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Jule Pattison-Gordon

Stories by Jule

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Few people of color lead nonprofits, and bias is to blame, says report

Less than 20 percent of nonprofit CEOs or executive directors are of color — a figure that has stayed static for more than a decade. The reason largely seems due to prevailing and systemic biases. A new report released by the Building Movement Project delves into the issue.

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Low MCAS scores launch dispute over test’s value and use

Scores plummeted on a test typically used to decide graduation, school rank

A new MCAS debuted and student scores plunged, adding fuel to a debate over the purpose and effectiveness of standardized testing and the way it is employed.

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NAACP: Walsh failing to meet campaign promises

Little improvement for communities of color under Walsh

Mayor Martin Walsh has fallen short of campaign promises to improve educational outcomes, increase access to employment and housing and increase public safety in communities of color, according to a report released by the NAACP Boston Branch on Sunday.

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Walsh unveils bid for Amazon HQ

Rox parcels among proposed sites; pitch puts tax incentives on the table

Mayor Martin Walsh unveiled to the public the pitch he hopes will lure Amazon to place its second headquarters in the city. One proposal suggest the online retail giant build on parcels in Roxbury.

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NAACP: Mayor Walsh falls short of campaign promises to communities of color

Mayor Martin Walsh has fallen short of campaign promises to increase educational outcomes, provide employment, housing and public safety in communities of color according to a report released by the NAACP Boston Branch today.

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Walsh rejects charter enrollment bill with his name on it

Walsh’s office complains of “added language”; Bill sponsor: “I filed exactly what his office sent me.”

Mayor Martin Walsh is seeking to distance himself from a bill bearing his name that parent education activists say was filed quietly and would facilitate a controversial school policy known as unified enrollment, in which Boston families would see both charter and district schools in their lists of the public schools they can choose. Such a policy has been given little public debate in Boston since the idea received fierce pushback two years ago. As such, some parent activists were surprised when legislation seeming to be paving the way for unified enrollment appeared among more than two dozen bills slated for an Oct. 3 State House hearing.

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State legislators produce sweeping criminal justice reform bill

The legislative package aims to reduce unnecessary incarceration, via measures including removing fees that create a disparate burden on the poor due solely to their financial status and encouraging less severe responses to some offenses.

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Minorities get slim share of contracts

City requests proposals to study disparity

City Councilor Tito Jackson alleges that only 2 percent of city contract spending goes to minority-owned businesses; city officials say the figure is actually less than 0.5 percent. Officials now are seeking a consultant to study drivers of this disparity.

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Jackson, Walsh debate live from Dudley Square

Clash over housing policy, school funding, policing

Mayor Martin Walsh and District 7 City Councilor Tito Jackson clashed over issues of police accountability, economic development and education in the first of two debates scheduled before the Nov. 7 general election.

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Weakened Jim Brooks Act passes in Council

When the Jim Brooks Stabilization Act hit the city council floor last week, councilors voted 10-3 to pass it. But by the accounts of many of its city council supporters, the measure was only a weak, if welcome, contribution to protecting vulnerable residents from displacement.

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Quiet push for unified enrollment

Many taken by surprise as Walsh co-sponsors state bill

Coming before the state Legislature with little debate last week was a bill co-sponsored by Mayor Martin Walsh that would fast-track a controversial school enrollment policy known as unified enrollment.

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Taxation with preparation

Liberty Tax Service franchisee finds success in tax prep biz

Sam Trotman never planned to make a living in tax preparation. But what started as a side gig soon had him hooked. He is now a franchisee of Liberty Tax Service, with operations in Mattapan Square, Hyde Park and South Boston.

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Puerto Rico’s growing emergency

Hurricanes exacerbate financial crisis

The devastation of two hurricanes has put the human costs of Puerto Rico’s debt repayments in sharper focus. The U.S. territory owed more than $70 billion before Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck, knocking out most of the already-outdated electric grid, flooding streets, demolishing homes and causing massive shortages of basic supplies.

