This post is a comprehensive review of the education priorities of the Walton Family Foundation.
The Walton family has made many billions of dollars from the Walmart stores.
Walmart comes into a region and undersells every local retail store. In time, the mom-and-pop stores-beloved community institutions handed down in some cases from generation to generation- close their doors, and mom and pop become low-wage greeters at Walmart. The giant Walmart causes an implosion of Main Streets across the region where they are located, as working people shop for bargains and bypass their own community.
If the Walmart head office decides that the store is not making a big enough profit, the Walmart closes and goes elsewhere. It leaves behind dead small towns, towns without a local economy, because the local economy was sucked dry by the big Walmart. Whether the Walmart stays or goes, Main Street dies.
In education, the Walmart agenda is not dissimilar. The foundation supports charters and vouchers, though it prefers vouchers. It seeks to create schools that are non-union and that are able to skim off students from the local public schools. In time, the local public schools will die, just as the Main Street stores died.
They give generously to create an education marketplace of choices; the one “choice” they do not favor is the neighborhood public school. They underwrite major education media to be sure that their agenda gets favorable attention. They fund compatible researchers. They are strategic in their funding.
The Waltons and the Walton Family Foundation have gargantuan financial resources and can exert undue influence on politicians and public policy issues of their choosing. No matter where people come down on the issues of education reform or school choice, we can all agree it is unfair that the Walton family gets to dictate the future of public education because of the amount of money at its disposal, and to do so in a way that is unaccountable to the public.
In their marketplace of choices, the voucher schools and charters compete to get the “best” students.
The public schools take those rejected, excluded, or dumped by the charter and vouchers schools.
The end result: a dual system of schools, all publicly funded. One for the haves, another for the have-nots.