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Boston Climate Progress Report 2022

November 3, 2022

This report, to be updated every two years, examines Boston's progress toward achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, our resilience to future climate disruptions, and the equity of our climate response. It also highlights a dozen key outcomes that must be achieved by programs, projects, and initiatives whose success is imperative to reaching the overarching goals, and lays out four "big lifts," system-transforming actions which Boston—along with the broader region and state—needs to accelerate to sharply reduce net emissions.

Continuing Efforts To Slow Violent Crime: Promising Innovations From 3 Democrat-Led Cities

July 27, 2022

Historically, the United States' approach to crime has been reactionary and overreliant on criminal legal sanctions, and it has failed to adequately address the social, health, and behavioral factors that drive crime. Still, as the country continues to grapple with a rise in gun violence, a new wave of "tough-on-crime" rhetoric has emerged, blaming progressive policies for the increase in violent crime. While violent crime rose across the country in 2020, progressive leaders in cities are investing resources into proven public health and community-based solutions to stop gun violence before it starts, and these cities are seeing early signs of success in stemming the tide.Rather than accept calls for tough-on-crime policies, leaders in Houston, Boston, and Newark, New Jersey, have taken a more holistic approach to prevent violence before it starts. These cities are three examples of jurisdictions that have implemented comprehensive public safety plans focused not only on stopping violent crime but also on prioritizing community-driven and public health-focused innovations that break the cycle of violence.

Lives in Limbo: How the Boston Asylum Office Fails Asylum Seekers

March 23, 2022

The process of seeking asylum in the United States is long and fraught with stress and hardship. But asylum seekers who apply through the Boston Asylum Office face a unique challenge: an asylum grant rate that is well below the national average. From 2015 to 2020, the Boston Asylum Office, on average, granted a mere 15 percent of asylum applications, with some months granting as low as 1.5 percent of asylum seekers. In contrast, the national average grant rate was nearly twice as high: 28 percent.This trend worsened following the election of former President Donald Trump. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2021, the Boston Asylum Office reported a grant rate of a mere 11 percent, while the national average was 27 percent. The Boston Asylum Office has failed to adequately explain why its grant rate has remained far below that of the national average. The result of this disproportionately low grant rate is that people fleeing persecution in their home countries are wrongly denied asylum and the protections afforded to them by international and U.S. law. Asylum seekers may ultimately have to wait years for their cases to be resolved. During this time, they are separated from their family members abroad who often remain in danger. All of this compounds stress and trauma on individuals who have already fled persecution.This report, which was compiled by analyzing documents produced by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in response to a FOIA request, and interviews of asylees, asylum seekers, immigration attorneys, asylum officers (AOs), and supervisory asylum officers (SAOs), seeks to answer the fundamental question: Why does the Boston Asylum Office approve such a small percentage of asylum cases?

Multiracial in Greater Boston: The Leading Edge of Demographic Change

November 16, 2021

The United States is a nation of immigrants. And so is the region of Greater Boston. We've gone through waves of being more and less open to immigration, but the effect across recent generations has been a steadily diversifying population. Not only is racial diversity increasing in the aggregate, but a growing number of families are forming across racial and ethnic lines. Today, for instance, one in five babies born in Massachusetts is of mixed race or Latino ethnicity. The report provides detail on these shifting demographic patterns and engages with what they mean for our communities more broadly.

Mortality-based damages per ton due to the on-road mobile sector in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic U.S. by region, vehicle class and precursor

June 8, 2021

A new study that quantifies the total and interstate deaths from transportation-related air pollution from five vehicle types in 12 states and Washington, D.C. has been published in Environmental Research Letters. The research was led by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health.The study is part of the Transportation, Equity, Climate, and Health project (TRECH), a multi-university research team from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston University, University of North Carolina, and Columbia University, which analyzes policy scenarios to address carbon pollution from the transportation sector.Key TakeawaysOzone and fine particulate matter from vehicle emissions in 2016 led to an estimated 7,100 deaths in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the U.S., and pollution from tailpipe emissions is also traveling across state lines, harming the health of people living in cities and states downwind.Region wide, light-duty trucks, which include SUVs, were responsible for the largest number of premature deaths at 2,463 followed by light-duty passenger vehicles (1,881) and heavy-duty trucks (1,465)All states experienced substantial health impacts from vehicle emissions and can gain health benefits from local action.New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey were hardest hit with health damages at $21 billion, $13 billion, and $12 billion, respectively, in 2016 (the most recent data available from EPA).Many states are heavily impacted by out-of-state emissions and some states cause more deaths out-of-state than in-state, including PA and NJ, highlighting the importance of region-wide action to reduce vehicle emissions.On a ton for ton basis, buses in the New York-Newark-Jersey City metropolitan area had the largest health damages at $4 million for every ton of particulate matter emitted.Ammonia emissions play a stronger relative role in causing health damages compared to oxides of nitrogen. Regionally, ammonia emissions from vehicles were responsible for 740 premature deaths in 2016, more than 10% of the total deaths. Ammonia emissions from vehicles are an unintended by-product of catalytic converters and are unregulated in the U.S., and their role in urban air pollution has been generally under appreciated.

