January 10, 2013


PA: PennDOT, turnpike will seek bids to privatize traveler info system

While the administration of Gov. Tom Corbett fends off challenges to his plan to privatize the state’s lottery system, it has come up with another privatization option — the systems run by PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Turnpike that provide information about traffic to travelers…. PennDOT’s 511 system and the turnpike’s Roadway Information Program…provide information about traffic conditions, accidents and weather-related problems to users; PennDOT’s 511 systems also provide nearly 700 traffic cameras around the state, and pushes automatic updates to subscribers via email, texts or Twitter.  Timesonline.com

PA: Lottery privatization: A decision on another bid extension from lone bidder not expected today

It now appears that Thursday will be the day when the commonwealth announces whether Gov. Tom Corbett has a little more time to make a decision about handing management of the Pennsylvania Lottery over to a private firm. The United Kingdom-based lottery manager, which was the only company to submit a bid to manage the 42-year-old state lottery, initially set Dec. 31 as the day its bid would expire.  Patriot News

KS: Kansas’ privatization, limit of welfare orgs worries advocates

Advocates for the poorest Kansas residents say Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration is making it tougher for the state’s needy to rise out of poverty by cutting much-needed assistance.…. They also fret about the administration’s decision to turn the delivery of Medicaid services over to three private health insurers in a system known as KanCare that started Jan. 1. Private insurers, advocates fear, will boost their bottom lines by refusing or restricting services to the 380,000 poor, disabled and elderly Kansans on Medicaid. The state counters that KanCare will be more efficient, and that privatization will stem rapidly growing Medicaid spending and save Kansas close to $500 million over five years. Topeka Capitol Journal

KY: State Senate committee hearing jabs at family services

State Sen. Julie Denton said she expects to file legislation when the session reconvenes in February that would press for changes in how child abuse and neglect cases are handled. One of the recommendations, Denton said, will be to privatize foster care in Kentucky. Denton said child protective services would continue to investigate, but would not have to provide the foster care. She said she is still working out the details of the bill she will propose.  The Courier-Journal

Ravitch on Rhee

The PBS show “Frontline” on Tuesday night aired John Merrow’s documentary on school reformer Michelle Rhee, which focused on the 3 1/2 years she was chancellor of D.C. Public Schools…. I was disappointed that the documentary did not mention that Rhee is now working on behalf of a far-right agenda of privatization; that Washington Teachers Union President George Parker now works for StudentsFirst; that Rhee’s “miraculous gains” as a teacher in Baltimore have been discredited.  Washington Post

Michelle Rhee gets a failing grade on her report card

Michelle Rhee and her misnamed school privatization organization, StudentsFirst, recently issued a report card on the nation’s schools that has been roundly criticized, and rightly so. Rhee ranks all 50 states and the District of Columbia by how closely they hew to her vision of school “reform,” which involves high stakes testing, maximizing the number of charter schools, expanding voucher programs that use tax dollars to pay for private schools, and eliminating teacher tenure and pension plans. Rhee is so keen to reduce the pensions of teachers and their reward for longevity that she makes their elimination an “anchor policy” and gives it triple weight in her ranking methodology.  EPI

Decision to keep federal screeners at Calif. airport has national implications

Republicans in Congress have repeatedly pushed for more privatization. AFGE and its Democratic allies have constantly pushed back. The Sacramento decision is an important victory in labor’s effort to combat privatization efforts generally.  Washington Post