Word is coming out of Memphis that the city is considering new rules to pave the way for Uber and Lyft. While the Memphis Business Journal incorrectly states that the new rules would “legalize the services,” it really amounts to passing onerous regulations that might cause busybodied bureaucrats to stand down. Those bureaucrats—not a judge—are the ones alleging that the services are already illegal based on their drunken interpretation of city ordinances. Just because they claim it’s illegal doesn’t make it so.
The taxi industry is crowing that Memphis should impose these new stringent regulations on Uber and Lyft to “level the playing field.” That’s akin to lighting your neighbor’s house on fire while yours burns to equalize the temperature.
Passing these new rules is not the way to open the transportation market. If the taxi industry is concerned about the hurdles it must leap to operate in the city, it should push to deregulate the taxi industry, putting it more on par with these new rideshare companies. That’s the free market solution to this madness.
- Justin OwenSeptember 17th, 2014 | Beacon Blog, Feature, Recent News
President Obama’s Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, otherwise known as the education czar, is canvassing the South to take stock of how federal education programs and initiatives are faring in several states. Among Duncan’s visits was a stop at Chattanooga, Tennessee’s Chambliss Center for Children, where he encouraged Gov. Bill Haslam to continue embracing Obama’s education agenda with the same enthusiasm that Haslam exhibited with the President’s “Race to the Top” program.
It seems that Duncan believes Haslam has drank the Obama education reform kool-aide and is ready for another glass. This time, Duncan hopes that Tennessee will compete for a portion of the $250 million in federal Pre-K grants available for select states. As TN Report’s Alex Harris explains, “The feds are holding [these] out as an incentive to encourage states to sign more kids up for early education programs.” Translation: The feds are bribing state governments with taxpayer dollars to push Obama’s agenda.
As with many other agenda’s the President deploys, this Pre-K scheme is both costly and ineffective. Here are the facts:
- Vanderbilt University evaluated 1,000 Pre-K students across the state and found that the slight benefits these students had in math and language over peers not enrolled in Pre-K barely lasted past kindergarten and were completely gone by 2nd grade.
- According to findings published in the Journal Science, the highest-rated publicly funded Pre-K classrooms’ results are no better than lower-rated classrooms.
- Yet, Tennessee spent over $85 million on Pre-K in 2013, and the feds want us taxpayers to pony up even more.
Perhaps Duncan missed our Dr. Seuss-inspired poligraphic, “Pre-K Sham, Uncle Sam” in January.
In any event, we hope he enjoys his time in the South, but suggest Duncan keeps his Washington-grown “solutions” where they belong. Between Obamacare that isn’t, and the so-called stimulus package that wasn’t, Tennessee will be seeking solutions elsewhere.
-Lindsay BoydSeptember 15th, 2014 | Beacon Blog, Feature, Recent News
With football season in full swing, there’s one National Football League proposal that will likely have fans crying foul. To level the playing field for teams, the NFL has proposed eliminating the draft and creating zones from which teams will receive college talent.
It would work like this. The Tennessee Titans’ zone would represent all of Tennessee and Kentucky, as well as a small sliver of northern Alabama. Players from college teams within those zones—such as the University of Tennessee, University of Kentucky, and UAB—would automatically be drafted to the Titans. There would be one exception. Those players willing to pay a $100,000 fee could waive this rule and apply to be drafted by any team in the country. Presumably, this would make it more difficult for any one team to “buy” the best draft picks, making the entire league more uniform, even with the above caveat.
Of course, this proposal is a hoax. The NFL would never suggest such an arbitrary approach to drafting players from college. But it does pose an interesting question: why on earth is this exactly how we structure our public school system? A child’s school, from pre-Kindergarten through high school, is determined by a ZIP Code, an imaginary boundary dictating their educational fate. It doesn’t matter which schools want to accept that student or where that child and her parents want to send her, the rules are the rules. Only those wealthy enough to afford private school tuition can “buy” their way out of this box.
This is as unacceptable for our children as it would be for the NFL. Students should have a wide array of options at their fingertips, ensuring that they have every possible chance to succeed, whether it’s in their zoned public school, a private school, a charter school, or even an online learning environment. School choice provides such a path. With choice, parents, not ZIP Codes, can determine the educational fate of our children. And that’s exactly where the decision should lie.
If you would get up in arms about the spoof NFL policy, it’s time to consider why so many people are agnostic to treating our kids this same way. It’s time for all Tennesseans, young and old, wealthy and not, to stand together in support of School Choice NOW.
-Justin OwenSeptember 12th, 2014 | Beacon Blog, Feature, Recent News