Summer 2010

Summer 2010

Saying sorry

Michigan project’s response when medical procedures go awry is resulting in lower malpractice insurance costs and better communication between doctors and patients

Rick Boothman still thinks about a malpractice case he won 30 years ago. Fresh out of law school, Boothman represented a surgeon who had been sued by a former patient. “As the jury was filing out, the lady who sued my client leaned around the podium and I learned this was the first time she’d(...)

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Probation location

Probation location

the battle rages over which branch of government will control probation—and its $150 million budget—in Massa­chusetts. But looking for help to see how other states do it offers little in the way of guidance. According to the American Probation and Parole Asso­ciation, there is no one-size-fits-all approach or best-practices template to overseeing the people who(...)

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Teachers are not to blame

Teachers are not to blame

Tools that help teachers, not firings, are the key to education success

in the past few months, President Obama, Gov. Deval Patrick, and the press have practically made “education reform” synonymous with “firing teachers.” The president praised a Rhode Island school superintendent for firing high school teachers. Patrick proposed legislation to make it easier for superintendents to dismiss teachers in underperforming schools. The US Department of Educa­tion(...)

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Identity politics

Identity politics

In the race for governor, candidates draw on

long-established traditions in Bay State politics

to understand the forces shaping the 2010 election for governor, head back to 1965, specifically, to Edgar Litt’s book The Political Cultures of Massa­chusetts. What Litt put forth is an enduring typology of political groups that inhabit our electoral system: patricians, workers, managers, and yeomen. These species are still potent in 21st century Massa­chu­setts politics.(...)

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About-face

About-face

Diane Ravitch's change of heart on testing and charter schools

The Death and Life of The Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education By Diane RavitchNew York, Basic Books, 283 pages diane ravitch is the preeminent historian of American public education. For decades she has played Cassandra, challenging the received wisdom and questioning trendy notions of what does and doesn’t help(...)

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Correspondence

Leave Prop 21/2 alone From all I hear, Jay Ash is an excellent city manager, and we appreciate his kind words about Proposition 2½ and his concern for its continued viability. I hope he will appreciate the response here of the organization that created it, which I think reflects the opinion of the voters who(...)

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Filling the cracks

The news business is changing so quickly that sometimes you have to stop and take stock. Shawn Zeller did just that in his Washington Notebook report for this issue, and what he found was discouraging. Zeller discovered that over the last five years every Bay State newspaper except the Boston Globe has pulled its reporters(...)

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The wage sage

The wage sage

From his perch at Northeastern University, Andrew Sum draws together data on everything from job and income growth to educational attainment to help us understand what is happening to American families and why. These days it's not a pretty picture.

Labor market and income statistics can be pretty dry stuff —until it’s in the hands of Andrew Sum. The director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern Univer­sity gets positively worked up over the world of work. After getting his doctorate in economics at MIT, Sum landed at Northeastern in 1971 and has(...)

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Wemmick was right

Wemmick was right

How a minor Dickensian character foresaw-and tackled-our trouble with work/life balance

given charles dickens’s penchant for outrageous character names, the hero of Great Expectations falls a little short. I’m not talking about narrator Philip Pirrip, whose “infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip” and whose youthful ambition steers the 1861 novel. I’m talking about John Wemmick, law clerk to(...)

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