Archive for the ‘Privatization’ Category

Council of Chiefs: Jeb Bush Advising On Privatizing Public Education

April 28, 2011 Comments off

Two story references on Council of Chiefs in this post.

On one hand, the bill seems to reflect some cognitive dissonance on the part of state legislators. In spite of repeated references to the idea that “local control is the key to the success of schools and districts,” Texas lawmakers are now putting forth legislation that would strip away local control over teaching and learning. [1]

Besides the Kochs, the Bush clan has done more damage to our country than any other family in recent history. George Bush SR was involved in Iran-Contra. GW Bush help bankrupt the nation from two unfunded wars and little regulatory over sight of the financial sector which led to the Great recession, and now Jeb Bush is leading the charge on privatizing our public schools as part of the Republican-Libertarian “reform” agenda.

Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, is acting as an advisor to governors and lawmakers, mostly Republicans, who are advocating privatization of public education.

Mr. Bush has been active in helping advise state Republican lawmakers in crafting legislation in Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Utah. This is part of a new group called the Chiefs for Change and Council of Chiefs who are promoting radical changes to public education.

Let’s stop right here. A national foundation is not elected by the citizens of any town, city, county or municipality. There is no elected representation. These may be elected superintendents, but often they are appointed. This is an end run around representative government such as we are seeing in Michigan. He is promoting private-school vouchers and online courses.

Related: Texas Legislature to Consider Extreme Education Isolation
Taking its renegade reputation to a whole new level, the Texas legislature is expected to consider House Bill 2923, which would amend the state education code to explicitly prohibit the adoption of any curriculum standards that are shared by — well, anyone but Texas.

Introduced by State Rep. Dan Huberty, who campaigned on eliminating the state’s standardized tests altogether, the bill promotes extreme education isolationism:

“The State Board of Education…shall require each district to provide instruction in the essential knowledge and skills at appropriate grade levels. A district may not meet this requirement through the use of national curriculum standards…no school district or open enrollment charter school may be required to offer any aspect of a national curriculum…[and] may not adopt or develop a criterion-referenced assessment instrument based on national curriculum standards.”

It further defines “national curriculum standards,” as including “any curriculum standards endorsed, approved, sanctioned or promoted by the United States Department of Education, the National Governors Association, or the Council of Chief State School Officers.”

See that…. this new legislation would empower a non-elected group to oversee education.

Read entire post at Think Progress, Wonk Room, click here


Koch Juice: ALG and Other Right-Wing Front Groups Abound

April 27, 2011 Comments off

“What State Policy Network has done to promote and help build these state-focused think tanks has been one of the great initiatives of the Free Market Movement.”

-Stephen Moore, Wall Street Journal

They have multiplied by the hundreds. Blogs supported by the State Policy Network and the Kochs and the Libertarian right-wing. They are paying bloggers through award programs like the Sam Adams Alliance award called the Sammies, to spread the word of their vision for America.

Here is their link, click here

And who sponsors Sam Adams Alliance? None other than Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity (Changing the Nation, One State at a Time)

Read more:
Go to this page and see for yourself.

Here’s another: Americans for Limited Government —

Americans for Limited Government (ALG) is a conservative, libertarian think tank. Its primary concerns are tax and spending reform, property rights restoration, school choice, limiting the size of government, and political term limits. (Wikipedia)

ALG supported campaigns in 12 states for the November 2006 election.

ALG promotes a free-market approach to the American public school system based on vouchers or charter schools, arguing that competition among schools will increase both the quality and the economic efficiency of public education. (Wikipedia)

The organization claims that privatizing American schools will decrease education spending, promote accountability in school administration, and permit parents a greater degree of control over the schools their children attend.

Opponents claim that ever since Milton Friedman suggested the concept during the aftermath of Brown v. Board of Education, vouchers have functioned to increase racial and economic discrimination in schools, beginning in the late 1950s with the appearance of segregation academies. Critics also contend that since approximately four out of five US private schools are religious, voucher and charter systems violate the Constitution. (Wikipedia)

From their web site:

What does Americans for Limited Government do?
ALG is dedicated to putting the principles of limited government into action. We work with local groups across the nation to promote freedom, limited government, and the principles of the U.S. Constitution.

The time is ripe for an independent, nonpartisan political movement that fights for hardworking taxpayers against the special interests that continually push for big government nationwide. *end quote

That’s a lie. They are very much partisan and back specific people like Ron Paul, a John Bircher Libertarian. They do not work for everyday Americans. They work for the Kochs and other industrialists. So, that’s a fabrication – another lie. They want to privatize public education, do away with what they see as welfare: Medicare, Medicaid, and unions.

Here is the spin from The State Policy Network: Fueling the New Revolution

Free enterprise is under attack from a well-funded and motivated political establishment. With a historically high national debt, significant political turmoil and a critical series of public policy milestones approaching, we will decide in short order whether we continue down the path of European-style social democracy or whether we return to our Constitutional roots as a free-market Republic.

Free enterprise is not our government. Free enterprise is a function of our economy. The political turmoil is coming from the right-wing who wants to dismantle the remnants of the New Deal coalition and legacy of the Great Society legislation passed in 1965 by President Johnson.

Please share and make your friends aware.


Exposed! State Policy Network

April 27, 2011 Comments off

You want to know why Democrats are so woefully ill equipped to deal with Republican Libertarian party? Don’t fool yourself, that IS the Republican party – Libertarians in the style of the late Senator from Arizona, Barry Goldwater. Whenever I see the Cato Institute in any reporting, I know we are talking hard core Libertarians. Who backs the Cato Institute? The Koch brothers, the Coors Foundation, and the Ruth and Lovett Peters Foundation. Libertarians have taken over the Republican party.

