May 2, 2014


Corporate Interests Calling the Shots at ALEC’s Kansas City Meeting. . . ALEC’s Education task force has several tuition tax credit new vouchers on the books, and at this week’s meeting, it will consider adding an expanded “Educational Choice Tax Credit Program Act” to the ALEC library. The bill would allow a 100% tax credit for the first five years of the program, which effectively means that both corporations and individuals can entirely reroute their tax dollars from public schools and services to private entities. The credit is then ratcheted down to 50% over the following five years. The bill specifies that even parents who are currently paying for private school tuition can receive funding through the program. These “neo-vouchers” have been spreading across the country more quickly than traditional vouchers. The tax credit model provides a way to funnel taxpayer dollars to private schools with even less public accountability than with regular vouchers, and to bypass state constitutional provisions that have stood in the way of some state’s traditional voucher programs. PR Watch

Teachers Are Protecting American Classrooms From Corporate Takeover. . . Across the country, teachers’ unions are fighting back against the work of people like Rhee by working to educate children holistically. This means taking into account all the factors that influence students’ chances for success: families, homes, communities — and often the effects of poverty. In Milwaukee, Peterson is working with his union to emphasize teacher professionalism and social justice in the community. In New York City, as part of a union-based program, 16 schools have reinvented themselves as hubs for community services. In St. Paul, Minn., teachers visit parents in their homes to build engagement with families.

MI: Private trash haulers to hit Detroit streets starting Monday. Detroit’s transition to privatized residential trash pickup with more frequent bulk pickup and a first-ever citywide recycling program will kick off Monday as a contractor takes over the service in a large swath of the city.  Detroit Free Press

MI: House bill sparks concerns about toll roads in Michigan. A spokesman for a highway user group accused lawmakers Thursday of trying to sneak toll roads into Michigan through a package of bipartisan bills intended to raise an extra $500 million a year to repair the state’s crumbling infrastructure. House Bill 4925, one of a package of bills now before the Legislature as part of the road funding plan announced in April by House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, has the primary purpose of allowing the Michigan Department of Transportation to enter into “public-private partnerships” on road projects. But it also provides for “the charging and collection of user fees.”  Detroit Free Press

NY: Next battle ground: Privatization of public schools. . . Through de Blasio’s fight with Moskowitz — a long-running feud that dates to their City Council days — the mayor has missed the opportunity to advance an important principle: Public school policy shouldn’t be driven by Moskowitz or the crowd that met at Cipriani. Public schools should be run by officials elected by the voters. The scores of revelers at Cipriani on Monday would rather redefine quality public education as a marvelous favor bestowed by the elite upon a very lucky few. This elite does not need to figure out how to educate the underperforming or ill-behaved kids who aren’t welcome in many charters. These hedge fund managers don’t have to worry that charters are worsening segregation patterns in the city’s schools. Members of the elite who run charters need not fret about the impact of charters on our public schools because they are not elected or paid by the public, and they don’t oversee anyone who is. That’s what privatization looks like. And that’s what the mayor needs to be talking about.  amNY

OR: Liquor privatization ballot should include ‘imposes wholesale tax,’ Oregon attorney general says. The battle over the wording of an initiative to turn Oregon liquor sales over to the private sector came closer to being settled Thursday when the state attorney general’s office said the ballot should include the phrase “imposes wholesale tax.” Opponents celebrated the new wording in hopes that voters may be turned off by the idea of a new tax. Supporters said they could live with it. They’re glad it doesn’t refer to a sales tax.  The Oregonian

Transcript for: An Aging Infrastructure And The Need For A New Era In Transportation Policy. Thanks for joining us. I’m Diane Rehm. Potholes, crumbling pavements and structurally deficient bridges — there’s lots of work to be done on the nation’s roadways. But unless Congress votes to supplement federal gas tax revenue, states and counties will likely be shelving an ever-growing list of projects on their must-do list. Joining me to talk about how we pay for our roads and bridges, Robert Puentes of The Brookings Institution, Chris Edwards of Cato, Fawn Johnson of the National Journal. And joining us at a studio at WGBH in Boston, Phineas Baxandall of US PIRG.  DianeRehmShow