September 20, 2012


NE: UNL health center privatization draws advisory board’s concerns. The student board members wanted to know how the university would ensure the new provider would maintain the same quality of services the health center offers. Because students and health center faculty weren’t consulted in the decision to issue an RFP and privatize the health center, the board wanted to know how it will be able to express its opinion in the provider selection process after the RFP is due Oct. 5. Daily Nebraskan

IL: What does the Chicago strike mean for the national fight against privatization and corporate “school reform”? By early this week, the truth was hard to avoid and impossible to deny. The Chicago Teachers strike threatened to expose the vast gulf between some of the president’s rhetoric about preserving public education and protecting teachers, and the savagery of the Obama administration’s Race To The Top initiative, which ties federal education funding to how many public schools are closed and privatized, how many public school teachers fired, and how many of those remaining are evaluated according to business-friendly norms like test scores. Voice of Detroit

LA: Plan to Drive Working-Class Blacks out of New Orleans Preceded Katrina. The story of black displacement from New Orleans typically describes a post-Katrina conspiracy of white conservative elites and ambitious black politicians to change the city’s economic, political and social character. Low-income African-Americans displaced by the flood were denied financing for home repairs, and their public housing was demolished. But as John Arena demonstrates in his passionate new book, Driven From New Orleans: How Nonprofits Betray Public Housing and Promote Privatization, this displacement strategy was conceived, and implementation began, in the late 1980’s, well before Hurricane Katrina.  Beyond Chron

GA: Toll lanes move ahead. State transportation leaders vowed they are full steam ahead on the plan to build optional toll lanes in metro Atlanta, including building new ones on I-85 north of Old Peachtree Road.  Even so, their biggest toll project ran into unusual dissent on the Department of Transportation’s board Wednesday… But at the board meeting Wednesday, arguments about the project erupted. Board member Dana Lemon said she was “really concerned” at the “huge” amount of state gas tax money that would go toward this project alone: $300 million, or perhaps much more. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

On Teachers. Teachers, educators, intellectuals, and concerned citizens of all calling rose up—in one voice, with one statement: children are not widgets. Children, they said, should be the last treated as lab rats by Wall Street tycoons fanatically invested in privatizing all public institutions; and the Bush Administration knew the fight wouldn’t end simply by facing down insurgent teachers, for bullies, in the end, are greatly unpopular. Thus the scheme of paying “good” teachers—those who followed instruction to the T—and firing “bad” ones—those who questioned why a child’s ability for greatness had to pass through channels of narrow questions with even narrower sets of “multiple” answers. And many fell for it—even liberals otherwise committed to alleviating the profound political burdens crushing teachers. And in one fell swoop, the neoliberal cast cleaned house.  Counterpunch