The ROI of ESOL: The Economic and Social Return on Investment for ESOL Programs in Greater Boston

February 6, 2020

Recognizing the importance of immigrants to Greater Boston and the value of English classes and other supports to building an inclusive and welcoming community, the Boston Foundation and the Latino Legacy Fund commissioned a study that explores the "return on investment" (ROI) for teaching English to adults who are speakers of other languages. Known as ESOL programs, these services are an important component of adult education and a key piece of the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. The result of that study is this report, comprising an analysis of the region's ESOL landscape that provides background and context for the in-depth case studies and ROI estimates that follow.

New England Overview: A Guide to Large-Scale Energy Infrastructure Issues in 2015

September 4, 2015

The report outlines how regional electricity and natural gas infrastructure decisions are made. It examines the current proposals to expand electricity transmission lines and natural gas pipelines into New England, as solutions to electricity and gas price and reliability issues, and briefly discusses the major implications of both.

Leadership New England: Essential Shifts for a Thriving Nonprofit Sector

June 29, 2015

The ongoing, against-the-odds resiliency of the nonprofit sector in New England and across the country is remarkable to see. But as this study shows, it is a very fragile resiliency. The sector's success and impact continue to rely on unsustainable trends, including: overworked, underpaid leaders and staff; a never-ending fight to balance budgets and build stable organizations; a lack of investment in professional and leadership development and organizational infrastructure; and a continuing struggle to work out the optimal role for nonprofit boards. Nonprofits in New England and across the nation will continue to play a vital part in building stronger communities and a more just and equitable society. But the sector's resiliency is at its outer limit.As this report sets out to show, it is time to shift how we think about nonprofits in New England and consider what supports they need to succeed. To the extent we do so, we will be able to predict with certainty that New England's nonprofits can remain resilient and effective well into the future -- and can continue to contribute to the vibrancy of our communities, our people and our region.This report profiles New England's nonprofits and their leaders and recommends three shifts in that will help the sector become more sustainable and healthy.

An Up-Close Look at Student-Centered Math Teaching: A Study of Highly Regarded High School Teachers and Their Students - Executive Summary

November 18, 2014

Today, far too many students see mathematics as a subject to be endured, rather than a subject of real-world importance and personal value. That doesn't have to be the case. When teachers use student-centered techniques to engage studentsin more active and authentic ways, they can transform math classrooms into lively learning environments in which studentstake charge of their own learning, collaborate with others, persist in solving complex problems, and make meaningfulconnections to the world around them. Through such experiences, students may come to appreciate mathematics as adiscipline that enriches their lives and their understanding of the world.While a growing body of research supports many of the principles of student-centered instruction, there is still a great dealto learn about how such approaches enhance student learning in mathematics. Recent calls for strengthening the STEMworkforce and for more rigorous K-12 standards via the Common Core State Standards have placed increased emphasison developing higher-order thinking and problem-solving skills in high school mathematics, heightening the need for moreinformation about how teachers can effectively engage students with math content.The American Institutes of Research (AIR), with support from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, conducted a study ofhighly regarded high school math teachers to expand the research base in two important ways. First, rather than assumingstudent-centered instruction is a monolithic construct, the team used a case study approach to provide rich descriptions ofhow the approach plays out in several classrooms, taking into account how teachers' personal philosophy and the school'sinstructional context might influence their practice. The case study also provided insights into students' perspectives on different approaches to mathematics instruction. Second, the researchers look across a larger sample of classrooms to determine the effects of varying degrees of student-centeredness on students' engagement with learning and their problem-solving skills.This brief offers highlights from the study's design and findings. Readers are encouraged to access the full paper for more details.

Making Mastery Work: A Close-Up View of Competency Education

November 1, 2012

As schools move towards a 21st century model of preparing students for college and a career, it is becoming unnecessary to maintain a system based on time spent in the classroom, according to the report's authors. Rather, learning happens at different times in a variety of settings, and progress should be demonstrated by mastery of content, not merely grade promotion. In the proficiency-based systems examined in "Making Mastery Work", students advance at their own pace as part of a cycle of continuous learning and achievement. This mix of freedom and responsibility is positively impacting both the teaching and the learning at the ten schools studied by Nora Priest, Antonia Rudenstine and Ephraim Weisstein, the report's authors. Issues examined through the collected experiences of the participating schools include: the creation of a transparent mastery and assessment system, time flexibility, curriculum and instruction, leadership for competency education development, and the role of data and information technology in a competency-based education model.

Progress on Fishery Performance Indicators (FPIs)

January 1, 2012

This is the supplemental PowerPoint for the presentation given at the IIFET Conference in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Provides bulleted points regarding the progress, lessons learned, policy recommendations based on Fishery Performance Indicators under evaluation in both developed and developing countries.

The Strengths & Challenges of Community Organizing as an Education Reform Strategy

January 26, 2011

Based on a literature review, examines the role of community organizing in ensuring the long-term sustainability of school and district reform efforts by addressing patterns of inequality in underserved communities; effective strategies; and challenges.