February 11, 2013


Privatising the oceans

One key measure proposed by the EC to resolve over-capacity in the current climate of economic austerity, was the creation of transferrable fishing concessions (TFCs) — quotas that fishermen can sell on the market. These would cost the EC nothing, but there was serious concern that their widespread use would lead to the privatisation of the contents of the oceans, allowing quotas to fall under the control of the financial markets and would mean the programmed end of small-scale fishing.…In legal terms, the content of the oceans is what the Romans referred to as res omnis, the property of all. For months, the NGO coalition Ocean2012, small fishermen and some politicians had been warning MEPs that “as soon as you privatise access, you privatise the resource”, and on 18 December the introduction of TFCs was rejected by a large majority. LeMonde

David Kolb: Don’t let the GOP kill the Post Office

Let’s be clear: This “crisis” is entirely preventable, and was brought on by Republicans to weaken, and then kill off, a great government service in order to allow their pals, the privatization vultures, to consume the carcass. The Muskegon Chronicle

Global education market reaches $4.4 trillion — and is growing

Good news for those who see school reform as a way to make big bucks: A new report says that the global education market is now worth $4.4 trillion — that’s TRILLION — and is set to grow a lot over the next five years….And in the United States, the education policies of former president George W. Bush, and now President Obama, have spurred a trend toward privatization of of public education. For more than a decade now, market forces have been driving school reform. Are schools any  better? The real question is how much worse have they become. Washington Post

DC: D.C. debates growth of charter schools

It’s the latest sign that the District is on track to become a city where a majority of children are educated not in traditional public schools but in public charters: A California nonprofit group has proposed opening eight D.C. charter schools that would enroll more than 5,000 students by 2019.,,, Rocketship’s charter application — which is the largest ever to come before District officials, and which might win approval this month — arrives on the heels of Chancellor Kaya Henderson’s decision to close 15 half-empty city schools, highlighting an intense debate about the future of public education in the nation’s capital. Washington Post

FL: Cashing in on state contracts becomes growth industry

Florida’s two-decades-long push to shift state services to contract vendors has meant big business for a burgeoning industry of lobbyists….No one is keeping track of the total, but Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater last year estimated the total contract expenditure for Florida’s 2011-12 budget cycle at $50.4 billon — 72 percent of the budget. The bulk of it, nearly $42 billion, was for healthcare contracts and service sector grants that often are never competitively bid. “We probably privatize, or outsource, more than some of the Northeastern states — and we have a lot more volume,’’ said David Wilkins, a retired business executive who was tapped by the governor to review the state’s byzantine contracting process. He also is secretary of the Department of Children and Families. Miami Herald

FL: Public schools lose millions to crooks and cheaters

Florida’s Department of Education doesn’t screen backgrounds of the people who profit from subsidized tutoring, and it seldom cracks down on companies accused of improper billing, illegal marketing and low-quality tutoring. Overwhelmingly, the state has allowed these companies to continue earning tax dollars year after year….The state was set to shut down the program when lobbyists for the tutoring industry stepped in. They convinced state lawmakers to keep the money flowing…. The companies are paid at a dramatically higher rate than conventional public schools. In the 2009-10 school year, the most recent period for which numbers are available, the state spent $9,981 per student — about $11 an hour. Florida spent $58 an hour, more than five times as much, on private tutoring. Tampa Bay Times

PA: Public education the focus of Pittsburgh rally

American public schools have leveled the playing field for poor children and provided opportunities for children of all backgrounds for more than a century. But their ability to continue to do so will continue to erode unless the community works to establish adequate, equitable and sustainable government funding for public education, local education activists said Sunday. Pittsburgh Post Gazette

NY: Be Our Guest: Fix LIPA and keep it public

It’s true, LIPA is a mess. It is saddled with debt that comes from bailing out shareholders from the last failed effort to privatize the utility, then LILCO. But the bank-like private utilities to whom LIPA would be sold are not to be trusted. They have a long record of lining their pockets at the expense of New Yorkers. State regulators should not sign off on the deal. After three decades of moving ever deeper into privatizing public infrastructure, regulators should insist that essential public infrastructure should be managed for the public, not for profit. In the aftermath of Sandy, as we’re examining the failure of our infrastructure, regulators should call for a responsible, public approach to infrastructure.  New York Daily News