November 19, 2013


How Privatizers Are Killing Our Schools. Heartland Institute President  Joseph Bast called the public school system a “socialist regime.”  Michelle Rhee cautions us against commending students for their ‘participation’ in sports and other activities. Privatizers believe that any form of working together as a community is anti-American. To them, individual achievement is all that matters. They’re now applying their winner-take-all profit motive to our children. AlterNet

Health-care Web site’s lead contractor employs executives from troubled IT company. The lead contractor on the dysfunctional Web site for the Affordable Care Act is filled with executives from a company that mishandled at least 20 other government IT projects, including a flawed effort to automate retirement benefits for millions of federal workers, documents and interviews show. Washington Post

Capital gains: Spending on contracts and lobbying propels a wave of new wealth in DC.….Two forces triggered the boom. The share of money the government spent on weapons and other  hardware shrank as service contracts nearly tripled in value. At the peak in 2010, companies based in Rep. James P. Moran’s congressional district in Northern Virginia reaped $43 billion in federal contracts — roughly as much as the state of Texas. At the same time, big companies realized that a few million spent shaping legislation could produce windfall profits. They nearly doubled the cash they poured into the capital.  Washington Post

Public universities should be free…..What we still call “public universities” would be more accurately described as state-controlled private universities — corporate entities that think and behave like businesses. Where there once was a public mission to educate the republic’s citizens, there is now the goal of satisfying the educational needs of the market, aided by PR departments that brand degrees as commodities and build consumer interest, always with an eye to the bottom line.  Al Jazeera America

OH: Ohio Court Of Appeals Blocks Red Light Camera Scam. Though many view red light cameras as a way for cities to extract money from the public, the Ohio Court of Appeals on Friday shut down what it saw as one man’s attempt to use the cameras to make money off of a city. A three-judge panel rejected Edward Verhovec’s demand for records about the traffic camera program operated on the city’s behalf by Redflex Traffic Systems, an Australian company. Verhovec had filed public information requests, working as an investigator for attorney Paul Cushion.

OH: Taxpayers’ $1.2 million propped up owner’s 2nd charter-school bust. After resigning this year as superintendent of a financially troubled Internet charter school amid allegations of nepotism, James McCord had a new plan, and it again involved a charter school employing him and his family. Columbus Dispatch           

NC: The nightmare of privatized water resources continues. With help from Republicans, Aqua NC squeezes more money out of clients: The law allows private waterworks to adjust rates several times a year through a streamlined review to pay for water and sewer upgrades. BlueNC

TX: Toll tidal wave: Agency proposes tolls on all north side freeways …..The I-35 toll project is slated to be a public private partnership (P3) according to MPO documents. Privatization can mean toll rates of 75-80 cents a mile and all sorts of profit guarantees and public subsidies. Both public and privately-run toll projects involve non-compete agreements that penalize the expansion of free roads surrounding the toll lanes. San Antonio Express (blog)           

CA: Oakland charter school battle rages. Oakland is the charter school capital of California. And that might be a problem. …Depending on who’s talking, they’re filling the demands of parents for educational options or devastating an already cash-strapped school district. In reality, both are true. And that reality is setting up a battle between those wanting to open up even more charters and local critics, first among them school board member Jody London, who say the city doesn’t need and can’t support any more charters.  San Francisco Chronicle

NY: NYC hurries to close worst-performing charter school. City education officials are trying to close a troubled Brooklyn charter school before Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio takes office Jan. 1 and fulfills his campaign promise to impose a moratorium on school shutdowns. New York Daily News