November 28, 2012


NJ & PA: States on treasure hunt with privatization plans – Editorial

State officials in Harrisburg and Trenton shouldn’t gamble on the Pennsylvania and New Jersey lotteries – particularly if the promised gains from planned privatization schemes prove as elusive as this week’s $500 million Powerball jackpot. Philadelphia Inquirer

DC: Audit Shows Parking Ticket Contract Mismanaged

Meter maids issue more than three tickets for every single resident of Washington, DC every year. Employees of the private contractor Affiliated Computer Services (ACS, now a part of Xerox) and other DC departments issue a total of 2.5 million citations. The revenue generated has been so substantial a report by the city’s inspector general issued November 15 suggests officials are not interested in doing anything to upset the existing system.

NY: Union threatens to sue if Onondaga County moves to sell nursing home

The union that represents workers at the Van Duyn nursing home said Tuesday it may sue Onondaga County if, as expected, the county takes the first step toward selling the 513-bed facility to a private operator. Mark Kotzin, a spokesman for the Civil Service Employees Association, said the union believes it would be illegal for the county to transfer ownership of Van Duyn Home & Hospital to the Onondaga Civic Development Corp.  Syracuse Post Standard

TX: Faculty members respond to plans for custodial outsourcing

Though the complete outsourcing of custodial positions at Texas State may take 10 to 15 years, some faculty and staff are already beginning to consider its effects… Some faculty are concerned because of the close relationships they hold with Texas State-employed custodians. Rebecca Montgomery, associate professor in the Department of History, said the same Texas  State custodian has cleaned the Taylor Murphy History building for years. “We just do not want her to be replaced with outsourced employees because we value the relationship we have with (the custodian),” Montgomery said.  University Star

TX: Dallas Museum of Art drops admission fee            ‎

The DMA announcement bucks the privatizing wave that grabbed the United States by the throat more than 30 years ago, a grim development that might finally be petering out in a generational shift.  Los Angeles Times

Jeb Bush, with cash and clout, pushes contentious school reforms           

And some of the policies Bush now pushes, such as vouchers and mandatory online classes, have no clear links to the test-score bump in Florida. Bush has been particularly vigorous about promoting online education, urging states to adopt policies written with input from companies that stand to profit from expanded cyber-schooling. Many of those companies also donate to Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education, which has raised $19 million in recent years to promote his agenda nationwide.  Reuters

For-Profit College Regulations Are Needed, Concede Some Industry Presidents

A Senate investigation lead by Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin, chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, revealed that students at for-profit schools take out higher-than-average student debt loads, have a poor job placement record and mostly fail to graduate — but the schools collected $32 billion in taxpayer dollars last year alone.  Huffington Post