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Court hears charter cap case appeal

Lawyers argued over a case with the potential to undo the results of last year’s heated battle over the cap on charter schools.The case Doe v. Peyser was dismissed last fall, but plaintiffs appealed, arguing that the cap on charter schools denies their right to an adequate education.

Early data shows low scores on new MCAS tests

Next-generation MCAS aims to capture college readiness Critics say project-based assessment is more meaningful

The next-generation MCAS debuted this past spring and early score projections show that students did not fare well. Some education advocates, however, say that rather than updating the standardized test, school systems should shift to project-based assessments.

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Questions swirl on disenrolled pupils

Greater Egleston board gives its account

Greater Egleston High School’s governing board issued a public statement on Sept. 27 about the more than 100 students that were disenrolled unexpectedly, and placed responsibility with Boston Public Schools.

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Boston sports teams aim to lead way against racism

Take the Lead initiative opens dialogue on race

Boston wants to send a message against racism and leaders are turning to sports teams to do it. Representatives of Boston’s major teams gathered with community activists and elected officials at Fenway last week. There, they kicked off an initiative intended to encourage Bostonians to actively oppose any racism they encounter and spur the rest of the nation to do the same

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Wellness center 4 all

Yoga, massage come to Dorchester’s Four Corners

A yoga instructor and a massage therapist have teamed up to bring a broad menu of affordable wellness-centered classes to Dorchester’s Four Corners neighborhood. Co-founders Karuna O’Donnell and Christine Rose opened their 4 Corners Yoga + Wellness studio in May, where they say they aim to provide a welcoming environment and yoga classes and other wellness offerings for a wide range of ages and abilities. The co-founders regard the practices as a health tool, not a luxury.

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Uncertain future for Haitian immigrants

Demonstrators demand continued protection for Haitians who fled crises that still afflict the nation

Members of the Haitian community rallied outside the State House last week, calling for renewed or permanent resident status for Haitians who have lived in the U.S. for years under a policy that gives temporary protected status to those who fled the 2010 earthquake. Many now call the U.S. home. Haiti has yet to recover from a series of environmental and health crises, but the Trump administration has not guaranteed to renew the protections that otherwise will expire in Jan. 2018.

How much should Boston want Amazon’s new HQ?

The online retail giant invited municipalities to make their case for becoming the firm’s second headquarters. Amazon expects to invest $5 billion and employ up to 50,000 people with average salaries of $100,000, although it is unlikely that all such jobs will go to longtime Bostonians. The firm’s arrival could further burden the Greater Boston area’s already strained housing supply and public transit, unless the prospect of an Amazon headquarters prompts greater investment in these items.

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1st Armor security firm emphasizes local hiring, community relations

Private security company 1st Armor Protection Services makes community service central to its approach and, so far, leadership says, it seems to be working.

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Bill aims for equity in access to solar

Financial incentives for solar energy less available to low-income communities

Black and Latino lawmakers have teamed up with environmental advocates to tackle a piece of 2016 legislation that they say dropped a barrier on low-income renters who seek cheaper, cleaner energy. To fix this, the Black and Latino Legislative Caucus and the Green Justice Coalition are pushing for bills they say will bring equity to solar energy access.

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Trump administration announces repeal of DACA program

Hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrant youth across the U.S. are slated to begin to lose their legal presence status, under a Trump administration policy change. On Sept. 5, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced gradual repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA).

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Mandela, MA and the bid to separate from Boston

In the late-1980s some in Boston’s black communities pushed to detach their neighborhoods from Boston and form a new city. The idea was formally posed in 1986, in the form of a nonbinding ballot question that drew fierce opposition from then-Mayor Raymond Flynn.

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What does it take to re-energize Dudley Sq?

Business changes spark questions on the district’s needs

The replacement of a culturally-focused store on a prominent corner junction near the Dudley Square transit hub with a business that generally serves low-income clients with few other financial options raises questions about the shape Dudley Square’s business future will take.

