Michael Jonas Executive Editor, CommonWealth

Michael Jonas has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since the early 1980s. Before joining the CommonWealth staff in early 2001, he was a contributing writer for the magazine for two years. His cover story in CommonWealth’s Fall 1999 issue on Boston youth outreach workers was selected for a PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

Michael got his start in journalism at the Dorchester Community News, a community newspaper serving Boston’s largest neighborhood, where he covered a range of urban issues. Since the late 1980s, he has been a regular contributor to the Boston Globe. For 15 years he wrote a weekly column on local politics for the Boston Sunday Globe’s City Weekly section.

Michael has also worked in broadcast journalism. In 1989, he was a co-producer for “The AIDS Quarterly,” a national PBS series produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, and in the early 1990s, he worked as a producer for “Our Times,” a weekly magazine program on WHDH-TV (Ch. 7) in Boston.

Michael lives in Dorchester with his wife and their two daughters.

ARTICLES By Michael Jonas

Boston taps high-stakes testing opponent

New superintendent opposes 10th grade MCAS graduation requirement

THE BOSTON SCHOOL COMMITTEE answered the question of who will lead the district by tapping former Minnesota education commissioner Brenda Cassellius to be the city’s next school superintendent. But the answer to that question has raised a new one about the commitment of the state’s largest district to one of the central pillars of the

Local accountability in schools lacking, says report

Study urges stronger goal-setting by districts and schools

MASSACHUSETTS HAS BUILT its school reform effort on a combination of new state funding and accountability measures that track student and district achievement, but that has largely let local districts off the hook for setting ambitious goals of their own and holding themselves and schools responsible for meeting them. That’s the conclusion of a new

The life (and death) stories that drive Andrea Campbell

Boston city council president has turned incredible adversity into strength

ANDREA CAMPBELL’S TWIN BROTHER Andre died seven years ago while awaiting trial in the custody of the state Department of Correction, and she says that has everything to do with how she wound up on the Boston City Council. The 36-year-old Mattapan resident says government needs to share more stories. By that she means we

House bill quietly filed on education funding

Added payments for low-income students emerging as key difference

WHILE BIG EDUCATION funding bills filed by Gov. Charlie Baker and a key state senator have garnered lots of attention, a third school financing bill was quietly filed in the House last week that also proposes a sweeping update of the state’s 26-year-old education aid formula. Rep. Paul Tucker, a Salem Democrat, submitted legislation hours

Riley proposes novel solution to charter school battle

Education officials hope agreement on New Bedford school will be a model

WHEN JEFF RILEY was named state education commissioner a year ago this month, he vowed to try to heal the divisions that have plagued the education world — between charter school advocates and foes, between those in favor of high-stakes testing and those looking to end the state’s testing regime. In his first big stab

Momentum growing for ed funding bill

Will measure include other reform provisions?

SIX MONTHS AFTER the clock ran out on negotiations to revamp the state’s education funding formula, a broad coalition of lawmakers, mayors, and school leaders unveiled legislation on Wednesday to finish that work in the new session now underway on Beacon Hill. “There are no more excuses,” said Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, co-chair of the Legislature’s

Rollins brings mandate for change – and blunt style – to Suffolk DA’s job

With reform talk in the air, Boston’s new prosecutor prepares to take the reins

RACHAEL ROLLINS DEFIED expectations when she rolled to a decisive victory this fall in the race for Suffolk County district attorney. She won a five-way Democratic primary, outpacing a field that included the favorite of the law enforcement establishment, and went on to trounce an independent candidate in the November general election. The seat was

Rollins rolls to big win in Suffolk DA race

Outsider Harrington topples Berkshire DA, Ryan reelected in MIddlesex

AGAINST THE BACKDROP of a national rethinking of criminal justice policies, Suffolk County residents voted for big change in the district attorney’s office as Rachael Rollins, a former federal prosecutor running on strong reform platform, topped a five-way Democratic primary field in the contest to replace incumbent Dan Conley, who did not seek reelection. Change

In Middlesex DA’s race, a progressive face-off

Ryan facing spirited challenge with calls for reform in the air

DONNA PATALANO, who is challenging incumbent Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan, looks like exactly the right candidate at the right time. The Winchester attorney is pushing a strong reform platform focused on addressing racial disparities in the criminal justice system and the need to rethink policies of the tough-on-crime era of the 1980s and 90s.

In Suffolk DA’s race, calls to coalesce

Groups urge blacks, progressives not to split their vote

WHAT HAD BEEN a strong undercurrent in the Suffolk County district attorney’s race is now becoming an open topic of conversation – and consternation: The fact that candidates with similar profiles in the five-way Democratic primary could split the vote and hand the election to a candidate who wins far less than majority support. That’s

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