Voc-tech tension

Massachusetts vocational schools are a big success story, but are they shutting out those who might need them most?

KELSEY CLARK, A SENIOR at Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School, is showing a visitor work from her graphic design portfolio. There is a pointillism-style poster she drew for assignment to promote a rock concert (she says it left her practically drawing dots in her sleep). A brightly colored infographic poster that she

CommonWealth’s Spring 2017 issue is out!

Politics, Ideas & Civic Life in Massachusetts

Our Spring 2017 print issue has you covered. We’ve got stories on invasions, interesting people, politics, education, health policy, and even sports. I’ll give you a quick rundown below, and you can also listen to a Codcast of the CW staff discussing the issue. Don’t wait for the mail,  all of the stories in the issue are

The Codcast: Missed opportunities with new K-12 plan

Ben Forman talks MA state plan

Massachusetts is about to submit to the US Department of Education its plan for monitoring and holding schools accountable under the new Every Student Succeeds Act, the law passed in late 2015 that replaced the No Child Left Behind law. The new law, which, like the No Child statute, is really a reauthorization of landmark

State leaders unveil bill aimed at cutting recidivism

Officials divided on further changes, Gants urges repeal of most mandatory minimums

STATE LEADERS UNVEILED long-awaited legislation Tuesday aimed at reducing recidivism rates in the criminal justice system. But whether the bill tackles the most pressing issue facing the system or simply marks a good first step in what should be a more sweeping reform process depends on which leader is speaking. That divide is likely to

Senators outline broad criminal justice reform agenda

Lawmakers look to broaden scope beyond pending report

SAYING THE TIME is right for the state to take a look at sweeping criminal justice reforms, a group of Democratic state senators is urging the Legislature to take up bills addressing everything from mandatory minimum drug sentences to fines and fees that lawmakers say are unfairly leading some people to spend time behind bars

Mom-and-pop economic development

Boosting unbanked immigrant entrepreneurs in Lawrence

JOSE ROSARIO CAN barely walk a step without pointing to some of the changes he’s made since becoming the owner of Universal Auto Repair in Lawrence. There are the four new vehicle lifts; the diagnostic computers; the uniforms for his staff, complete with name tags; the fresh coat of interior paint; the break room for

Political humor can be fun – and healthy

Healey nearly choked on one 'mean tweet'

A LITTLE LAUGHTER goes a long way in politics. Donald Trump should keep that in mind as he takes over at the White House. Someone in his position needs a sense of humor, an ability to laugh and be laughed at. But so far Trump doesn’t get it. Al Franken, the former Saturday Night Live

Senate going on the road again

Transportation will be a focus of Commonwealth Conversations

THE MASSACHUSETTS SENATE IS GOING on the road again this year, holding nine so-called Commonwealth Conversations around the state with a special focus on regional transportation needs. The day-long events will for the second year in a row allow senators to hear directly from people in each region of the state, but one common focus

CommonWealth’s Winter 2017 issue is out!

In CommonWealth’s Winter 2017 issue, we introduce you to Steve Kadish, the governor’s chief of staff. Kadish isn’t the hard-charging political strategist usually associated with that position. He’s an operations guy, the head of an internal SWAT team whose last name has become a verb inside the administration. As Jay Ash, the secretary of housing and

Jobless rates dropping all over MA

Of 10 metro areas in US with biggest declines, 7 from Bay State

NEW ECONOMIC DATA suggest the state’s labor market is nearing full capacity, which is translating into employment gains across the state and not just in metropolitan Boston. A group of Massachusetts economists released a MassBenchmarks report on Wednesday suggesting tight labor market conditions are likely to lead to worker shortages in some occupations and high

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