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Police end body-worn camera pilot

Walsh won’t promise to enact full program, will wait on study

The Boston Police Department’s body-worn camera pilot program came to a close on Monday, with its future unclear. While activist Segun Idowu says the police could —and should—roll out a formal program,Mayor Martin Walsh declined to commit to full body camera implementation in Boston.

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Police stops still focus on blacks

Last year, 70 percent of FIOs involved blacks; rate raises 4th Amendment concerns

Black residents make up 25 percent of the city population, but in 2016 made up 70 percent of those targeted by police street-level observation, stops or searches, according to a new analysis.

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Baker proposes new drug-related mandatory minimum

Clashes with many legislators’ push to repeal such sentencing

Gov. Charlie Baker proposed legislation last week that would increase the number of drug-related offenses that carry mandatory minimum sentences in the Commonwealth. His proposal comes at a time when many activists and members of the state legislature have been pushing for widespread repeal of mandatory minimum sentencing, especially for drug offenses.

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Trotter’s new principal readies for school

Thomas: “This is where I belong”

Sarita Thomas is a Boston native and Boston Public School veteran who’s racked up more than 20 years of teaching and administrative experience. This is her first principal position and, she said, she is exactly where she wants to be.

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Samsung ad evokes racial stereotypes

South Station ads envision a victim going to Alewife, a thief to Mattapan

Posters in South Station last week advertised a security system designed to protect cell phones in case of theft, and seemed to tout demeaning racial stereotypes. “We’ll keep your work stuff safe if you go to Alewife and your phone goes to Mattapan,” stated the Samsung Knox advertisements.

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Neighbors clash over housing sale

Landmark designation bid may block deal

Downsizing and personal financial circumstances compel the owners to sell 88 Lambert Avenue, an expansive property in Highland Park. But some neighbors say the selected buyer is a developer with a bad track record who could overbuild on the site, thus downgrading quality of life in the area, or demolish the property's 18th-century mansion. They successfully petitioned the city to examine the site for potential historic significance — a process that may derail the sale.

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Boston Teachers Union gets a contract

Tentative agreement reached after 18 months of negotiation

After contract negotiations that dragged on for a year and a half, members of the Boston Teachers Union and city officials have reached a tentative agreement. Major elements include increased paraprofessional staffing, more flexible hiring processes and pay raises.

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Career app links Latinos

Latinc provides a culturally-attuned professional social network

Latinc is a career-oriented social networking site and app tailored for the Latino community. Users are invited to create profiles, request mentoring from another member, view daily suggested job openings and take industry-relevant low-cost online training courses.

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Dream Development wins city’s Housing Innovation Competition

A jury of community members, architects, contractors, city planners and other officials selected Dream Development as the winner of its first-ever Housing Innovation Competition, which is aimed at pioneering ways of reducing building costs to make more units of housing available to middle-income and elderly residents.

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Can Boston build a way out of the housing crisis?

Walsh focuses on building enough units to soften demand, others call for new tactics

There’s little dispute that Boston faces a housing crisis with rents and housing prices beyond the reach of many of the city’s current residents. Mayor Martin Walsh has been pursuing a strategy of increasing housing production to meet growing need, while City Councilor Tito Jackson, who is challenging Walsh for the mayor’s office, says the city’s strategy falls short of meeting the growing demand for affordable options.

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Lydia Edwards vies for city council seat

Housing official aims to represent the North End, East Boston, Charlestown

Lydia Edwards brings with her a background of advocacy in areas such as domestic and immigrant workers’ rights and support for residents facing housing crises. Now she looks to advocate for East Boston, Charlestown and the North End on the Boston City Council.

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Tens of thousands pour into Boston streets to decry hate

Bostonians marched, rallied against white supremacy

Boston counter-demonstrators made it clear that they intended to send a message against those who would promote racism, white supremacy, white nationalism, neo-Nazism and similar mentalities.

City’s Inclusionary Development Policy garnered affordable units for Boston, but few in Rox

Of 1,737 private-developer-made units, less than 1 percent were in Roxbury

Private firms have been spurred to create almost 1,740 affordable housing units in Boston, thanks to the city’s Inclusionary Development Policy. But less than 1 percent of those units have been built in Roxbury, according to a recent Boston Planning and Development Agency report. These trends could shift as developers turn greater attention to Boston’s outer neighborhoods.

