Mercedes. Schneider read an article in Forbes about Carrie Walton Penner, the family member now in charge of education strategy for the Walton Family Foundation. Schneider blew a fuse. Maybe more than one. Carrie wants lots and lots of charters so that the free market will force the public schools to compete. Just like Walmart forces mom-and-pop stores to compete by cutting prices and forcing them out of business.
Schneider writes about the Walmart business model. While family members are billionaires, Walmart workers work for low wages, and some apply for food stamps. Walmart, she says, has even used prison labor to cut costs.
Walmart is closely allied with ALEC and favors the model legislation that helps big corporations and the 1%.
What really annoys Schneider is that Carrie promotes YES Prep as a model for the nation because, allegedly, 100% of its graduates enroll in four-year colleges. Since Schneider had only recently deconstructed the YES Prep story, she was flummoxed that the Forbes writer reported the tale without investigating the backstory. Like the 40% attrition rate. Like the schools’ requirement that students get accepted into a four-year college or they can’t graduate.
“This Forbes writer brushes off criticism of the likes of YES Prep as the “anticharter crowd derid[ing] the gains.”
“I’m fine with this labeling. I certainly do “deride” so-called “gains” that are little more that student deselection via student-handbook-encouraged attrition.
“But I will make a deal:
“When Carrie Walton Penner enrolls her children at a predominately-TFA-staffed charter school as their principal means of formal education, and when she publicizes their test scores as evidence that the charter model she promoted for other people’s children has served her children well, then I will consider the charters that she pays for with money that should go to paying Walmart workers a living wage as being “successful.”
“Not a minute sooner.”