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Taken for a Ride

Donna Mitchner had worked as a bus driver for 15 years when her Michigan district signed a contract with a private transportation company. Mitchner was rehired to do her old job, but the company lowered her hourly salary, slashed her benefits, and drummed her into a union that represented the employer, not its employees.

For-profit companies like Laidlaw International now bus more than 2 million children each year, and public school employees working in food service, maintenance, and security have been pushed into similar privatization schemes (see A href="" target>Driving a Hard Bargain.

These companies typically promise school systems cost-savings and simplified operations, but at what price? Districts across the country have reported problems with service and safety.

One of the promises of public education, even if it’s been co-opted by politicians and statisticians of late, is that we work hard to leave no child behind. That’s why NEA has launched an ambitious plan to staunch the flow of students who choose to drop out of school (see The Dropout Directive.

Through inspiration and perspiration, teachers make a difference in would-be dropouts’ lives every day, and we’ll celebrate those success stories. Have you helped a student stay in school? Share your story with us at the e-mail address below.

Editor Mark Toner

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