May 14, 2014


60 Years After Brown, Educators Demand More Focus on Public School Support “It’s 60 years later and our schools are still separate and unequal,” said Ocynthia Williams, a parent leader. “They are more separate today than ever. Our schools have become high-stakes testing factories. Corporate America is trying to privatize them. … We are reclaiming our public schools, and we are demanding that the promises of Brown v. Board of Education be fulfilled.” U.S. News & World Report

NJ: Newark parents, community group file Civil Rights complaint against school reorganization. Responding to a “national crisis of school closures,” the Journey for Justice Alliance and the Advancement Project filed a complaint on behalf of local parents, citing Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits racial discrimination in public schools. The groups are asking the U.S. Department of Education and the Department of Justice to stop the school reorganization plan known as One Newark until it can be investigated. . . . The One Newark plan will consolidate, relocate or redesign almost one-third of the city’s schools, including transitioning two neighborhood elementary schools into charter schools. . . . “Education ‘reformers’ and privatizers are targeting neighborhood schools filled with children of color, and leaving behind devastation,” the groups wrote. “By stealth, seizure, and sabotage, these corporate profiteers are closing and privatizing our schools, keeping public education for children of color, not only separate, not only unequal, but increasingly not public at all.”

PA: State auditor rips charter school oversight. Oversight of charter schools in Pennsylvania is “a mess,” state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale has concluded, based on a series of public meetings across the commonwealth. . . . “With more than $1 billion being spent on charter schools every year,” according to the report, “improved oversight is imperative.” The board would settle disputes between charter schools and districts, enforce regulations, develop a streamlined appeals process, and verify data that charter schools include in annual reports filed with the state. Now, DePasquale said, there is little evidence that anyone reviews the reports. . . .”Today, many school districts and charter schools are combatants fighting for students and for public dollars,” the auditor general wrote.

NY: Ex-NYRA head: Bruno wanted foes of privatization ousted. Former Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno wanted two state racing officials “gone” in favor of a top industry figure who favored privatizing the racetracks, the ex-president of the New York Racing Association testified. . . . Federal prosecutors aim to show that Bruno, 85, acted to support privatization to stay in step with Jared E. Abbruzzese, a Loudonville businessman who was paying Bruno $20,000 a month as a consultant and was involved in Friends of New York Racing. The prosecutors contend it was kickback and bribery money. Albany Times Union

FL: Jackson: Toll road didn’t come as advertised. . . As reported first by the Tribune’s Laura Kinsler, there was no scenario under which IIP — which includes OHL Infrastructure, a giant Spanish construction company with expertise in private toll roads — could proceed without a substantial input of tax dollars. Cue Emily Litella: “Ooooo. That’s different. Never mind.” And that was that. Game over, announced Florida Transportation Secretary Ananth Prasad. Time to “hit the reset button” and entertain more traditional projects. This is exactly as it should be. For all that remains intriguing and forward-looking about an elevated toll road across Pasco’s urbanizing southern corridor, the only feature recommending it just now was the notion that it would be privately financed. When that proved false, there was no reason to go further.