December 12, 2013


After Setbacks, Online Courses Are Rethought…..Many educators saw the move as an admission of defeat for the idea that online courses would democratize higher education — and confirmation that, at its core, Udacity, a company funded with venture capital, was more interested in profits than in helping to educate underserved students. New York Times

Study Finds Federal Contracts Given to Flagrant Violators of Labor Laws. A new congressional report criticizes the federal government for awarding tens of billions of dollars in contracts to companies even though they were found to have violated safety and wage laws and paid millions in penalties. Issued on behalf of the Democratic senators on the Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee, the report cited examples over the past six years. New York Times

PA:  Auditor General Urges End to Spending on Lottery Privatization. Auditor General Eugene DePasquale today urged the Governor or the General Assembly to take action by the end of this year to resolve Pennsylvania Lottery management privatization contract negotiations with British-owned Camelot Global Services Inc. The privatization initiative will cost taxpayers an estimated $4.6 million, or more than 11 percent of the Lottery’s annual operating budget. “Enough already,” DePasquale said. “The commonwealth has spent millions on this lottery privatization effort and that number will continue to grow if this contract is not resolved – one way or another – by Dec. 31 when the agreement with Camelot Global Services Inc. expires.

CA: California County Says No To Tolling. California’s busiest stretch of freeway will not be tolled. On Monday, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) agreed with local politicians and members of the public who expressed opposition to the proposed conversion of existing Interstate 405 lanes into toll lanes.

NC:  NC Commerce Talks Privatization. The proposed partnership would privatize many of the agency’s functions and reportedly eliminate dozens of positions, including the directors of the film industry and tourism. WUNC

NC: NC groups representing North Carolina educators sue officials over private school grants law. Public school advocates sued the state Wednesday in a bid to block a new law that would let taxpayer money be used by low-income students wishing to attend private or religious schools…..They contend the new law violates a section of the state constitution which creates a school fund and requires that the money be “used exclusively for establishing and maintaining a uniform system of free public schools.”  The Republic