June 26, 2013


MI: Privatization battle moves to Motown. As the fight over privatization of residential waste collections in Fresno, Calif., has come to an end, another one is likely to start in Detroit. Waste & Recycling News

TN: Gov. Bill Haslam defends building privatization contract. Gov. Bill Haslam said Tuesday that while he doesn’t know what personal investments are in his blind trust, he will not benefit from the state’s office-building privatization contract with a Chicago management company in which he invested in 2010. As a candidate for governor that year, Haslam disclosed a long list of companies in which he had investments of at least $10,000, including Jones Lang LaSalle, a real-estate management and professional services company. His administration has since awarded two major contracts to JLL, first to evaluate all state-owned office space outside of the higher education system and then to take over management of all state owned and leased space except colleges and universities. Memphis Commercial Appeal

KS: Sedgwick County discusses privatizing mental health care. Turning community mental health operations over to a non-profit agency would make Sedgwick County a smaller government, but the change would be complex and could create unnecessary anxiety among staff and clients, according to an analysis shared with commissioners Tuesday….. County Manager William Buchanan ….recommends that Comcare continue under the county. “This issue came up a couple years ago. I didn’t think it was a good idea then, and I don’t think it’s a good idea now,” he said. “Having elected officials in charge instead of a private board of directors, it’s direct democracy. Otherwise it’s diffused,” Buchanan said. “No. 2, we provide superb service, so what’s the need for change?” Kansas.com

Why We Should Give a Damn About Saving the USPS. Let me be clear: Just because Congress has turned the USPS into a model of inefficiency does not mean that I support privatization (especially considering the economic impact of potentially lost jobs, and also the reliance of private companies like UPS on the USPS for delivery of non-USPS items). What it means is that we should treat the USPS like any other company that is faced with necessary changes. Let’s remove the $5.5 billion/year roadblock to let it do its job and grow. Let’s support a Congress that values a free press; that isn’t focusing on slash-and-burn techniques to save the institution, but rather gives it room to adapt; that reinvigorates the USPS’s role in American communities, rural and urban. Folio Magazine

The Next Stage in Public School Privatization: Huge Tax Credits. Past efforts of conservative groups to privatize elementary and secondary education, like vouchers, haven’t really taken off. But now Wisconsin has a crafty new plan: just give rich people great big tax credits for sending their kids to private school. Washington Monthly

New CREDO Study Shows That Charter School Quality Is All Over the Map. Sara Mead argues the real story here continues to be the enormous variability in charter school outcomes. If you think of the idea of charter schools as being roughly “let’s let people try some different ways of running schools” variability is about what you’d expect. But there seems to be systematic state-by-state variation.   Slate

Teach for America is a step toward privatizing public schools. In districts across the country, Teach for America “teachers” get their feet wet for a couple years before moving on to be hedge fund managers, directors of nonprofits, attorneys and CFOs with for-profit education companies, etc. The vast majority of TFA “teachers” do not go on to teach for a career, but merely use it as a steppingstone into another profession where they can make three to five times as much. Former Washington, D.C., schools chancellor Michelle Rhee may be the most notable example, who went on to found StudentsFirst, an aggressive school reform organization.  Boise Weekly