January 14, 2013


Education reform as a business

Did you know that the education sector now represents nearly 9 percent of the country’s gross domestic product? That for-profit education is valued at $1.3 trillion, and is one of the largest U.S. investment markets? These facts were part of an advertisement for a conference for investors in for-profit education ventures, just one example of how much the profit motive has entered into the public education arena. The conference is one of two examples of how school reform has become little more than a business in some arenas (and just how removed some reformers have gotten from classrooms and the actual dynamic of teaching and learning).  Washington Post

PA: Corbett moves ahead with privatization, taps Camelot Group to run Pennsylvania lottery

The administration said it had issued a “notice of award” to Camelot, providing a 20-year private management agreement for Camelot. The company has said it can generate $34 billion in profits for the 42-year Lottery. A notice of an award is not a binding contract, the administration said…. Reaction from legislative Democrats, who have opposed the planned privatization was swift and critical. Democrats were upset that the administration had awarded the contract, even though a state Senate oversight panel had scheduled a public hearing on it for Monday at 10 a.m. Allentown Morning Call

PA: Committee Questions Privatization Of PA Lottery

Monday morning’s hearing by the Senate Finance Committee comes fresh off Friday evening’s announcement that the Corbett administration intends to award a 20-year contract to run the Lottery to a British firm called Camelot Global Services. Legislative Democrats have protested that lawmakers have been shut out of the process and the state treasurer has indicated he may withhold payments to Camelot if he deems necessary.  CBS

MI: Michigan Private Prisons Law Could Reopen Facility With Checkered Past

Under legislation signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder (R) this week, Michigan could send inmates to a troubled private prison or privatize other prisons as part of an effort to trim costs in the state’s $1.9 billion corrections system. The legislation is a potential boon for the GEO Group, the nation’s second-largest for-profit prison operator, which owns a now-vacant youth prison in rural Baldwin, Mich. But the Baldwin prison has a checkered past. The state closed the facility, its only private prison, in 2005, following a series of audits and investigations that found high levels of assault, frequent staff vacancies and operating costs that exceeded those in comparable state prisons. Huffington Post

AZ: Ariz. charter schools oppose more state regulation

Arizona charter school officials say they don’t want the state to impose more regulations on how the mostly privately operated schools buy goods and services with taxpayer dollars, and the state board says no changes are in the works. The State Board for Charter Schools held a study session with charter school officials Wednesday in response to an investigation by The Arizona Republic that found that board members and administrators of some charters did business with their own schools.  San Francisco Chronicle

IL: Rahm appoints committee to advise City Council on whether to privatize Midway Airport

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Friday appointed a committee–with an independent adviser and representatives from labor, business and the City Council–to advise the city on whether or not to privatize Midway Airport. Emanuel decided last month to test the privatization market for Midway–with a 40-year lease, profit-sharing for Chicago taxpayers and safeguards against consumer price-gouging–nearly four years after then-Mayor Richard M. Daley’s 99-year, $2.5 billion Midway deal collapsed for lack of financing.  Chicago Sun Times

CA: Court sides with union on Costa Mesa outsourcing

A California Court of Appeal has affirmed a preliminary injunction against the city of Costa Mesa, which attempted to contract out work currently performed by city employees. The union representing city employees—the Costa Mesa City Employees’ Association (CMCEA)—sought the injunction, alleging the city’s actions violated state law.  Business Management Daily

“Free Market” Social Services Fail to Deliver

For over thirty years we have been privatizing public social services in the belief that free markets are more efficient than government in providing the best services at the lowest cost.  Little attention is given to the inescapable fact that market driven systems create uneven results by their very nature.  This is true in commerce but especially true in public social welfare.  OpEdNews