January 14, 2015


WY: Bill Would Study Transfer of Federal Lands to Wyoming. A Wyoming legislative committee is pushing a bill in the upcoming session to put up $100,000 to study the idea of seeking the transfer of federal lands to the state. The effort is part of a wider push in which several Western states have demanded the federal government transfer lands to them. Proponents say states could manage lands better. Opponents, including some national environmental groups, say the effort could be the first step toward privatization. Flathead Beacon

WI: Controversial proposal may privatize some public schools. . . The measure, labeled the School Accountability Bill, adds student testing and gives schools an A through F letter grade. School districts may be forced to give control of schools with failing grades over to private operators. “I call it a disaster. This bill weakens accountability. It attacks local control and democracy,” said Bob Peterson, president of the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association. “Currently, the state law says that all schools that receive public funds have to take the same test. You have to compare. But now, this bill says that private voucher schools, privately-run charter schools can choose their own test. It will be like comparing apples to oranges.” TMJ4

NY: Rally to Fund Schools Draws Hundreds to Albany. Hundreds of school children, parents, Democratic lawmakers and union organizers came to the Capitol to rally for more money for New York’s schools. The event was part of what’s become known as Moral Mondays, modeled after similar events in North Carolina. That movement was led by Reverend William Barber II, a North Carolina chapter leader of the N.A.A.C.P in response to Republican budget cuts. Barber also attended the Albany rally, where he took on Gov. Andrew Cuomo directly. . . . Barber also railed against charter schools, which he says only add to inequality and “isolation” of poor students. Cuomo supports these privately managed but publicly funded schools. WNYC

MD: Larry Hogan names transportation chief; Keiffer Mitchell as charter school adviser. Gov.-elect Larry Hogan continued to fill out his administration Tuesday, naming a transportation secretary who has held the same role in two other states and picking a former Baltimore City delegate to handle growing charter schools. . . . His selection as Maryland’s transportation chief could signal an emphasis on road building and public-private partnerships. Rahn is known as an effective highway builder who has suggested public-private partnerships to raise money for transportation systems in difficult economic times. Hogan also named Democratic Del. Keiffer Mitchell as a special advisor. Mitchell will be charged with boosting charter schools in Maryland. Baltimore Business Journal

RI: City bus monitors oppose privatization efforts

More than 100 city employees turned out in force at Monday’s school board meeting to speak out against a proposal that could leave them out of a job if city officials opt to privatize bus monitoring services. Providence Eyewitness News

PA: Another View: Why privatizing Crozer would be a disaster. . . The “value” of the Crozer health system belongs to the community it serves; the community has earned that ownership interest through a hundred years of foregone, uncollected taxes. Because the community has earned its ownership of the Crozer system’s value, it would be inexcusable to turn over such a vital and prized community asset to a for-profit operator that will no longer operate in the interest of the community. When for-profit hospital corporations set up shop, here’s what happens. The flowery promises they make to “seal the deal” will inevitably be broken. For-profit hospitals also routinely shut down maternity and psychiatric services, vital community services but sometimes money losers for health systems. They also close hospitals that break even or suffer even small losses. The Delaware County Daily Times

A Telling Tale Of Two Senators. While Sen. Majority leader Mitch McConnell was boastfully crediting Republicans as the force behind today’s recovering economy, Ohio’s Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown was firing up opposition to a GOP plan to erode Social Security Disability Insurance. There could be no greater contrast in the behavior of a vengeful obstructionist who will be the Senate megaphone of his party’s reactionaries and Brown’s forceful stand to protect the Federal program from an assault by the newly-elected chest-pounders. Plunderbund