Entering the fray on education accountability

The Gateway Cities Journal

Recently MassINC convened education leaders from across New England for a dialogue on redesigning state accountability frameworks to comply with the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). We’ll be bringing this group together for several dialogues focused on how states should approach accountability with particular attention to Gateway Cities.

The arguments are compelling: small-to-midsize urban districts in New England educate a very disproportionate share of the vulnerable students federal accountability law aims to protect. And the way states measure learning outcomes to determine how schools are performing has powerful consequences, not only for the well-being of these students, but also more broadly for the health of city neighborhoods and regional economies.

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of A Gateway Cities Innovation Institute (1)

Over the past two decades, researchers have carefully examined the impact of accountability on urban districts. We now have a better grasp of the strengths and limitations of the first generation model advanced by the No Child Left Behind law. These lessons deserve careful consideration as we develop new approaches under ESSA.

Coming together for thoughtful reflection is critical. The window to implement the new law is short, resources are limited, the political environment in unstable, and accountability has become highly charged. For positive change to occur under these difficult conditions, Gateway City leaders must be fully engaged.

When we developed the Gateway Cities Education Vision in 2013, a major objective was to have more influence over policy matters that deeply affect Gateway Cities by unifying our voices. New accountability frameworks are a major opportunity for cross-city collaboration. While the table is small for the group meetings we are hosting this summer, all of the presentations and materials will be available on our website so that you can join us in a virtual dialogue. Whether your role is as an educator or a professional with some other connection to Gateway City community and economic development, we urge you to engage in this critical conversation. 

— Ben Forman


Housing and Economic Development

A panel of economic development leaders meet in Springfield to discuss MassINC’s new report on  TransformativeCopy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Getting to Know Gateway City Leaders (4) Development in Gateway Cities.

Gov. Charlie Baker “rightsizes” the state budget, cutting $256 million from the Legislature’s spending plan, including cuts to the Transformative Development Initiative (TDI).

MassDevelopment is using crowdfunding to help support local projects.

Raymond Mariano reflects on 13 years at the helm of the Worcester Housing Authority.

MGM Springfield plans to extend additional opportunities to minorities and women contractors at its $950-millioncasino project.

Fitchburg City Council votes to approve a new sports complex in West Fitchburg that is estimated to cost $8 million.

Springfield officials seek bidders to manage the city’s Symphony Hall.

Brockton nonprofit that runs shelters is eyeing an abandoned Catholic Charities property downtown to build housing for the homeless.

Idle Hands opens a bigger, better brewery in Malden.

The New York Times says people aren’t moving to communities with better job opportunities because of zoning. 


Brockton celebrates 10 years of its Gateway to College Program, encouraging struggling students to continue their educations.

The Lowell Plan brings the community together to envision the future of education in the city.

Employees at the Southwick Clothing Company in Haverhill, makers of Brook Brother’s apparel, will get training in job skills and the English language through a state funded grant program.

Worcester educators are worried about a 22 percent dropoff in pre-kindergarten students.

Haverhill School Superintendent James Scully takes a hands-on approach to renovating schools.

UMass Lowell buys two more private properties in Lowell, effectively cutting the city’s tax revenues by $22,000.

The latest MassBudget research brief shows steep cuts to education funding over the past decade.


A partnership of business leaders back a new plan for the South Coast rail project.

The Cape Cod Times writes that the state should shift state economic development investments from projects that focus on commuters, like South Coast Rail, and focus more on improving Gateway Cities.

The Worcester Municipal Research Bureau issues a new report examining the city’s downtown parking problems.

MassBudget’s latest research brief also shows another year of level funding for the RTAs..

Governing reports on how smaller cities are organizing bike sharing programs. 


The Fall River City Council will consider budget amendments and ordinance proposals from MayorJasiel Correia that will create new staff positions, eliminate another, and change the salary structure for some existing posts.

Springfield forms an advisory committee seeking neighborhood input regarding the Community Preservation Act.

The Brockton mayor and Brockton City Council debate the budget needed to fund police overtime. 

Health & Wellness

Fall River receives a grant to expand the dental program HealthFirst Family Care Center, extending access to dental care for children and adults.

Greater New Bedford Community Health Center is closing to consolidate services with the downtown center.

New initiatives in New Bedford explore ways to grow fresh fruits for food banks.

With strong socioeconomic controls, a new study in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry links greenspace to behavior among youth living in cities.

Meet The Author

Our sponsors