January 5, 2015


Inconvenient Truth: America’s Public Schools Are Among Highest Achieving In The World. . . In fact, according to yet another study, America’s wealthiest traditional public schools that are unionized with tenured teachers are among the world’s highest achieving schools. If, as privatization “reformers” in Republican, corporate, and Obama Education Department claim that America’s public schools are dire failures, then America’s wealthy public schools with unionized teachers, and tenure, would be failing and not at the “top of the international charts.” PoliticusUSA

Exposing the charter school lie: Michelle Rhee, Louis CK and the year phony education reform revealed its true colors. . . As 2014 began, more stories about charter schools scandals continued to drip out from local press outlets – a chain of charter schools teaching creationism, a charter school closing abruptly for mysterious reasons, a charter high school operating as a for-profit “basketball factory,” recruiting players from around the world while delivering a sub-par education. Salon

Congresswoman Maxine Waters condemns RAD public housing privatization scheme. . . The top ranking Democrat on the committee has openly spoken out in recent months against the efforts of that industry’s lobbyists to persuade Congress to privatize our nation’s public housing stock through the RAD program. In past years, with help from mayors across the nation, the affordable housing industry has done everything possible to break down the barriers between public housing and so-called affordable housing. San Francisco Bay View

MA: New administration can expect wide debate on charter schools. When Governor-elect Charlie Baker charts his agenda for bolstering the state’s education system, local school leaders and advocates are hoping charter schools, state mandates, and funding issues are all high on his list of topics. . . . On an issue that could put them at odds with the incoming governor, some school officials are urging that the state retain its cap on the number of charter schools. Baker has expressed support for removing the limit, and his pick for the next secretary of education, James A. Peyser, is a strong advocate for charter schools. Boston Globe

NJ: Editorial: Gov. Christie’s agenda threatens Liberty State Park. If you enjoy the glorious, unspoiled vistas of Liberty State Park – easily the most popular public space in the northern half of our state – you may want to prepare yourself for the possibility that someone wants to carve a neon noisemaker right into the heart of its 600 pristine acres. A bill is currently on the governor’s desk that would remove the park from under the control of the Department of Environmental Protection, which is charged with protecting our state’s resources, and hand it over to the Meadowlands Regional Commission, a new entity that is all about business development and gaming. . . . Jersey City mayor Steve Fulop calls the bill a “formal step to attempt to privatize” that would be “a black eye for the state of New Jersey.” It certainly is a black eye for democracy. Not only was passed in the legislative shadows, its language is beyond vague, apparently so no one would notice that it could sharply curtain the influence of the DEP – the same DEP that prevented the construction of a water park and golf course inside the park after, you guessed it, public hearings. Star Ledger

KS: KanCare company counters lawsuit accusing it of unethical behavior. An incendiary lawsuit over the business practices of one of the companies running KanCare, the Brownback administration’s privatization of Kansas’ $3 billion Medicaid program, just got more explosive. The company, Sunflower State Health Plan, responded this week to a lawsuit accusing it of unethical behavior, saying the plaintiff, “an executive who was fired,” was trying to extort it. Kansas City Star

MO: Highway commission: I-70 tollway across Missouri is ‘worthy of consideration’. A Missouri toll system for Interstate 70, with a total cost of between $20 and $30 per car for a cross-state trip, could raise the roughly $2 billion the state would need for a major reconstruction and expansion project on the highway, the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission says in a new report. The commission’s conclusion that a toll system is “worthy of consideration” was expected, and is in line with what Gov. Jay Nixon is proposing. St. Louis Post-Dispatch

CT: CT governor won’t rule out possibility of tolls. It’s been about 30 years since toll booths dotted Connecticut highways and it could take a lot to bring them back. Generations of drivers now travel the state highways uninterrupted by the cost, delays, and possible danger of tolls. They were phased out after a crash at a Stratford toll barrier in January 1983. A tractor-trailer plowed into cars, triggering an explosion that killed seven people. Now, lawmakers may look at lifting the ban on tolls to help pay for upgrades to bridges, roads, and maybe even railways. wwlp.com

CA: Toll roads can be a bumpy ride. California’s first ventures into the world of privately-funded freeways have been a bumpy ride. Connecting jobs centers in Orange County to cheaper housing in Riverside County, the 10-mile 91 Express Lanes were built in the middle of an existing public freeway, offering drivers four lanes to bypass — at a price — Southern California’s notorious gridlock. Operated by California Private Transportation Corp., the road was slow to draw motorists and included a controversial “non-compete” clause, which limited the government’s ability to make roadway improvements elsewhere, sparking lawsuits and motorist outrage. Eventually, Orange County transportation officials bought out the road. Other proposals never made it off the drawing board after opposition from local government and environmentalists. Monterey County Herald