But Republicans are pretty much always trying to send more money to cyber schools and private prisons.
- Ron Packard of K12 Inc. is America’s highest paid “teacher.” Packard made more than $19 million in compensation between 2009 and 2013, despite the alarming fact that only 28 percent of K12 Inc. cyber schools met state standards in 2010-2011, compared to 52 percent of public schools. CMD estimates that K12 Inc. makes 86 percent of its revenue from the taxpayers.
- George Zoley, America’s highest paid “corrections officer” and CEO of private prison giant GEO Group. Zoley made $22 million in compensation between 2008 and 2012. CMD estimates that GEO Group makes 86 percent of its revenue from the taxpayers. GEO Group writes language into private prison contracts that forces taxpayers to keep prisons full or else pay for empty beds. GEO Group has faced hundreds of lawsuits over prisoner deaths, assaults, excessive force, and more, which have led to secret court settlements.
- Richard Montoni, CEO of Maximus, is America’s highest paid “caseworker.” Maximus is a for-profit firm that handles government services for poor and vulnerable residents. Montoni made more than $16 million between 2008 and 2012. In 2013, Maximus landed in hot water for improper billing in Wisconsin. In 2007, Maximus paid $30 million to settle a U.S. Department of Justice criminal investigation into fraudulent billing.
Continue reading below the fold for more of the week's labor and education news.
- This trial could change public education forever:
David Welch is a billionaire with a mission, which is to pretend that it was so difficult to fire "bad teachers" that he needed to fund a lawsuit led by a high-powered legal team, "for the children."
That lawsuit - Vergara vs. California-- is now underway in downtown Los Angeles, with lead attorneys Theodore Boustros and Theodore Olsen of anti-Proposition 8 litigation fame.
The goal? To destroy current negotiated protections for teachers, like tenure and fair hearings for misconduct, on the basis that such protections for teachers harm the civil rights of disadvantaged children in the school system. The entire theory is so utterly cynical you'd think it was ripped right from the pages of the Koch foundation, and maybe it was. But it's playing out in a city with a lot of education issues that have nothing to do with teacher tenure or unions.
- A teacher's strike in Portland, Oregon, was averted at the last minute by a tentative deal.
- Two English professors at the University of Illinois-Chicago explain why faculty went on strike for two days this week:
Most of the state research institutions that have unions got them in the 1960s and 1970s, but, in a renewed push to organize campus labor, UIC and the University of Oregon just won certification in the past few years. Oregon got to their contract pretty quickly; we’ve not been as lucky. What we hope now is that, after two years of fighting us followed by a year and a half of stonewalling on our contract negotiations, the Illinois Board of Trustees will finally start serious bargaining on the main issues that divide us. [...]
Historically, the administration of the university was a function of faculty who were chosen to manage the running of departments. The Dean was Dean of Faculty — chosen by and beholden to the people who actually teach students. But with the bureaucratization of the university and the growth of the university as corporation, deans, provosts, and their myriad vice-provosts have become management. This now-bloated segment of the university makes decisions about the welfare of faculty and students. A recent study shows that non-faculty jobs have grown by 27 percent while faculty lines remain flat or decreasing. [...]
One of our issues in this strike is to take back decision-making power over the issues that matter to us — curriculum, teaching conditions, the distribution of monies, and the like. The administration is fighting ferociously to retain that power — since giving it up would in effect be returning it from management to workers.
- Last Saturday I wrote about data walls. Here's more from Valerie Strauss.
A fair day's wage
- Are low wages stifling productivity?
- Five Minnesota lawmakers are doing the Working America Minimum Wage Challenge, living on (an approximation of) a minimum wage budget for a week. The lessons people can take from such challenges are complicated—you have to be as aware of what you can't possibly learn as of what you are learning, something that seems to get missed some of the time. And of course it's the people who are already interested in changing things who tend to participate. Still, it's an effort to learn.
- A couple noteworthy settlements. A Philadelphia sports bar chain settled with more than 1,100 workers for $6.8 million in back pay and damages for minimum wage and overtime violations and stealing tips. A Walmart-contracted warehouse and staffing agency reached a settlement with workers who alleged retaliation after they spoke up about poor working conditions. And an Illinois contractor has been ordered to pay $400,000 to 96 workers who it misclassified as independent contractors.
- McDonald's fired a manager for buying food for fire fighters.
- Sarah Jaffe hits the cult of amateurism plaguing the sports world:
It's part of the Olympic mythos that we play sports for the sheer love of them; that people who spend every day of their life for years on end preparing to compete at the highest level are just happy to be able to show off what they can do. It's an ideology that is embedded in our obsession with amateurism, at the Olympics and elsewhere. Sports are something we do for ourselves, on our own, as part of our very American pursuit of happiness. It's impolite to mention how expensive it is to become a pro athlete, even though between every event we're bombarded with commercials reminding us that only a few elite athletes get sponsorship dollars from global corporations like McDonald's and BP, and those athletes, as former Olympian Samantha Retrosi pointed out, are required to publicly praise their sponsors every chance they get.
- Virginia Democrats kill GOP bill to prevent payment of a living wage.
- Amateur student-athletes, my ass. Paul Campos summarizes Northwestern University quarterback Kane Colter's accounts of working conditions (yes, working) for players:
-Colter said players were prohibited from scheduling classes before 11 AM because it interfered with practice.
-Colter said players can’t take eight-week classes in the summer. They conflict with a training camp.
-Colter detailed training camp schedule. Said during training camp (aug 1-31) the day is 6:30am-10pm.