August 18, 2014


Public dollars, private rules: The charter school calculus
The phenomenal growth of charter schools nationwide has been aided by a canny legal strategy in which the schools claim to be public for the purpose of taking in tax dollars but private for the purpose of evading government oversight, according to Preston Green, John and Carla Klein Professor of Urban Education at UConn’s Neag School of Education.  “They’re picking and choosing whether they’re going to be public for one purpose or private for another,” says Green, who is also a professor of educational leadership and law at UConn.  Phys.Org

Editorial: A caution on P3s: Let elected officials and the public beware
When it comes to public-private partnerships, so-called “P3s,” the old adage — let the buyer beware — needs to be updated for governments planning to join with private companies to do public work or assume a public function. Let the public deal-maker beware. Let the public beware, too. Those P3 deals that look great in theory can be bad in reality. So demonstrated the report by the Post-Gazette’s Len Boselovic, who took a detailed look at the practice in a four-part series, “The P3 Dilemma,” that debuted last Sunday.  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Opinion: Teaching Is Not a Business
. . .Charter schools have been promoted as improving education by creating competition. But charter students do about the same, over all, as their public school counterparts, and the worst charters, like the online K-12 schools that have proliferated in several states, don’t deserve to be called schools. Vouchers are also supposed to increase competition by giving parents direct say over the schools their children attend, but the students haven’t benefited. For the past generation, Milwaukee has run a voucher experiment, with much-debated outcomes that to me show no real academic improvement. While these reformers talk a lot about markets and competition, the essence of a good education — bringing together talented teachers, engaged students and a challenging curriculum — goes undiscussed. The New York Times

White House Initiative to Expand Public-Private Partnerships
In a formal memorandum to the heads of Federal departments and agencies, President Obama directed a series of actions that are designed to enhance the use of P3s and to encourage awareness of a variety of federal financing tools. The memorandum states that it is the “policy of the Federal Government” to “facilitate, as appropriate, greater public and private partnership and collaboration, including with international investors and companies” for infrastructure projects. In order to promote the heightened use of P3s, the memorandum directs the following specific actions. The National Law Review

IL: Gov. fires private manager of Illinois Lottery amid mismanagement
In the wake of Gov. Pat Quinn’s firing of the private firm operating the Illinois lottery, further evidence has come to light that the state’s choice of the company, Northstar, was out of compliance with Illinois law in the first place. An investigation over the past several months by The Chronicle has shown that since the privatization of the Illinois Lottery in 2011, Northstar has failed to produce projected profits and has not held required Lottery Control Board meetings since assuming control of the state lottery’s daily operations.  The Columbia Chronicle

SC: Privatization of SC’s welfare to work program questioned
. . . In this case, a move by DSS to contract with the private firms at a total cost of $13.7 million since 2012 is being questioned. By DSS’s own standards, the program appeared to be doing well before the companies came aboard. . . In 2012 and part of 2013, DSS referred 9,468 people on or applying to welfare-to-jobs, which is a nearly 10-year low, according to DSS data. It’s also down from fiscal 2011, when the department helped almost 14,000 welfare recipients gain employment, a department best over the nearly 10-year span. “If this is Gov. Haley’s definition of success, she has very little to be proud of,” said Sen. Joel Lourie, D-Columbia.  Charleston Post Courier