February 20, 2013


Another former public education official working for Murdoch

Cozy. Justin Hamilton, who recently left the U.S. Department of Education, where he served as press secretary for Secretary Arne Duncan, has gone to work for Amplify, the online education company owned by Rupert Murdoch and run by Joel Klein….In December, Klein described Amplify’s business strategy at the UBS Global Media and Communication Conference, saying that it was up to the private sector to save public education with technology.  Washington Post

A Company That Runs Prisons Will Have Its Name on a Stadium

On Tuesday . . . the Florida Atlantic University, in Boca Raton, firmed a deal to rename its football building GEO Group Stadium. Perhaps that pushed stadium naming to its zenith, if only because the GEO Group is a private prison corporation. For this partnership, there is no obvious precedent. The university’s president described the deal as “wonderful” and the company as “well run” and by a notable alumnus. But it also left some unsettled, including those who study the business of sports and track the privatization of the prison industry. To those critics, this was a jarring case of the lengths colleges and teams will go to produce revenue, of the way that everything seems to be for sale now in sports — and to anyone with enough cash.  New York Times

AZ:  Coalition Opposes New “Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2013”

Said Don Steuter, Conservation Chair for the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon (Arizona) Chapter, “This bill is nothing more than special interest legislation for a foreign mining corporation.  It allows Rio Tinto to privatize public, sacred lands, including Oak Flat, which are of incalculable value to Native Americans, birders, rock climbers, and endangered species.  And it does this by sidestepping a cornerstone of our environmental laws – the National Environmental Policy Act.  We strongly oppose this bill and we are disappointed that some in our congressional delegation are once again trying to bypass the public and push through this bad deal. This legislation will harm our lands and provide little return to the American public.” Sacramento Bee

PA: Deadline Is Extended for British Firm Bid to Run Lottery

The Corbett administration persuaded a British firm to keep alive its bid to run the Pennsylvania Lottery past a Saturday expiration deadline, gaining time to try to overcome a ruling by the attorney general rejecting the privatization deal as unlawful….The ruling by the Democratic attorney general was a blow to months of efforts by the Republican governor to close the lottery deal.  Governing

PA: Panelists hear concerns about Allentown water, sewer lease

Environmental standards, rate increases and protections for city employees were among the concerns raised by Allentown residents Tuesday night during a public forum on the city’s proposed lease of its water and sewer systems.….But residents and anti-privatization advocates have raised many questions about the proposal, including the effects that it would have on Allentown residents and others in municipalities that get their water from the city’s system. Panelists fielded questions from about 75 people in attendance. Allentown Morning Call

WI: Voucher plan likely to spark fierce fight

Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to expand the private school voucher program statewide, while not allowing public school spending to increase, drew a raft of angry responses Monday from those who fear his budget leaves public school students behind. The debate over Walker’s public education funding proposal and desire to grow alternatives such as private school vouchers is likely to be one of the fiercest in the Statehouse this year, even dividing Republicans who control the Legislature. Beloit Daily News

MI: MSU Professor To Governor: Don’t ‘Privatize Michigan’s Public Schools’ With Vouchers

MSU Professor David Arsen lays out in academic style why he’s alarmed by a Republican push for “legislation to profoundly change funding for Michigan’s K-12 schools….“HB 5923 explicitly seeks to undermine local school districts as the providers of education services. But most Michigan citizens like their local public schools, and they like having democratic control over school boards. Their communities are defined by their local school districts. . . .Community is real. We know that it matters for health and happiness. And people are willing to pay for it. Real estate markets reflect the value people place on local school districts in home prices. Identical homes on opposite sides of a district boundary can differ in price by tens of thousands of dollars. Destroy the districts where people have paid extra for their community schools, and property values will fall.” Deadline Detroit

NY: Online petition to save NYC public libraries

An online petition is underway to push-back on Mayor Bloomberg’s efforts to tie funding of the city’s public libraries to the selling off of library assets—including the crown jewels of the system. SignOn.org