September 19, 2013


This week in privatization — they really do have a bridge to sell you. Investors that failed to privatize Social Security under the Bush administration and who got badly burned in the crash of 2008 are looking to get their hands on public property at bargain prices. AMERICAblog (blog)           

Walton Foundation hires New York charter school leader. The Walton Family Foundation, which is spending tens of millions to promote charter schools, school vouchers and destruction of teacher unions and conventional public school districts that have them, is adding a high-profile New Yorker to its bureaucracy. Marc Sternberg, senior deputy chancellor of the New York City Department of Education under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is going to work for the Waltons as director of the “K-12 Systemic Education Reform Focus Area.” He was in charge of charter school development in New York. Arkansas Times (blog)           

PA: Will Phila. be the graveyard of public education?… Ravitch devotes an entire chapter to Rhee, labeling her “the quintessential corporate reformer.” Rhee’s policies are thin, many aren’t working yet remain popular with many politicians. Rhee believes we’re throwing too much money at the problem. Ravitch counters there are not nearly enough funds for the schools and too much is wasted on testing. Rhee advocates for teacher merit raises, and uniform standards for evaluating teachers. Ravitch counters that standardized testing rewards competition, not collaboration, among teachers. Instead, she favors school peer review and principals who are master teachers.

IN: State of the Schools…. The superintendent railed against state leaders working towards the privatization of public education. “Our state, Indiana, is front and center of this fight to privatize and basically smear the reputation of our public schools,” he said. “Our public schools and our students are achieving at a high level. Make no mistake, Indiana is a battleground state in the effort to privatize public education. “Millions of dollars are being pumped into our state to promote charter schools, vouchers and other efforts to move education into a for-profit arena.”  Warrick Publishing

MI: Senator: ‘Flawed’ bidding process led to privatization of prison food service. A Republican senator told the Civil Service Commission on Wednesday that a flawed bidding process led to the state’s decision to privatize food service for 45,000 Michigan prisoners and eliminate about 370 state jobs.  Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, said he voted in favor of seeking competitive bids for the food service but now believes the Michigan Department of Corrections was at a competitive disadvantage when its costs were compared to prices submitted by Philadelphia-based catering giant Aramark.  Lansing State Journal

NY: Many LI school districts privatize pre-K programs. Long Island school districts have been steadily privatizing their prekindergarten programs, a move they say saves them money and preserves early childhood education that could be the target of funding cuts. Districts can go to private contractors because pre-K is not mandated by the state Department of Education. It’s a much less expensive option than using public school employees. Staffers of private organizations are paid about one-third of what schoolteachers get, said Dana Friedman, director of the Plainview-based Early Years Institute.  Newsday