February 7, 2014


Feds Probe For-Profit College Accused Of Creating Fake Jobs. The Obama administration has launched a probe into job placement rates advertised by Corinthian Colleges Inc., a major for-profit college operator, suggesting there are “systemic deficiencies” in the company’s operations… The request follows a HuffPost investigation published in December into inflated job placement rates, including evidence that some Corinthian campuses paid employers to temporarily hire graduates as a way to boost official job placement data. Documents and interviews with former Corinthian career services employees in six states revealed a culture of data manipulation intended to satisfy collegiate accrediting bodies, enabling the company to tap into billions of dollars in federal student aid funds. The for-profit college operator has taken in nearly $10 billion in federal student loan and grant money over the last decade, more than 80 percent of the company’s total revenue.  Huffington Post

Ravitch: The ‘White House’s obsession with data is sick’. Education historian and activist Diane Ravitch has been blasting the Obama administration for a long time for education policies that have expanded the importance of standardized tests and promoted the privatization of public education. She was just in Washington to talk with U.S. legislators about the dangers of corporate-influenced school reform and she made some of her strongest statements yet, according to my colleague Lyndsey Layton. Washington Post (blog)

TX: Video: City Manager AC Gonzalez says he’s exploring privatizing Dallas streets construction and maintenance. The new Dallas city manager who was hired with a mandate for change said this afternoon that he’s looking into the idea of privatizing street construction and maintenance. “We’ve been having some conversations with a company about privatizing our streets,” Gonzalez told City Council members. “Just sell the streets.” Gonzalez said later that he didn’t actually mean the city would sell any streets — just the costly services for them. Dallas Morning News

TX: SH 130 toll traffic plunges, are taxpayer bailouts ahead? The facts don’t lie, even if the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) does. Recently released traffic data for the privately-operated southern leg of SH 130 shows traffic dipping anywhere from 10%-15% year over year or even from month to month. Moody’s downgraded the bonds held by Spain-based Cintra to junk bond status as the SH 130 Concession Company depleted its cash reserves to make bond payments last year, predicting default as soon as June if a significant uptick in traffic doesn’t arrive — and fast. San Antonio Express (blog)

CA: Lifeguards rally against outsourcing idea. Part-time lifeguards in Newport Beach are canvassing neighborhoods, handing out signs and promoting a petition as they push back against a city proposal that could outsource some of their jobs as a cost-saving measure. Daily Pilot

SD: South Dakota House Near Unanimous On Photo Ticketing Ban. South Dakota House votes 69-1 in favor of prohibiting speed and red light cameras. Rep. Peggy GibsonIn the South Dakota House of Representatives, Democrats and Republicans agree on one thing: They do not want red light cameras or speed cameras operating in the state. By a vote of 69 to 1 on Wednesday, lower chamber lawmakers gave final approval to a photo ticketing ban that leaves no room for private companies to mail citations to residents. TheNewspaper.com

AZ: ADOT requests information on possible private partnership for new freeway in Phoenix area. State transportation officials want input from industry on a possible public-private partnership to build a new freeway in the Phoenix. The Republic

GA: University System’s push to privatize dorms moves forward. A House committee on Thursday approved a bill that could ultimately allow for a property tax exemption currently on state college property to be extended to private companies selected to operate dorms. The University System of Georgia is seeking the tax break for companies as part of a plan to help reduce the system’s $3.8 billion in debt by privatizing student housing on its campuses.  Atlanta Journal Constitution