January 23, 2014


Jeb Bush’s educational experiment. . .That year, Bush found a compatible source for ideas on education when he joined the board of the Heritage Foundation, which was generating papers and proposals to break up what it viewed as the government-run monopoly of the public-school system through free-market competition, with charters and private-school vouchers. Bush found school choice philosophically appealing. “Competition means everybody gets better,” he said. He enlisted Fair to help promote a state law authorizing charter schools, which, unlike vouchers, were gaining some Democratic supporters, including President Bill Clinton, who saw them as a way to allow educators to innovate within the public-school system. The law passed in 1996, with bipartisan support, and that year Bush and Fair founded the first charter school in the state. The New Yorker

The Beginning of the End of the Public University. Tom Hayden in an article on Mario Savion argued, “The current era of privatization and neoliberalism was born in Berkeley as a countermovement to the ’60s”. We did not see what was on the horizon, too caught up with our perceived victories perhaps to see a reaction building that would change higher education. EGP News

IL: Rauner OKs Tollway’s construction plans. . . Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur said Rauner’s administration gave the go-ahead after a review of the Tollway’s plans by Rauner’s staff and the Office of Management and Budget. A Rauner spokesman confirmed that information in an email to the Tribune. . .The Tollway’s Finance Committee on Wednesday approved four major construction contracts totaling $174 million for roadway and bridge reconstruction and widening on the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (Interstate 90) between Elgin and the Kennedy Expressway.   Chicago Tribune

TX: Bill would strip Dallas toll road builder of its eminent domain powers. . . State Rep. Cindy Burkett, R-Sunnyvale, filed a bill to strip the Texas Turnpike Corp. of its eminent domain powers, the Texas Tribune reported. The bill was filed in response to the corporation’s attempt to build the so-called Northeast Gateway, a controversial 27-mile tolled highway linking Garland to Greenville. A “grassroots uproar” started within Burkett’s district last year that ultimately killed the project, the Texas Tribune reported. Dallas Business Journal

OH: Head count shows ‘unusually high’ discrepancies at charter schools. When state auditors made a surprise visit to a Youngstown charter school, they found staff members but no students. Not one. . . . A report released yesterday by Ohio Auditor Dave Yost found significantly lower attendance at half of the 30 charter schools where auditors conducted unannounced head counts this past fall. The report raises questions about whether the schools receive more tax money than they are entitled because the state relies on student enrollment — reported by the schools — to calculate aid. The privately operated, publicly funded schools get nearly $6,000 per student each year. Columbus Dispatch

OR: Bottled water wars: Nestle’s latest move in Cascade Locks sparks outcry from opponents. . . So the world’s largest food and beverage company has hung on for six years, enduring legal challenges and public protests as it awaits state permits that would allow it to bottle and sell spring water now owned by the state government. Opponents warn against privatizing a public resource for corporate profits. Nestlé contends it’s simply responding to consumer demand. Now, Nestlé wants to scrap the existing permitting process for an approach with the potential to cut the remaining wait time in half.    OregonLive.com

NJ: Christie’s ‘aggressive action’: Emergency managers for A.C. Gov. Christie on Thursday installed an emergency management team in Atlantic City, asserting that outside assistance was needed to curtail the city’s financial free fall. . . . Asked whether the plan for Atlantic City could mirror actions taken in Michigan – where emergency managers could slash budgets, sell assets, privatize departments, and in some cases essentially sideline elected officials – Orr said he would be “very, very careful” in trying to “analogize” different communities. Philly.com

FL: Our opinion: Gov. Scott’s state workforce cuts extreme. . . A report issued last week documents that state employment fell by nearly 11,000 positions in Scott’s first term — a rate of reduction faster and further than any recent governor has recorded. Florida is dead last in the country for ratio of state employees to population and in the average monthly cost of state personnel. Those ratios don’t signify efficiency, but rather, an extreme approach to cutting with little regard for the consequences. Tallahassee.com