Tag Archives: Missouri

School bus driver banned after young child suffers concussion on ride home

Source: Rob Low, FOX 4, January 13, 2014

A six-year-old girl suffered a concussion on her school bus ride home last Friday afternoon. The parents of Aliah Bilberry are upset that the bus driver didn’t call them, the girl’s school or Apple Bus company dispatch after the incident….The couple said that Aliah, a kindergartner at University Academy charter school, fell asleep on the bus ride home. They say at some point the driver hit the brakes and Aliah fell forward, hitting her head on a metal bar behind the bus driver. The couple’s 13-year-old daughter was also on the bus. The teen told her parents that the bus driver offered her younger sister a paper towel to wipe the blood from her head, but did nothing more to make sure the six-year-old was okay…. Kline went on to say that while University Academy can’t force Apple Bus company to fire the driver, but he’s told Apple Bus that the driver has been banned from transporting students for University Academy….

2 national groups push for more privatization

Source: Bob Watson, News Tribune, January 15, 2014

The group Americans For Prosperity on Tuesday launched a nine-week campaign to suggest ways the Missouri General Assembly and Gov. Jay Nixon can “think outside the box, really go after some bold ideas,” said Patrick Werner, AFP’s Missouri director. Missouri lawmakers meet in Jefferson City for 18 weeks this year, so the AFP campaign will contact lawmakers for half of the session, promoting its nine-issue proposal it calls the “Path to Prosperity.” … In a news release — and in a page on the group’s website, americansforprosperity.org — AFP-Missouri said the nine topics in the campaign include: Prosperity & Freedom, Tax Reform, Education, Spending & Budget, Patient Protections, Energy, Regulatory Reform, Privatization & Municipal Reforms and Worker Freedoms. …

Out of Control: The Coast-to-Coast Failures of Outsourcing Public Services to For-Profit Corporations

Source: In The Public Interest, December 2013

From the abstract:
Eager for quick cash, state and local governments across America have for decades handed over control of critical public services and assets to corporations that promise to handle them better, faster and cheaper. Unfortunately for taxpayers, not only has outsourcing these services failed to keep this promise, but too often it undermines transparency, accountability, shared prosperity and competition – the underpinnings of democracy itself. As state legislatures soon reconvene, policy makers likely will consider more outsourcing proposals. Out of Control: The Coast-to-Coast Failures of Outsourcing Public Services to For-Profit Corporations serves as a cautionary tale for lawmakers and taxpayers alike.

Out of Control: The Coast-to-Coast Failures of Outsourcing Public Services to For-Profit Corporations

Broke KC charter school leaves teachers without final paycheck

Source: Mará Rose Williams, Kansas City Star, July 3, 2013

Teachers at the recently shuttered Derrick Thomas Academy charter school haven’t been paid, and no one seems to know when — or if — they ever will be. …The money that might have covered teacher salaries is tied up in court over a dispute among the school, the company contracted to manage it and the company that issued bonds for the school’s launch. …

…The academy announced last fall it would close after UMKC refused to renew its charter, citing poor management and low test scores. The school has since been overseen by an interim board. The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has been named in legal action to garnish more than $2.2 million that the management company, EdisonLearning Inc., says it is owed. Derrick Thomas Academy, now locked up behind a heavy black gate, also owes a substantial amount of money to the bondholder for the school, Lord Abbett….

..The state education department, which funds the public charter school, sent its final per-pupil payment for the 2012-2013 school year — more than $1 million — to Jackson County Circuit Court….

National Charter School Study 2013

Source: Edward Cremata, Devora Davis, Kathleen Dickey, Kristina Lawyer, Yohannes Negassi, Margaret E. Raymond, James L. Woodworth, CREDO at Stanford University, 2013

From the press release:
A new, independent national study finds improvement in the overall performance of charter schools, driven in part by the presence of more high – performing charters and closure of underperforming charter schools.

The National Charter School Study 2013, released today by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University, is an update and expansion of CREDO’s 2009 landmark 16-state study, Multiple Choice, the first study to take a comprehensive look at the impact of charter schools on student performance. The 2009 study found a wide variance in quality among charter schools, with students in charter schools not faring as well in the aggregate as those attending traditional public schools.

The National Charter School Study 2013 looks at performance of students in charter schools in 26 states and New York City, which is treated separately as the city differs dramatically from the rest of the state. In those states (and New York City), charter school students now have greater learning gains in reading than their peers in traditional public s chools. Traditional public schools and charter schools have equivalent learning gains in mathematics….

ALEC v Kids: ALEC’s Assault on Public Education

Source: Progress Florida, Better Georgia, Progress Iowa, Progress Michigan, Progress Missouri, Progress Now Nevada, Progress Texas, Alliance for a Better Utah, Progress VA, 2013

From Progress Iowa’s summary:
Read the new report detailing the damaging influence the corporate front group ALEC has on public education policy. The report, ALEC v Kids, demonstrates the growing influence ALEC holds in Iowa and across the country, including its secretive access to elected officials and the drafting of ‘model’ education policy designed to benefit ALEC’s corporate funders which compliant lawmakers pass off as their own then push into law.

