November 20, 2013


CMD Exposes America’s “Highest Paid Government Workers”. Hint: They aren’t your local teachers, nurses and social workers. The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) today launched “America’s Highest Paid Government Workers,” a new initiative that will expose the taxpayer-funded salaries of CEOs whose corporations make billions by taking control of public services. PRWatch

State Policy Network: The Straw That Stirs the Conservative Movement….In September, the Arlington, Virginia-based State Policy Network held its 21st annual meeting in Oklahoma City. According to CMD’s report EXPOSED: The State Policy Network — The Powerful Right-Wing Network Helping to Hijack State Politics and Government, the meeting “featured a legislative agenda that included privatizing and profitizing schools, attacking the pensions negotiated for public workers, limiting the ability of states to tax, ending collective bargaining rights of workers, cutting federal spending out of state budgets, and thwarting the Affordable Care Act.” As might be expected the Koch Brothers have their imprint writ large over the SPN.  Truth-Out

LA: DOJ gives up on blocking Louisiana voucher program. The Department of Justice said Tuesday it’s no longer trying to freeze or block Louisiana’s school voucher program, prompting a wave of Republican celebration. DOJ intervened earlier this year because it was concerned the vouchers were interfering with federal desegregation efforts in Louisiana. The suit became the target of Republican criticism, with accusations flying that the Obama administration was attempting to deprive children of a high-quality education.  Political

PA: GOP reps who killed Corbett transport plan push private funding. The morning after the General Assembly torpedoed Gov. Corbett’s latest attempt to pass a road and Septa public-funding budget and gas-tax hike, Republican members are circulating notes in support of “public private partnership” projects, in which private companies could petition state government to build or schools and other public projects and borrow, charge user fees or levy other financing on public-funded works without state involvement. The state passed a similar plan for roads and bridges last year. (blog)

NJ: Privatizing cash toll collections is officially back on the table. Privatizing cash toll collections is officially back on the table, after New Jersey Turnpike Authority officials said they plan to put out requests for proposals this week to take over the E-ZPass and cash toll collections in 2016. Asbury Park Press

NY: Is New York’s Charter-School era waning?….De Blasio’s team told me that the mayor-elect doesn’t want to get rid of charter schools altogether. Rather, he plans to reverse many of the bolder changes that Bloomberg made, including closing more than a hundred and sixty low-performing public schools and stressing the use of report cards and data to rate teachers and schools. De Blasio’s most headline-grabbing proposal thus far has been to expand public education through a tax on New Yorkers who make more than five hundred thousand dollars a year, which would pay for citywide pre-kindergarten. The New Yorker

NY: Educators, parents challenge state education commissioner. It was clearly a difficult night for New York State Education Commissioner Dr. John King and Chancellor Meryl Tisch. The two sat alone at a table on the auditorium stage at Mineola High School on Nov. 13, listening as some 47 teachers, administrators and parents, many of them both school staff members and parents, spoke out about the state’s rollout of the Common Core State Standards. Not one of the 47 said they approved of the way the state has introduced the program to local school districts….“Public education is a large issue,” Dolber said. “There are problems with how the state is handling the Common Core rollout. There are problems with children with special needs that amounts to child abuse. Kids are important, and the state is trying to privatize education, to give it to the big corporations.” That contention was a common thread in many of the testimonials given by those who asked questions of King and Tisch.

DC: DC preparing a new unified enrollment lottery for its traditional and charter schools. The majority of the District’s charter schools and all of the city’s traditional public schools plan to participate in a single, unified lottery to determine enrollment for next fall, a shift education officials hope will streamline what has often be en a frustrating and chaotic process for families.  Washington Post

NC: NC funding cuts for dementia care concerns families. Families dealing with Alzheimer’s disease, and the care providers they hire, are sweating over proposed cuts to state Medicaid payments for elder care…..Pat McCrory’s administration is working on a proposal to overhaul the system, potentially privatizing much of it, to save money. Greensboro News & Record