The Private Sector Helps Solve The Government’s Problems

Published Fri, Nov 20 2009 11:35 AM

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times;

it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness;

it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity;

it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness;

it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair;

we had everything before us, we had nothing before us;

we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way.


-- Charles Dickens

Today the Washington Post brings us two stories of private entities conducting government functions. First, the Carlyle Group has been contracted to run Connecticut highway rest areas – this seems like an appropriate partnership. The other, involves the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation performing a job that the government is failing to do – raise teacher effectiveness.

When a private foundation has to take it upon itself to conduct a governmental function, we really need to ask ourselves whether the government should be expanding into the healthcare business. I hope Pelosi and Reid aren't counting on the generosity of Bill Gates to take on America's healthcare system.

Carlyle Expands into Connecticut Rest Stops

The Carlyle Group said Thursday that it has signed a deal with Connecticut to refurbish and run the state's 23 highway service stops in return for a share of the revenue over the next 35 years.

The District-based private-equity giant and its partners will invest $178 million in the state's roadside service centers as part of the agreement, which will include putting Subway restaurants as well as Dunkin' Donuts locations in the centers, according to a Carlyle spokesman. Dunkin' Donuts is owned by Carlyle.

Can Bill and Melinda Gates Save Our Schools

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced Thursday a $335 million investment in teacher effectiveness, funding experiments in tenure, evaluation, compensation, training and mentoring in three large school systems and a cluster of charter schools.

The grants amount to one of the largest privately sponsored school improvement initiatives in recent years. Through them, the foundation aims to push policymakers to put more weight on teacher performance than qualifications.

Hillsborough County schools, in the Tampa area, will receive $100 million; Memphis schools, $90 million; Pittsburgh schools, $40 million; and five charter networks in Los Angeles (Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools, Aspire Public Schools, Green Dot Public Schools, Inner City Education Foundation and Partnerships to Uplift Communities Schools), $60 million.

The initiative, including $45 million to study how to measure teacher effectiveness, is of the same magnitude as Obama administration reform efforts.

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