The Pink Hula Hoop isn’t about education. It’s about money for privatized charter schools. Money and how connections among powerful people beget more money. It starts at the top, with Gov. Chris Christie who, while starving traditional public schools of operating and construction funds, has allocated an unprecedented amount of public money to privately-operated charter schools, including TEAM Academy. Last year alone, in 2013, he allocated $125 million in construction funds to charter schools–$40 million to TEAM. In 2011 and 2012, TEAM projects, directly or indirectly, received some $30 million in public loan funds.
Cami Anderson, appointed by Gov. Chris Christie to run the Newark schools, has issued an email in which she lamely tries to explain while she will try to fire experienced teachers–who have high salaries–while retaining less experienced teachers who will cost the district less to pay and owe their jobs to Anderson’s regime and devotion to Teach for America (TFA).
So, who cares if governors like Chris Christie cut public services and lay off public employees? Isn’t small government better? Outsourcing government shows the private sector can do it more competently, right? Those are the mantras of conservative Republicans and neoliberal Democrats like Christie poodle Steve Sweeney. But a new report by Rutgers University researchers gives the lie to such fine 19th Century thinking. The failure to use government to oversee private contractors providing public services can cost lives and perpetuate endless personal nightmares like those created by Superstorm Sandy.
A report by researchers at Rutgers University’s Department of Labor Studies and Employment Relations and Department of Public Policy and Administration says the state administration’s “significant neglect” of reviewing the performance of private contractors costs lives.
State Sen. Ronald Rice (D-Essex) said he believes the story of “Pink Hula Hoop” is a story about crime. That’s the quaint name given to the convoluted way in which rich and politically-connected people and wealthy organizations raised mostly public money to buy—at a discount– public property for private purposes. “The crime is in the entire set up,” Rice said. “It’s a Ponzi scheme.”