by David Safier
Not only does the private market perform better the main task of assuring the appearance of criminal defendants, but now we see it does it at a dramatically less cost to the taxpayers. These results should suggest a clear public policy agenda.At the very top of the paper are the words, "American Legislative Exchange Council, Report Card on Crime." At the end are the words, "ALEC has prepared model legislation that addresses these issues. You may reach us at (202) 466-3800." (That's still the phone number of ALEC's Washington, DC, office, by the way.)
ALEC has proved an effective legislative vehicle for the bail industry. . . . Bail industry leaders hold top positions within ALEC, and in 2010, the industry referred to the council as its “life preserver.” Forms of the post-conviction bail law that passed in Mississippi have been introduced in at least fourteen other states, in some cases with the help of ALEC-backed legislators.When I write about charter schools, which is often, BASIS is a regular part of the conversation. I think it helps us understand the underpinnings of the BASIS system to know something about its founders' ideology and affiliations. Michael Block's early associations with ALEC and his endorsement of privatization in the area of bail bonds give us a taste of what his views are concerning district-run, "government" schools and his vision for the future of education in the country. The ALEC/bail bond association makes his statement on the subject of schools and privatization in 2012 all the more telling. In a column by Robert Robb in the Republic, Block commented, "I would privatize the entire government school system." Here's the entire quote:
"I would privatize the entire government school system. I don't think you can actually run schools today with the amount of disagreement we have over the fundamental mission of schools. Is it social welfare? Is it academic excellence? Is it social justice? You can't possibly have an educational system if you have this amount of disagreement, so privatize it."Along with privatizing, Block, like the bail bond industry, also believes in profitizing. Though the individual BASIS schools are nonprofit, BASIS.ed, which sucks up most of the taxpayer money that goes to the schools and runs their basic operations, is a for-profit enterprise. Much of what happens at BASIS is hidden behind BASIS.ed's for-profit fire wall. How much do Michael and Olga Block make each year? We have no idea. How much taxpayer money drawn up to the for-profit makes it back to the schools? Again, no idea. Did any taxpayer funds help subsidize the building and operation of the BASIS private schools in Silicon Valley, CA, and Brooklyn, NY (tuition: $24,000 per year)? No idea there either because the private, for-profit BASIS.ed operates without public scrutiny. And that's just how Michael Block likes it, both personally and philosophically.