EDUCATION

In November 2016, Damien Johnson was one of several people who painted a solvent on rocks atop Mount Tom to get rid of racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic messages.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

Anti-Semitic incidents in the United States increased by more than a third in 2016 over the year before, according to an annual audit from the Anti--Defamation League. The jump was especially steep in Massachusetts, with a 150 percent increase.

Compared to other states, Massachusetts had the fifth highest number of anti-Semitic incidents last year, with a total of 125 episodes -- topped by only California, New Jersey, New York and Florida.

The former Southbridge High School, now home to administrative offices for the school district.
Henry Epp / NEPR

Back in January, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker took a moment in his State of the Commonwealth address to mention struggling school districts that have been taken over by the state, a process known as receivership.

"We encourage the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to continue to use this tool," Baker said.

No more districts have been taken over since then, but there are currently three under state leadership: Lawrence, Holyoke and the most recent, Southbridge, a town of about 16,000 people in the central part of the state, on the border with Connecticut.

Patrice Rushen
Ben Alman / Creative Commons


The former toll booth at Exit 8 of the Massachusetts Turnpike in Palmer.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

What made The Short List this week?

A screenshot from the West Mass branding video.
Video by Steve Porter / PORTERHOUSE MEDIA

What made The Short List this week?

  • Ardent President Trump supporter Massachusetts State Representative Geoff Diehl is considering running against Senator Elizabeth Warren in 2018.
  • Should the long standing moniker Pioneer Valley be changed to West Mass?
  • Educators and police in Northampton, Massachusetts, are trying to come up with new ways to engage students after a program called “High Five Friday” was stopped due to concerns about some children’s reactions to law enforcement. 

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