Winter 2010

Winter 2010

Money machine

Money machine

The BRA has paved the way for the new Boston, but some say it's overstepped its bounds

UPDATE: CommonWealth magazine and Fox 25 Undercover worked together on our special reports on the Boston Redevelopment Authority. For links to the Fox 25 broadcasts, go to Fox Undercover. The BRA also sent out a preemptive-strike press release before CommonWealth was released and Fox Undercover went on the air. Every time one of the condominiums(...)

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Zeroing in on the BRA

Zeroing in on the BRA

The Boston Redevelopment Authority isn’t easy to write about. The agency wears so many hats (regulator, landlord, banker, developer) and is involved in so many things (city planning, real estate, economic development, housing, and job training) that reporters tend to get overwhelmed and give up. I became intrigued with the BRA during last fall’s mayoral(...)

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Reform in the real world

Reform in the real world

Education leader Ted Sizer taught teachers to re-conceive their roles

it sounded so easy. How could I not ace a college class called “Going to High School in America?” I had, after all, just finished going to high school in America. I was an expert. The professor — noted educational leader Theodore Sizer, who died in October — taught the only education class at Brown(...)

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No room for error

No room for error

We need to make global payments for everyone involved in health care

part one of Massachusetts’s courageous leap into health system reform offered something for everyone. It brought health care coverage to uninsured residents; it promised (but could not deliver because of the soured economy) improved reimbursement for care to providers; and it brought more than 100,000 new members to insurance companies. It also required something of(...)

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Pay for quality, not quantity

Pay for quality, not quantity

Global payments can keep health costs from spiraling out of control

it is clear in 2009 that fee-for-service medicine is not the most efficient or effective payment system we can devise. It should be pretty obvious to almost everyone, even those who benefit from the current system, that this form of payment hinders patients from receiving coordinated and patient-centered health care. Massachusetts can and should take(...)

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Correspondence

Correspondence

IT’S TIME TO LEARN WHAT WORKS IN THE CLASSROOM Who doesn’t want to believe that teachers matter? It makes intuitive sense. It’s what any good teacher knows instinctively. And now there’s mounting evidence to support the notion that the quality of teaching in the classroom impacts the performance and engagement of the students in that(...)

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Hail to the chief

Hail to the chief

Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Margaret Marshall says funding the state court system properly is not a choice but a constitutional mandate

Margaret Marshall ushers me down a series of hallways, turning on lights as she goes. It’s nearly 5 p.m. on the 10th anniversary of her appointment as chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, and Marshall wants to show me the consultation room where she and her six colleagues deliberate. It’s a large wood-paneled(...)

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Probation head responds to reports of excessive spending

Some see a haven for patronage

john j. o’brien, the reclusive state commissioner of probation, is coming out of his shell. Faced with two reports suggesting that spending at his agency is excessive, O’Brien is suddenly talking. Well, not talking exactly, but sending out emails and letters through his spokeswoman denying many of the accusations and suggesting that his agency is(...)

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