1% of US population in prison and they have 70-100% occupancy guarantees

http://truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/prison-populations-private-profits/18248-prison-populations-private-profitsThis is totally bizarre and should be unbelievable: about 1% (1 in 100) of the US population is in prison at any given time these days … and a growing number of prisons have contracts with state governments guaranteeing them occupancy rates as high as 100%. When inmate populations drop below the contracted rate, private prison contractors get their money by threatening to sue. Huffpost explains:

Arizona’s contractually obligated promise to fill prison beds is a common provision in a majority of America’s private prison contracts, according to a public records analysis released today by the advocacy group In the Public Interest. The group reviewed more than 60 contracts between private prison companies and state and local governments across the country, and found language mentioning quotas for prisoners in nearly two-thirds of those analyzed. read more

Dems don’t offer Blacks enough support but GOP is worse

Baratunde Thurston

Friend Bryan Alexander reminded me tonight that Dems take the Black vote entirely for granted. He’s so right. This is probably one of the big reasons that communities of color aren’t getting the help they expected with fighting public school takeovers by charters (Philly) … schools being just closed down (Chicago (where 49 schools were closed in one day – by Dem mayor Rahm Emmanuel) and Newark) and why Dems supported the devious Governor Christie’s 2013 re-election bid instead of getting behind Democratic Party candidate Barbara Buono – a progressive with a long, strong record of promoting excellence in public education, and transparency and accountability in the realm of public service and politics. read more

Privatization on steroids trend has deep hooks in public ed

schoolhouseIt escaped our notice that the privatization on steroids trend was reaching deeper hooks into public education than we dreamed it might. Yet, the encroachment makes sense within the context of increasing privatization every where. First, we had private food services doing the jobs of lunch ladies in our schools. We have seen a growing number of private corporations managing prison facilities … and some of them are currently extorting money from state governments which failed to live up to their contractual agreement to keep the prisons at least 95% full in order to satisfy the managing corporations’ profit expectations. read more

“School reform” aka diverting school funds to the rich

profiting by closing schools

profiting by closing schoolsDavid Sirota helps us see that the true mission of the corporate backed charter school initiative is to bust unions and divert public funds earmarked for student education. The goal is to remove barriers to corporate control of society and for rich guys to get all the money in the world (or at least the US). These people didn’t get the memo that you can’t take it with you.

The bottom line is clear: In attempting to change the mission of public education from one focused on educating kids to one focused on generating private profit, corporate leaders in the “reform” movement are pursuing a shrewd investment strategy. Millions of dollars go into campaign contributions and propaganda outfits that push “reform,” and, if successful, those “reforms” guarantee Wall Street and their investment vehicles much bigger returns for the long haul. read more

Poverty creates poor school performance. Time to stop it.

Kennedy with kids

Kennedy with kidsBobby Kennedy made hunger and poverty relief a top priority with his Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, but 50 years later the United States has the 2nd highest rate of poverty among industrialized nations. And Dale Hansen of the Detroit News is asking, if poverty is the biggest problem education faces, why aren’t we more focused on relieving it? Dale supplies his own answer: Republicans are way too committed to their war on public education to allow positive change to get in their way. read more

New report shows ed reform is failing our kids

Market-oriented reform report cover

Market-oriented reform report coverThe report Market-oriented education reforms’ rhetoric trumps reality issued this month (April 2013) by the Broader, Bolder Approach to Education concludes that so-called education reforms have led to bigger gaps and lost ground, “for the students they were supposed to support” – low-income, low achieving and Abbot District students. Outcomes were measured in Chicago, New York City, and Washington, D.C. Market-driven education is a concept introduced by Milton Friedman in his 1962 book Capitalism and Freedom. read more

How to Stop Your School from Being CLOSED

ALI 4/6 class flyerSaturday, April 6, 2013
Rutgers University-Newark
Boyden Hall Room 100
195 University Ave.
Newark, NJ 07102
Cost: Free

When the district hands down the list of schools to be closed each year, most of the reactions from parents, staff and students are after the fact. As a result, many of the planned school closings occur, and the people most impacted feel voiceless. Join us for a session that will teach you how to ask questions, examine data, and make sure the school has all it needs, which will both improve student outcomes and take your school off the “closing block”. Protests and Speaking are not enough to keep schools from being closed. Early preparation will work!   read more

Us or them? Goals for public education

An increasingly corporatized school system wishes to crush students with learning challenges because they are not expected to fulfill the mission being set: that students during the course of their educations should be trained to become willing and obedient servants of large corporations and of wealthy individuals upon graduation. But, is this what the people of the United States want to be? If not, we must begin evaluating what public education means to our families, our children and our overall society. We must ask: what is the purpose of public education? What are the life, moral and academic lessons we want imparted to our children during the course of their public school educations? read more

What is Cory Booker’s vision for Newark?

Honestly, I don’t know enough about Newark politics to make a judgment call about how well Cory Booker governs. I do have growing questions about how some important city matters are being handled, though. As the Green Drinks Newark founding host, people bring issues and questions to my attention and I feel a moral obligation to look into them. This 21 May article by Josh Benson purports to addresses some of the underlying political reasons things happen the way they do in Newark. Josh quotes State Senator Ronald Rice as saying, “… if people don’t understand it now by … Cory traveling throughout the country, the people he meets with, people he supports and all the stuff happening in Newark with hedge funds and investors, if they don’t understand he’s completely beholden to them, there’s something wrong with them.” read more