Saturday, January 7, 2017

Catch up with CURMUDGUCATION: How Privatization Works (Part 2,351,142) + The DeVos in the Details


How Privatization Works (Part 2,351,142)
Here's a recent story from the DC area Fox affiliate that shows how things play out when you privatize a public service. In this case, the service is roads. And this picture tells you what you need to know. That's right-- $30 to use the express lane. Express lanes are managed by Transurban , an Australian company that manages, develops, and owns urban toll roads . There's a whole website just for


The DeVos in the Details
The United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (yes, HELP has apparently taken a position on the Oxford comma) has a basic form that executive branch nominees have to fill out. The nice folks at Politico are hosting an on-line copy of the 23-page public portion of that paperwork as filled out by USED Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos (thanks, Jennifer Berkshire). So even t
PA: The Property Tax Problem
AP's Marc Levy reports this week that Pennsylvania's legislature ( one of the largest and most expensive ones in the country ) is expected this year to once again tackle one of the great third rails of Pennsylvania politics-- property taxes. This system is part of the mechanism that gives Pennsylvania one of the country's largest funding gaps between rich and poor districts. The state provides aro

JAN 05

A Lesson from China
We're witnessing another lesson in how free market forces work, and how business interests often run contrary to the public interest. And the lesson is coming from China, of all places. This is a lesson that started with Google, way back in 2006. That was the year that Google set aside the motto "don't be evil" for the more pragmatic "don't be shut out of the enormous Chinese market," and willingl

JAN 04

Supremes May Decide How Much Education Is Enough
The case of Endrew F. vs. Douglas County School District has finally wended its way to the Supreme Court, and it could have some serious implications for school districts across the country. Endrew F. is a studentwith autism and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). With the help of an IEP, he attended pre-K through 4th grade in Douglas County Schools out in Colorado (if that sounds fam
Six Reasons To Oppose Betsy DeVos
Senate hearings on Herr Trump's cabinet picks are coming up soon, and you should be calling your Senator. There are many good reasons for opposing Betsy DeVos as a Secretary of Education. 1) No experience with public education. This is not like appointing someone to the post of Attorney General who is not a lawyer-- this is like appointing someone Attorney General who has never been to court. DeVo

JAN 02

Test Prep Abroad
Because I search for a wide assortment of education-related stuff on line, the cookie-bot dance often brings me strange, new advertisements. Like a link to, an test prep outfit in Nungambakka, Chennai, which is on the southwest side of India. Just up the street from Pizza Hut. Right there in the world. Just up the street from Pizza Hut I wish I had saved their ad, but some copy fro
The Conservative Argument Against DeVos
It's not just progressives who have been up in arms about the nomination of Betsy DeVos to the post of Secretary of Education. The same network of conservative parent activists that raised an effective fuss over Common Core are exceedingly unpleased about the big-money donor and lobbyist being given the reins for education. The pressure to reject DeVos won't be coming just from the left and it won

JAN 01

ICYMI: Kicking Off the Year
Let's get ready for another round. Remember to share the pieces that speak to you-- amplifying voices is the very least we can do. The Great Unwinding of Public Education One of the better explanations of what has happened in Detroit and how Betsy DeVos shares blame for it. Carolina Coup and the Fight for Public Education Jeff Bryant does a great job of connecting the dots between North Carolina's

DEC 31

2017: 9 Wishes
It is easy when you're in the pro-public education camp, trying to call out and push back against the many and varied attacks on public education-- it's easy in that place to get wrapped up in No and forget to articulate what you want to see. So as a sort of New Year's palate cleanser, let me lay out what things I do want to see happen in the world of public education in the year ahead. I should n

The 2017 Dozen: What Can I Do?
All right. So some folks are pretty upset about 2016. There was certainly lots to not love about the year on many scales. Some of that is real (Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds gone in two days??!!), and some of it is just heightened sensitivity to what is not really news (What?! America still has racism!?). 

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