October 23, 2013


Army Seeks To Expand Privatization Efforts….The Army is looking at issuing dining cards that could be used at its installations and at local restaurants, Army officials said Tuesday. Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for installations energy and Environment, said the service is looking at all of its options when it comes to expanding its privatization efforts. She and other Army officials made the announcement at the annual Association of the United States Army convention in Washington. DefenseNews.com

State Pro-Business Organizations Are Publicly Funded, but Privately Controlled…About 10 other states have also given control over lucrative corporate tax incentives to similar organizations, which are often run by the states’ most influential businessmen, generally at the pleasure of the governor. Supporters say these partnerships are more nimble than government bureaucracies and are insulated from the vagaries of electoral politics. But both liberal and conservative watchdog groups say the practice takes a government function already prone to mismanagement and obfuscation and makes the situation worse by giving oversight of business incentives to businesses themselves. “There’s a lot of potential for powerful special interests to abuse the public purse,” says Phineas Baxandall, a senior policy analyst at US PIRG.  Forbes

Are virtual schools just another online racket? It has also emerged as a tool of choice in the bitterly partisan campaign to privatize education. One key player in this campaign has been the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a corporate-controlled generator of far-right legislation, including Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground gun law and a 2012 Michigan law that hobbled unions’ ability to collect membership dues. The expansion of virtual schools has been made possible by numerous bills passed by state legislatures across the country and has been fueled partly by ALEC. According to the Center for Media and Democracy, ALEC-crafted legislation promoting virtual schools has been adopted in Tennessee and Florida. Salon

Don’t Teach For America….For one, I am far from ready to enter a classroom on my own. Indeed, in my experience Harvard students have increasingly acknowledged that TFA drastically underprepares its recruits for the reality of teaching. But more importantly, TFA is not only sending young, idealistic, and inexperienced college grads into schools in neighborhoods different from where they’re from—it’s also working to destroy the American public education system. As a hopeful future teacher, that is not something I could ever conscionably put my name behind. Harvard Crimson

CO: Suburban Denver School Foundation Charged with Political Electioneering…. The Douglas County Board of Education election has generated emotion, contention, and even fear. In a recent issue of The Examiner, one Douglas County parent, self-described as a political “centrist,” asked to have a letter published anonymously, complaining about the agendas of “Bennett, the Friedman Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and deep funding from several conservative ‘angels’” behind the “partisan ideology to privatize the school system” of the BOE members lauded by Hess and Eden. The Nonprofit Quarterly