October 29, 2013


Waste Management Reaps Treasure from Your Trash and Taxes. Over the past three decades, an increasing number of Americans have had their household waste collected by private companies like WM, even though waste management services have traditionally been provided by municipalities and public workers, as water and children’s education have been. In the 1980s, these services began to be “outsourced” to for-profit firms, which now provide at least 50 percent of solid waste management services in the United States. WM was founded in 1987 and has been a driving force in the trend toward privatization.  PR Watch

Why Private Contractors Are Lousy at Public Services. The latest U.S. employment data, released last week, showed that the federal government employs 2.7 million people. That’s the smallest number since 1966. One reason for that decline is the rise in outsourcing—a trend also in the news because of the rolling train wreck that is healthcare.gov, built by contractors overseen by the Department of Health and Human Services. A look at outsourcing’s track record around the world backs what the website’s snafus suggest: Turning over the delivery of government services to private contractors can cause as many problems as when governments provide those services themselves. Businessweek

The truth is, public schools work well for most students – opinion. Here is something you don’t hear often about the nation’s public schools: They are not failing. In fact, schools today are doing a better job educating the nation’s youth than they did decades ago. Pocono Record

FL: Ben Gamla charter schools take in millions in public funds as founder lives half a world away. Peter Deutsch, the driving force behind South Florida’s controversial Ben Gamla charter schools, is a six-term former Democratic congressman with a unique status: He lives more than 6,000 miles away in Israel as an expatriate. Even so, Deutsch’s Ben Gamla schools have racked up hefty public funding — more than $10 million for nearly 1,800 students last school year alone. Miami Herald

FL: Editorial: Keeping watch on economic development. Gov. Rick Scott and Florida lawmakers who are quick to shovel money to economic development should review a study that found the public-private partnerships states often use to pursue new business frequently result in waste, conflicts, extravagant salaries and lack of oversight. Tampa Bay Tribune

IN: Gary airport privatization flying forward. The effort to privatize Gary/Chicago International Airport is back on a fast track with last week’s announcement the airport is now exclusively negotiating a deal with Aviation Facilities Company Inc., known as AFCO, of Dulles, Va.   nwitimes.com

NC: New report: NC eco-devo privatization a mistake. A new national report says a proposed privatization of economic development in North Carolina may create scandals instead of jobs. Charlotte Business Journal (blog)

WI: Half of virtual charter schools judged in new report cards miss mark. Virtual charter schools are on the rise in Wisconsin, but so far new accountability standards that hold them to the same expectations as regular public schools do not paint a flattering picture.  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel