March 28, 2013


With Vouchers, States Shift Aid for Schools to Families. A growing number of lawmakers across the country are taking steps to redefine public education, shifting the debate from the classroom to the pocketbook. Instead of simply financing a traditional system of neighborhood schools, legislators and some governors are headed toward funneling public money directly to families, who would be free to choose the kind of schooling they believe is best for their children, be it public, charter, private, religious, online or at home. Critics of the programs see money being taken out of public school systems at a time when resources are already strained.  New York Times

D.C. school facilities plan considers charters for the first time. Along with investing in certain high-need neighborhoods, the plan recommends upgrading the main entrance of every school and sharing half-empty District facilities with charters and community organizations. The decision to avoid specifics is a sign that city officials are grappling with unanswered questions about how to plan for the coexistence of traditional and charter schools. The 2013 facilities plan is the first in the city’s history to consider charters, the taxpayer-funded, independently run public schools that have grown quickly in recent years and now enroll more than 40 percent of the city’s students.  Washington Post

OK: Oklahoma Lottery privatization proposal advances through House committee. A proposal that could lead to privatization of the Oklahoma Lottery eased through a House committee on Wednesday despite reservations about its ultimate feasibility. Tulsa World

VA: Virginia Port Authority will not privatize operations. The proposal to privatize operations at the Port of Virginia ran into widespread opposition by many with port-related jobs who worried that a company would look out for its own interests above that of the people of Virginia and that a private operator would unfairly discriminate against competitors. Richmond Times Dispatch

TX: Students and staff voice opposition to committee’s cost-cutting recommendations. The plan, released Jan. 29 and titled “Smarter Systems for a Greater UT,” proposes cost hikes on food, housing and other services, employee cutbacks and increased uses of assets like UT’s power plant, which it claims could create a combined $490 million for the University. …Lewis said she is afraid that housing, food and parking will be privatized, a possibility that the committee raised in its report. Should they be privatized, Lewis said, employees would suffer and so would service. “We really believe there’s some very big questions about the quality of service [for students] given the profit model operating in what is a nonprofit institution,” she said. UT The Daily Texan