April 23, 2014


The Privatization Backlash. . .In states and cities across the country, lawmakers are expressing new skepticism about privatization, imposing new conditions on government contracting, and demanding more oversight. Laws to rein in contractors have been introduced in 18 states this year, and three—Maryland, Oregon, and Nebraska—have passed legislation, according to In the Public Interest, a group that advocates what it calls “responsible contracting.” . . . From Halliburton to Healthcare.gov to private prisons and welfare systems, contracting has often proved problematic. Perhaps mindful of these high-profile debacles, lawmakers are now more likely to view privatization and contracting proposals with skepticism. “The ideological fervor for privatization has ebbed,” according to John D. Donahue, an expert on privatization at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. The Atlantic

The Privatization of Our Public Colleges (in Two Charts). State cuts to higher education spending aren’t the only reason public colleges are getting more expensive. But they are, without a doubt, one of the most important reasons. Slate Magazine (blog)

CO: Lawmakers ask for state audit of US 36 privatization deal. The controversial deal to privatize U.S. Highway 36, giving a consortium of private companies paying for repairs to the Boulder Turnpike control of the road for the next 50 years, is done.But the concerns from residents along the transportation corridor still haven’t been satisfied — and that’s why a group of state lawmakers from the area are calling for a state audit of the deal itself. . . Although the public-private partnership was worked out over a the last two years with input from the state and from mayors and officials in cities along the highway, the public didn’t get wind of the implications — mainly, the length of the deal ceding control of the road to private companies — until the final stages of the project. The letter requests that the audit examines how and when public input was sought and whether all financial details of the deal were disclosed. kdvr.com

PA: District wants Philadelphia charter school shut down. The School District of Philadelphia is recommending to the School Reform Commission the suspension and charter revocation of a school due to “significant academic underperformance and financial issues.” The recommendation, which takes aim at the Walter D. Palmer Leadership Learning Partners Charter School, is based on findings over the course of six years, accusing the school of continual violations of its charter and charter school law and policy. In addition, the district alleges it was fraudulently billed $770,000 in the 2012-2013 academic year for students not enrolled at the school.  6ABC.com