August 15, 2013


For Disaster Preparedness: Pack A Library Card? Across the country, in places like Louisiana and Oklahoma, libraries have served as crucial hubs for information and help in the aftermath of hurricanes and tornadoes. And federal emergency planners have noticed. “The Federal Emergency Management Agency classified libraries as an essential service — like one of the things that would get early funding so that communities could recover,” says Jessamyn West, a librarian in Vermont and a moderator of the popular blog MetaFilter. “People are finding in the wake of the natural disasters that we’ve seen — lots and lots of flooding and hurricanes and storms and tornadoes — that getting the library up and running with Internet connectivity or air conditioning or clean bathrooms or a place that you can plug in your phone really has benefit to a community that’s in a recovery situation,” she adds.  NPR

The Architect of School Reform Who Turned Against It. This spring, she helped found the Network for Public Education to fight high-stakes testing and what she calls the privatization of public schools…. Ravitch presents Reign of Error as an overture to dialogue with opponents, but her subtitle suggests otherwise: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools. Her tour of the research is littered with bumper-sticker slogans—she indicts, for example, the “Walmartization of American education”—likely to put off the unconverted. The book reads like a campaign manual against “corporate reformers.” The first half challenges the claims of their movement; the second offers Ravitch’s alternative agenda. Her prescriptions include universal pre-K, smaller class sizes, better teacher training, and more measures to reduce poverty and school segregation. The Atlantic

Wildlife group criticizes new commissioner over statements about about public wildlife on private land. To some of the 5,000 members of the Montana Wildlife Federation, however, the idea of paying a landowner to allow hunters to remove elk and deer from their property smacks of privatizing public wildlife…. The privatization of public wildlife has been an ongoing debate for decades. In 1842, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling set the common law foundation for the principle that wildlife resources are owned by no one, to be held in trust by the government for the benefit of present and future generations. Helena Independent Record

More Corporations Drop Off ALEC’s Conference Brochure. An examination of the promotional brochure for the Chicago meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) reveals that the meeting — where corporate lobbyists secretly vote as equals with legislators on model bills at ALEC task force meetings — has fewer corporate sponsors willing to tell the public they bankroll ALEC’s operations. This news comes in the aftermath of 48 corporations and six non-profits leaving ALEC after the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) connected the dots between “Stand Your Ground” legislation and ALEC, and coalition of organizations pressed for corporations to stop funding ALEC. PR Watch

PA: EDITORIAL: Privatizing Pennsylvania Lottery looks like a gamble. The core of this controversy is a quest for more money: Why settle for state-produced golden lottery eggs when the private sector promises platinum? Why? Because privately run state lotteries in the U.S. are in their infancy. And the results are mixed. The Express Times

IL: Two Companies Vie for Midway. The possible privatization of Midway Airport is a touchy subject, in part because so many people feel the privatization of city parking meters a few years ago was a big mistake….Emanuel has also said that he would only be interested in a 40-year lease, rather than a 99-year lease like the parking meter and Skyway leases. Profit-sharing for taxpayers and a customer bill of rights would also be part of any deal, Emanuel said.  Southwest News-Herald

CA: L.A.’s School-Takeover Battle. There is a quiet war being waged in the Los Angeles public school system. On one side: Parent Revolution, an advocacy group that helps parents enact the state’s controversial parent trigger law, which gives parents the power to turn their childrens’ schools into charter schools or replace the staff if enough parents support the overhaul. On the other: much of the state’s educational establishment, and the staffs of schools threatened by the trigger law.  Daily Beast