February 17, 2014


The 4 Most Profound Ways Privatization Perverts Education – opinion. Profit-seeking in the banking and health care industries has victimized Americans. Now it’s beginning to happen in education, with our children as the products. There are good reasons – powerful reasons – to stop the privatization efforts before the winner-take-all free market creates a new vehicle for inequality. At the very least we need the good sense to slow it down while we examine the evidence about charters and vouchers.  Alternet

CO: Seeds of dispute over US 36 management deal planted in past… The deal calls for Plenary Roads Denver — which has offices in Australia, Canada and Singapore — to collect all revenues from the toll lanes currently being built in each direction of the turnpike. Existing general-purpose lanes on the highway will be widened and will remain free for motorists. The pact, which was released to the public on Friday, has drawn fire from residents along the corridor and some lawmakers, who see it as being full of pitfalls for taxpayers. “Are we this cash-strapped that we hand over authority of our roadways to a private firm?” State Sen. Matt Jones, D-Louisville, asked last week during a joint session of the legislative transportation committee. Denver Post

FL: Editorial: Slow down rush to private Pasco toll road. The Florida Department of Transportation keeps moving forward with a private group’s plan to build and own an elevated toll road in southern Pasco County even as some county commissioners are reconsidering their support and opposition builds among local residents. Privately built and operated toll roads are not in the public interest. Pasco residents and public officials should press Gov. Rick Scott’s administration to slow down and develop its own highway plan for accommodating more traffic along the State Road 54/56 east-west corridor.  Tampa Bay Times

IN: Foes ready to fight Illiana tollway at hearings this week…. The plan is for the $1.3 billion tollway to be built through a public-private partnership in which a private company would build and operate the tollway. That leaves its foes fearing that tolls will be excessive to cover the debt incurred — and meaning that its traffic will be much less than projected. The toll is estimated at $11 to travel the entire length — nearly four times more than other regional toll roads, Armstrong said. Besides taking much productive farmland, the tollway will pollute the Kankakee River and private wells and adversely affect habitats at the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, which at one point comes within 75 feet of the highway, opponents said. The Environmental Law and Policy Center filed a lawsuit in July with Open Lands, the Sierra Club and the Midewin Heritage Association against the federal government, contending that the demographic forecasts used to justify the need for the tollway are inflated. SouthtownStar

NY: Résumé fibber now a principal at charter school. Brooklyn charter-school principal Lewis Franklin Thomas III has been booted from education jobs in three other cities after a string of résumé falsehoods — which were first exposed in Cleveland in 2005 after he claimed he was a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity but couldn’t do the handshake, the education news site Chalkbeat reported. New York Post

PA: Toll privatization plan draws local push-back. Weeks before a proposal to privatize toll collections on the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway is considered by the state Turnpike Authority, some South Jersey officials are expressing opposition to it. The Gloucester County freeholders and Monroe Township Council members have adopted resolutions against the proposal to hire a contractor to oversee manual and E-ZPass collections. Philly.com

IN: Editorial: Lessons of welfare debacle apply in school voucher debate. Here’s the takeaway from an Indiana Court of Appeals ruling in the state’s suit against IBM, the lead partner in a $1.3 billion deal to administer welfare services: “In the most basic aspect of this contract – providing timely services to the poor – IBM failed,” wrote Chief Judge Nancy H. Vaidik…..The results should be foremost in lawmakers’ minds as the privatization push continues, particularly with the important business of education. The General Assembly continues to expand Indiana’s private-school voucher program, siphoning nearly $135 million away from public schools in just three years. When problems arise, they won’t be concentrated within one giant corporation, but failure by even a handful of voucher schools will result in harm to students. The case for negligence will be even tougher to prove. Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

CA: Assembly moves to rein in ‘abuse’ of government outsourcing. A package of bills introduced in the state Assembly aim to break apart a perceived culture of abuse in government outsourcing to private-sector businesses. The bills are part of a greater movement among states to stop contracting out in cases when the work is seen as better suited for public employees — an effort largely organized by the nation’s largest public services employees union, AFSCME.  AFSCME Privatization Update

UT: Lawmaker: Time to roll back special break for Utah charter schools. Rich Cunningham is trying to roll back special treatment the state has given to charter schools for nearly a decade that he says has resulted in schools popping up in ill-advised areas and causing clashes with neighbors and endangering students. Salt Lake Tribune

IL: Protesters stage sit-in over Wauconda 911 outsourcing. Protesters staged a sit-in at the Wauconda police department to challenge a proposal to shut down the village’s 911 center and outsource dispatching to Lake Zurich…. “There’s no asking or caring about what the residents and voters want,” Knigge said Saturday in a phone interview. “It’s just being shoved down our throats.”  Daily Herald