Not for Nothin’ But….Rhode Island Roads Stink! Sheldon Whitehouse Agrees

It really hits you how bad our roads are when they close the bridge on Park Avenue, so that we can’t even get to a friend’s house without having to go all the way down Reservoir and up Elmwood, making what used to be a 10 minute trip into a 25 minute ordeal. Infrastructure: the secret sauce that makes society possible. Please don’t let this funding lapse!

From the Whitehouse press office:

Whitehouse to Hold Press Conference on Highway Funding

Senator to Join Labor Leaders and Major Rhode Island Construction Company to Discuss Need to Pass a Highway Bill before Federals Funding Expires

Providence, RI – With federal highway funding set to expire at the end of July, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse will hold a press conference on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. to discuss the need to pass a long-term federal highway funding bill to create jobs, grow our economy, and make our roads and bridges safer in Rhode Island. Whitehouse will be joined for the press conference by labor leaders and a major Rhode Island construction company to discuss the effect a lapse in federal funding would have on Ocean State workers.

Whitehouse has been deeply involved in crafting the six-year transportation funding blueprint that passed out of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee last week and awaits further action in the Senate. Whitehouse succeeded in including in the bill a provision to establish an “Assistance for Major Projects Program,” to provide funding to assist states in completing large, important, and expensive projects like reconstruction of Rhode Island’s 6-10 Connector.

EVENT: Sheldon Whitehouse Holds Press Conference on Highway Funding

WHEN: Wednesday, July 1, 10:30 a.m.

WHERE: Apponaug Circulator Construction Site, 65 Centerville Road, Warwick (Across the Street from the Burger King)

According to a report compiled last year by the White House, Rhode Island had the highest percentage of deficient or obsolete bridges in America and was tied for the highest percentage of roads in poor condition. And according to the transportation research group TRIP, driving on roads in need of repair costs Rhode Island motorists $478 million a year – $637 per motorist – in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs.

Tricky Questions on Corporate Philanthropy at Walmart and Beyond – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence

Walmart’s eighth annual Global Responsibility report came out not long ago, and it suggests that the company is feeling pretty proud of itself. It boosted its minimum wage for associates to $9 an hour in April of this year and will boost it again to $10 in February 2016. That will cost them $1 billion, and represents a big step forward.

Along with increasing wages, Walmart’s philanthropy is also rising, and we report often on what its foundation is doing—which is a lot. Just the other day, for example, it announced $15.5 million in grants to seven nonprofits to help low-income children meet their nutritional needs.

via Tricky Questions on Corporate Philanthropy at Walmart and Beyond – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

A Movie Star Gets Behind a Clean Energy Startup, With Help From a Matchmaker – Inside Philanthropy

Originally posted on

Philanthropy is getting ever more entwined with venture investing, and many funding efforts are done collaboratively, with smaller foundations teaming up on impact investments with other partners. You can see this in one issue area after the other, as we report often.

One new player making things happen in the clean energy space is PRIME, a nonprofit whose mission is to “accelerate the commercial deployment of technologies that reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.” More specifically, PRIME says it “empowers philanthropic investors with the critical tools they need to make direct, for-profit investments that address climate change.” (See more details here.) In other words, it’s a matchmaker.

via A Movie Star Gets Behind a Clean Energy Startup, With Help From a Matchmaker – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

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If Elected, Jeb Bush Will Privatize Public Education

Kiersten Marek:

We’re already part of the way there. If elected, Jeb Bush will take us as far as privatization can go.

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Matthew Pulver, writing at, describes Jeb Bush’s dangerous belief in privatization and free markets in education.

It is not so much a belief as an ideology, one that is impervious to evidence. The many studies showing thAt privately managed charters do not get higher test scores than public schools do not register with Jeb. The numbers of charters that open with grand promises and soon lose their doors with big debts does not affect his belief system. He is a zealot for school choice, period.

Not even the failure of the charter school he founded in Liberty City, a poor black neighborhood, dampens his passion for charters and vouchers.

Writes Pulver:

“There’s nothing else as large in all of society. Not the military—nothing—is bigger.”

“That’s how Randy Best, Jeb Bush’s business partner, sees public education, as an untapped market where untold billions are to be made when kids and…

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Why foundations should embrace radical transparency

Originally posted on Nonprofit Chronicles:

TransparencyPhilanthropy is a “black box,” writes David Callahan, the founder and editor of Inside Philanthropy. “If you don’t think philanthropy is maddeningly opaque, it’s because you’re deep inside the sector.”

He’s exaggerating, but not by much. Some foundations don’t disclose their donors. All are required by law to report on their grants, but many are slow to do so. Finally, there’s scant information about the most important question of all: How effective are foundations when they spend their money?

Foundations would do well to become radically more transparent and accountable, not merely for their own sake, but to set an example for the nonprofits they fund. After all, if foundations, with their influence, deep pockets and professional staff, don’t demand more transparency and accountability from nonprofits, who will? They are key to unlocking the immense potential of the nonprofit sector.

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Vicki Cobb: Why Teaching and Learning Cannot Be “Scaled Up”

Kiersten Marek:

This is, in my humble opinion, the crux of the matter. Not everything can be turned into an automated process.

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Vicki Cobb, a prolific writer of science books for children, is offended by the simplistic idea that education practices can be “scaled up,” just like manufacturing processes. Standardized testing is the quintessence of “one size fits all.”

She writes:

“Let me explain why. The very nature of “standardized” testing runs counter to the work of educators and to the notion of America as a haven for the individual worth of each human being.

“There are certain professions that are considered “high touch.” Nursing, for example, is about patient care and “care” is the operative word. Nurses deliver human kindness to people who are not at the top of their game. A patient may want a glass of water, but getting it from a robot is not the same as interacting with another human being. Teaching is another “high touch” profession. Children learn because of the relationship established between them…

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New York Times: Opt Out Becomes a Powerful Political Force

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Elizabeth Harris and Ford Fessenden wrote an article that just went online in The Néw York Times about the stunning growth of the Opt Out movement in Néw York state. Its numbers have increased dramatically in only two years.

The movement is now a potent political force:

“As the vanguard of an anti-testing fervor that has spread across the country, New York’s opt-out movement already has become a political force. Just two months ago, lawmakers from both parties, at the behest of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, increased the role of test scores in teacher evaluations and tenure decisions.

“Those same legislators are now tripping over one another to introduce bills that guarantee the right to refuse to take tests. The high numbers will also push state and federal officials to make an uncomfortable decision: whether to use their power to financially punish districts with low participation rates.”


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