Andy Kroll should be awarded a Pulitzer prize for this story. It rips the cover right off the conservative-Libertarian-Republican movement.

According to a April 25th article in Mother Jones: Conceived by the same conservative ideologues who helped found the Heritage Foundation, the State Policy Network (SPN) is a little-known umbrella group with deep ties to the national conservative movement. Its mission is simple: to back a constellation of state-level think tanks loosely modeled after Heritage that promote free-market principles and rail against unions, regulation, and tax increases. By blasting out policy recommendations and shaping lawmakers’ positions through briefings and private meetings, these think tanks cultivate cozy relationships with GOP politicians. And there’s a long tradition of revolving door relationships between SPN staffers and state governments. While they bill themselves as independent think tanks, SPN’s members frequently gather to swap ideas. “We’re all comrades in arms,” the network’s board chairman told the National Review in 2007.

Founded in 1992 by businessman and Reagan administration insider Thomas Roe—who also served on the Heritage Foundation’s board of trustees for two decades—the group has grown to include 59 “freedom centers,” or affiliated think tanks, in all 50 states. SPN’s board includes officials from Heritage and right-wing charities such as the Adolph Coors and Jacqueline Hume foundations. Likewise, its deep-pocketed donors include all the usual heavy-hitting conservative benefactors: the Ruth and Lovett Peters Foundation, which funds the Cato Institute and Heritage; the Castle Rock Foundation, a charity started with money from the conservative Coors Foundation; and the Bradley Foundation, a $540 million charity devoted to funding conservative causes. SPN uses their contributions to dole out annual grants to member groups, ranging from a few thousand dollars to $260,000, according to 2009 records.

Read entire article, click here

See list of the 59 organizations, click here The State Policy Network is a professional service organization for the “state-based free market think tank movement.” Its founding chairman was Thomas A. Roe, who died in 2000. He was succeeded by Gaylord K. Swim, who died in 2005. The current board members are listed below.

Check out State Policy Network for yourself, click here


Michigan: Financial Swat Teams Being Trained to Restructure Local Cities and Counties Denying Citizens Rights to Representative Governing

April 26, 2011 Comments off

The private companies will play an important role in state restructuring, said Joyce, the Ecorse emergency manager. For example, Southfield-based Plante & Moran PLLC works on accounting services and Miller Canfield Paddock & Stone Plc, a Detroit law firm, provides legal counsel to Ecorse, she said.

On Bloomberg Midday Surveillance with Tom Keane this morning, his guest reported financial “swat teams” are being trained to manage Michigan’s cities and counties amidst their fiscal crisis. Wake up Michiganites! Your state government is being restructured by corporate interests!

The ruse on this whole deal is the state is inviting public employees to participate in this unconstitutional action as though their involvement makes them stakeholders and thus legitimizes the action. This manipulation runs roughshod over citizen run representative government.

Bloomberg wrote an article on April 17th. Here is the justification laid out in a logical fashion but completely denying citizens rights to run their own government.

“The knowledge and expertise from both the private and public perspective can help an emergency manager do a better job,” said Joyce Parker, who has been in charge in Ecorse since November 2009. Public officials can better understand the best ideas of industry and company experts can learn about government operating environments and open meetings requirements, she said.

SWAT Approach

“A SWAT team is an OK way to look at this,” said Michigan State University’s Eric Scorsone, an economist who helped organize the class with the turnaround association. “This is coming together on the fly. We’ve had the program for 20 years without any real training.”

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, a Republican, signed a law March 16 granting state-appointed financial managers new powers that include terminating employee contracts and suspending collective bargaining for as long as five years. Snyder said the added restructuring powers will help keep Michigan communities out of bankruptcy. Enactment of the law came as governors in Wisconsin and Ohio confronted thousands of protesters against measures aimed at curbing union power and cutting state costs.

Michigan has emergency managers running the schools in Detroit as well as the cities of Pontiac, Ecorse and Benton Harbor. Flint, Hamtramck, Highland Park and Three Oaks Village have had managers in the past. Hamtramck has sought to reorganize under Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, which the state has refused to permit.

Read entire article, click here


Wisconsin: Walker Proposes to Eliminate County Government

April 21, 2011 Comments off

Governor Scott Walker is being recalled. Why? This man is out of control. He is promoting ideology that is dangerous and counter to fundamental representative democracy. He is foisting his ideas upon the good people of Wisconsin. He wants to privatize government.

Think Progress reports: This week, a Michigan citizens group filed a petition to recall Gov. Rick Snyder (R), who has been radically restructuring his state after being empowered by a new law that allowed him to unilaterally abrogate contracts made by local governments. Snyder has been using this form of “financial martial law” to do things like dispatch an “emergency financial manager” to Detroit who promptly laid off every single one of the city’s teachers.

Now, Forbes’s Rick Ungar has been reporting that he has a well-placed source in Wisconsin who believes that Gov. Scott Walker (R) is planning a similar form of financial martial law. Walker denied the rumor, telling a local radio show that “nobody on his staff or administration is working on such a plan.”

Yet in a new video of Walker addressing the Greater Milwaukee Committee (GMC) in 2009, it appears that Walker, who was then a county executive, may have been insinuating that he supports such a plan under which the state would radically restructure local government finances. He told the GMC that if county boards do not “act on major reforms,” then it’s worth looking into “the possibility of eliminating county government”:

Walker’s Communications Director, Chris Schrimpf, e-mailed Ungar and said that Walker was talking about “finding efficiencies in a local government that is one hundred percent incorporated.” Yet it is unclear how this would necessarily underlie the premise that there has to be “an alternative for county government,” as Walker says in his speech. Either way, if Walker does not support declaring Synder-style financial martial law in Wisconsin, then he should not only say his staff is not working on such a plan but that he disavows such an idea.

Source: Think Progress click here


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