounting of the race to build the nation’s first subway is as much about American bravado as it is about a transformative transportation project.

The Race Underground: Boston, New York, and the Incredible Rivalry that Built America’s First Subway By Doug Most New York: St. Martin’s Press 404 pages once upon a time, before the invention of the internal combustion engine and before Henry Ford perfected the mass production of affordable automobiles, transit was king. It was a brief(...)

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Spring 2014 correspondence and updates

South Coast Rail good for environment Your article in the winter issue of the normally balanced CommonWealth magazine (“South Coast Rail worries environmentalists”) misses the mark badly. It relies solely on two individuals who have been perennial critics of the plan and does not even attempt to include a more neutral perspective. The fact is(...)

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The guiding hand

The guiding hand

Though largely unknown outside the world of politics, Mindy Myers has helped three current New England senators win office.

mindy myers has never called New England home, but she’s nevertheless left her political mark on the region. The 37-year-old Washington insider has run the successful election campaigns of three sitting New England senators—Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island (2006), Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut (2010), and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (2012). Myers is just as comfortable(...)

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Veterans court

Veterans court

Boston Municipal Court Judge Eleanor Sinnott runs a special voluntary session for vets looking to avoid jail time by complying with alternative sentences.

What makes specialty courts for drugs, housing, and now veterans so effective? Well, for the veterans treatment court, which is relatively new, they realized that there were things about veterans that made it so that a court dedicated to them would be very helpful for their overall treatment and well-being. We have veteran-specific services and(...)

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Boston’s challenge for the GOP

Boston’s challenge for the GOP

GOP has trouble connecting with non-white voters

The partisan divide between cities and less urbanized areas is growing into one of the defining characteristics of Massachusetts politics. The suburbs are often held up as the place where elections are won or lost, but a steady long-term shift in urban voting is rendering suburban voters less able to change the outcome. Cities’ relatively(...)

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