August 22, 2014


We Must Protect Taxpayers in Public-Private Partnerships
But using P3s – which insert private interests into the development of public infrastructure – has proven to be difficult and even counterproductive when adequate care isn’t taken to protect the public interest and include equity considerations and standards. Governments often fail to fully consider the direct and indirect policy implications of these arrangements, the economic and fiscal impacts of long-term contracts, and fail to seize opportunities to create family-supporting jobs and alleviate poverty.  Huffington Post (blog)

NC: Judge rules state voucher program unconstitutional
. . . Wake County Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood ruled that it is unconstitutional for tax dollars to go to privately run schools. Hobgood also said because the vouchers were going to schools that are not required to meet state curriculum requirements, the program violated the state constitution’s guarantee of a sound basic education. . . . The case centered on what state lawmakers call the opportunity scholarships program. It provides up to $4,200 to parents who meet income requirements and want to send a child to private school. To be eligible, students have to live in a household there they would qualify for free or reduced price lunch. That’s about $44,000 for a family of four. . . . “They (the vouchers) were truly unconstitutional, and they also did not have the welfare of all students at heart,” said Sandra Byrd, who taught education at UNC Asheville before she retired. Byrd was one of six local plaintiffs who took part in the one of the lawsuits. Asheville Citizen-Times

OH: Editorial: Public beware
Texas State Highway 130 was a private toll road, but toll revenues did not live up to expectations and private investors defaulted on bank loans. The South Bay Expressway in San Diego went bankrupt and was resold. After Chicago turned its parking meters over to a private company, rates increased dramatically. . . . States such as Ohio must learn from the mistakes of others. It seems that the more governments lose control of their core duties for long periods, the more trouble they invite. Everybody beware. Toledo Blade

AZ: Schools, Society And Snake Oil Salesmen – Opinion
. . . However, some people deny this fundamental correlation between family income and educational achievement. In fact, leaders of the Education Reform/Privatization movement have spent years and hundreds of millions of dollars purposely, systematically, repeatedly denying the connection, or at least minimizing its importance. Low achievement by students from low income families isn’t about poverty, they maintain. It’s about failing schools, bad teachers — and, of course, teachers unions which pamper their members and ignore the needs of the students. “Stop making excuses!” they shout to people who acknowledge that low income schools tend to have low performing students. “Students will do great things if you just give them great teachers with high expectations!”  Tucson Weekly