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United States Education Government The Almighty Buck Politics

25% of Charter Schools Owe Their Soul To the Walmart Store 233

theodp writes "Among the billionaires who helped Bill Gates pave the way for charter schools in WA was Walmart heiress Alice Walton. The Walton Family Foundation spent a whopping $158+ million in 2012 on what it calls 'systemic K-12 education reform,' which included $60,920,186 to 'shape public policy' and $652,209 on 'research and evaluation.' Confirming the LA Times' speculation about its influence, the Walton Foundation issued a press release Wednesday boasting it's the largest private funder of charter school 'startups,' adding that it has supported the opening of 1 in 4 charter schools in the U.S. since 1997 through its 1,500 'investments.' But as some charter school kids have learned the hard way, what the rich man giveth, he can also taketh away. For the time being, though, it looks like America's going to continue to depend on the tax-free kindness of wealthy strangers to educate its kids. For example, while it was nice to see the value of Shop Class recognized, the White House on Monday called on businesses, foundations and philanthropists to fund proposed 'Maker Spaces' in schools and libraries. Hey, when the U.S. Secretary of Education turns to corporate sponsors and auctions to fund his Mother's afterschool program for kids of low-income families in the President's hometown, don't look for things to change anytime soon."
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25% of Charter Schools Owe Their Soul To the Walmart Store

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  • by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @04:33PM (#46197967)

    Maybe schools should raise some more corporate-sponsored cash by doing product placements. For example, it would be easy to monetize homework assignments:

    1a. Juan is planning a picnic. He buys packages of Sara Lee® brand 100% Wheat Home Style® Hot Dog Buns which each contain eight buns. He also buys packages of Osar Mayer® Jumbo Deluxe All-Beef Franks®, which each contain 10 wieners. What is the minimum number of Hot Dogs Juan needs to buy so that there are no unmatched buns or wieners?

    1b. Juan plans to put 1/2 ounce of Heinz® Sweet Dill® Relish on each hot dog. How many 12-oz jars of relish does he need to buy? What brand of mustard would best complement the relish: (a) Heinz® Classic Yellow Hot Dog® Mustard (b) some other non-specific mustard?

    1c. Extra credit: Juan asks his friend Latoya to buy ketchup for his picnic. List three benefits Latoya would receive if she bought genuine Heinz® Classic® Ketchup instead of the discount store brand. Explain how sometimes what appears to be the least expensive choice isn't the greatest value overall.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 08, 2014 @04:59PM (#46198125)

    the U.S. Secretary of Education turns to corporate sponsors and auctions to fund his Mother's afterschool program

    I'm torn-- on one hand, what are you going to do, say "no, our education system won't take it"... on the other hand, what kind of strings are attached (or what kind of agenda comes along with the $)?

    I'm reminded of the Pete Seeger (RIP) song, "What Did You Learn In School Today? [youtube.com]" As corporations take over the role of governments, I think this song could probably be slightly modified...

    What did you learn in school today, dear little boy of mine? What did you learn in school today, dear little boy of mine?
    I learned to stack, I learned to greet!
    I learned that minimum wage is neat!
    'Course it keeps me an endless debtor,
    But Wal-Mart Saves Money, so I Live Better(TM)!
    That's what I learned in school today, that's what I learned in school.

  • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @05:36PM (#46198367) Homepage Journal

    There's always usenet.

  • by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Saturday February 08, 2014 @08:07PM (#46199183) Homepage Journal

    What profit do they get for giving millions to these?

    National Audubon Society - people appreciate birds more, so they'll buy birdseed at Walmart.

    Harvard University. Threefold: 1) Harvard alumni tend to be wealthy. They'll have more money to spend at Walmart and Sams Club. 2) They often start businesses. Businesses buy stuff at Walmart and supply stuff to Walmart. 3) They may employee some people. Those people may have kids who can stock shelves at Walmart.

    Georgetown University: They're trying to buy good will with future politicians early, so when they lobby for exploitative laws later, they'll be sure to get them. Plus what goes for Harvard.

    Nature Conservancy: purely to dupe people into thinking Walmart does good things, so they'll buy more stuff.

    Any more? I can play anti-capitalist conspiracy-whacko all day.

    Oh, for good measure: unskilled entry level jobs should pay what's needed to support a family so high school kids can't ever get a job!

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