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MBTA approves Foxborough pilot

Transit advocates say route extension risks Fairmount Line quality, upgrades

Advocates continuing a long-running bid to bring rapid, frequent service to transit-starved, low-income areas along the Fairmount line fear that the MBTA may undermine planned improvements in favor of providing more options to white suburbanites, starting in 2019.

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Frederick Clay freed after 38 years wrongfully imprisoned

A man was released from prison last week after spending nearly four decades locked up for a crime that he always maintained he did not commit. Frederick Clay was 16 when he was accused of murder; now, at age 53, he is free. Organizations like the Innocence Program are working to right such wrongful convictions. Proposed legislation could make their work easier

Ballot measures, gubernatorial, Senate races looming for 2018

Progressive favorite Sen. Elizabeth Warren and moderate Republican Gov. Charlie Baker face off against challengers on the 2018 ballot. A union-backed measure raising income tax on the state’s wealthiest residents also will feature on the ballot, as may proposals providing employees with paid family medical leave and increasing the minimum wage to $15, potentially turning out more voters favorable to Warren. Meanwhile, members of the business community seek to place a sales tax cut on the ballot, which could draw voters favoring Warren’s anti-tax opponents. Baker will have to find a balance and appeal to a blue-state where one-third of voters went to Trump in 2016.

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Boston police promotions ruled discriminatory

Federal court upholds its 2015 decision

Critics of a police promotional exam scored another point last month when a federal judge ruled that the exam is racially discriminatory. This was the second time U.S. District Court Judge William Young had made that determination.

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Developers break ground on Bartlett Station project

Plan calls for 60 percent of units to be affordable

Construction begins on a 16-unit condo building at the former Bartlett bus yard, along with a building that will contain 60 rental units as well as a grocery store. By 2032, the full project will provide 323 units.

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Mass. school evaluations called ‘unfair’

Institute says state doesn’t account for effects of poverty on test scores

The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s system is prone to rank schools based on the resources of the population they serve, rather than on the quality of their instruction and practices, the Fordham Institute asserts. This could have implications for schools selected for turnarounds.

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Got game — and message: Lawrence-based indie game studio gears up for first release

Edwin Jack, game director and CEO, and Kris Carter, concept artist, said their game blends entertainment with ethics, striving to convey moral values and relatable characters alongside high-action fun.

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Advocates call for bill to increase state education aid, fix cost estimates

Legislators are trying once again to update decades-old foundation budget

Supporters of the bill say it would more accurately assess public schools’ minimum budget needs and infuse the schools with additional sorely-needed state dollars.

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English-learner instruction act clears Senate

The LOOK bill would enable schools to tailor ELL approaches to student needs

Supporters of An Act for Language Opportunity for Our Kids, or the LOOK bill, which passed in the Senate last week, say one particular issue is that ELL students have widely different needs but have been required to be taught in the same way

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U.S. attorney investigates Boston Trial Court

Federal attorneys may examine claims of harassment, racial discrimination

Under fire from widespread allegations of racial discrimination, the Suffolk County Trial Court is now under investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office, according to two sources with knowledge of the case.

Roxbury residents weigh in on housing barriers

Equity is in focus as city prepares its Assessment of Fair Housing report

To receive HUD funds, the city must prepare an Assessment of Fair Housing report outlining plans for overcoming barriers to opportunity and housing choice and for promoting inclusive, integrated communities. A meeting in the Dudley library branch sought resident feedback to inform the plan.

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Advocates hope Finish Line Grant will be key to college — and to jobs

In today’s job market, higher education is a necessity to better economic outcomes, yet cost burdens often delay degree completion or price it out of reach entirely, said advocates at a recent State House hearing. Advocates say that measures such as the proposed Finish Line Grant could help remedy this predicament by easing tuition and fee expenses.