Among the key findings in ALEC v Kids:

Iowa enacted ALEC’s indirect voucher policy in 2006, a tax giveaway to defund public education and instead provide tax breaks for attending private schools

ALEC is attempting to expand charter schools across the country, including in Iowa. Governor Vilsack signed legislation in 2002 establishing a pilot program of charter schools, and although this year’s legislation did not pass, ALEC and its ally Students First appear to be gearing up for renewed legislative efforts in our state.

Bridgepoint Education, a corporate member of ALEC’s education task force, operates one of their two online universities in Iowa (Ashford University in Clinton). Bridgepoint has an abysmal track record, one of the worst of any of their competitors (84.4% of students seeking an associates degree withdraw from school).

ALEC v. Kids focuses on nine states, and analyzes the disastrous effect of ALEC’s education policy. The report details examples at the state level, specifically the negative effects of ALEC policies and the coordination between ALEC and its allies. By examining the real world effects of ALEC policies and coordination across a single issue, this report examines ALEC from a unique perspective.

When public infrastructure goes private

Source: Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, April 12, 2013

…Google is bringing a fiber-optic data network to homeowners in Kansas City, Mo., and Kan., but without the usual regulations. That means underprivileged neighborhoods may be left in the digital dust….But Google Fiber, as the network is called, is the best example of the private rollout of socially crucial infrastructure. In 2010, the company invited communities to compete to become the first location of a service providing connection speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second, as much as 100 times faster than the average high-speed network. Bids arrived from 1,100 communities, and the winners were Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo. Last week, Google announced that Austin, Texas, will be the next municipality to get the service.

It was obvious from the start that the removal of regulatory obstacles would count heavily in the race. The victors promised sedulous cooperation, including a team to provide “on-the-spot” exceptions where rules and regulations threatened delays. The two Kansas Cities even bowed to the demand they “obtain Google’s approval for all public statements” about the project.

Notably, they didn’t insist that Google guarantee service to their most disadvantaged communities. The reason is obvious: They didn’t have any real choice about the terms; it was fiber on Google’s terms, or no fiber at all….

State shuts Northwest Hab Center as part of effort to move residents to group homes

Source: Jeremy Kohler, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 27, 2012

The state of Missouri recently shuttered Northwest Habilitation Center, a state-run, 80-bed residential care center for developmentally disabled people, the latest step in the state’s effort to move residents into smaller, community-based homes. …. Residents were moved to other state-run institutions or private homes under contract with the state to care for developmentally disabled people. ….. Missouri is one of many states trying to move clients into “community settings,” such as private homes.

School board votes down plan to outsource Battle janitors

Source: Catherine Martin, Columbia Daily Tribune, November 13, 2012

The Columbia Board of Education last night rejected a proposal to outsource maintenance staff at Battle High School after hearing concerns from Columbia Public Schools janitors.

Administrators first asked the board to consider outsourcing to GCA Education Services, based in Knoxville, Tenn., at a meeting last month. The proposal was sent back to the administration after some board members voiced concerns about pay and benefits. A revised proposal, with increased pay and benefits, went to the board last night, but members agreed it still wasn’t up to snuff. The measure was defeated 6-1, with Tom Rose casting the only vote in support of outsourcing.

In the initial proposal, pay from GCA started at $8.50 for custodians and topped out at $13.50 for hourly supervisors. District pay ranges from $9.15 to $16.05. A revised proposal changed the GCA pay range to $9.15 to $14.50. Employees for GCA also would have 20 fewer sick days or paid holidays.

Cash for Trash: The Country’s Largest Garbage Company is Lobbying to Repeal State Laws that Boost Composting

Source: Jason Mark, Earth Island Journal, Autumn 2012

…Among the waste-reduction efforts put into place in the late eighties and early nineties were laws that banned sending yard waste to municipal landfills. The laws, which were passed by 24 states, have been an environmental success. In 1990, according to figures from the US EPA, the United States recovered about 4 million tons of organic materials for composting; by 2008, that number had increased to 22 million tons. Nearly two-thirds of the yard waste generated by homeowners today is diverted from landfills. The EPA has called the yard waste bans “essential.”

So why is Waste Management, the largest garbage company in the US, lobbying to repeal state laws that ban yard waste in landfills?

Since 2009, Missouri, Florida, and Georgia have re-written their laws governing yard waste in landfills. In two of those states – Florida and Georgia – Waste Management played a prominent role in pushing to overturn the yard waste bans. Earlier this year, Waste Management made an effort, unsuccessful so far, to rewrite Michigan’s yard waste law….

…Figures gathered by the National Institute on Money in State Politics illustrate the point. From 2003 to 2012, Georgia and Florida were among the top five states for Waste Management’s political giving…. Mark Woodall, a veteran statehouse lobbyist for the Georgia Sierra Club, says that in addition to its suddenly aggressive campaign contributions, Waste Management won votes by making donations to charities known to be legislators’ pet causes…
Why Doesn’t Your City Have Curbside Composting? Two words: Big Trash.
Source: Kate Sheppard, Mother Jones, September 10, 2012