This is a must-read article. Share it with your friends who don’t understand the corporate assault on American public schools.

 

Jeff Bryant writes here about the Walton family’s effort to impose the Walmart business philosophy on public education. I have called it the Walmartization  of public education. The he family collectively is worth about $150 billion.

 

When Walmart enters a community, the local businesses can’t compete with its low prices and vast inventory. The local businesses close down. Main Streets across America are filled with empty stores and a dying commercial core, thanks to Walmart’s cutthroat competition. Walmart doesn’t care about community. It has only one purpose: profits for Walmart.

 

Central to to its business philosophy is cost-cutting. It wants the lowest-paid employees. It wants the lowest price products, so it buys wherever labor costs are lowest. I would be surprised if anything sold by Walmart is American-made.

 

To to achieve its goal of low prices and high profits, Walmart is anti-union.

 

When Walmart recently announced that it was closing more than 150 stores, many people lost their jobs, and many communities awoke to realize they had no grocery store, no hardware store, no toy store, no shoe store, no drug store. Walmart had killed them all.

 

The Waltons are doing to education what they have done in business: killing off beloved community schools and replacing them with privately managed charter schools that have no roots in the community. These schools are almost always non-union. They are staffed by Teach for America recruits, who will be gone in two or three years.

 

Instead of local community schools staffed by career teachers whose parents and grandparents lived in the community, the new charters are transient, filled with transient teachers and administrators. If they don’t enroll enough students or if they see a better market niche elsewhere or if their scores are disappointing, they will close and move on, leaving a shattered community behind.

 

As I write this, I suddenly remembered my third-grade teacher in Houston, Miss Doty. Years later, I read that she became principal of an elementary school. A deranged father entered the school grounds while the children were at recess. She rushed out, shooed the children inside, and stood between him and the school entrance. He set off a homemade bomb, killed himself, and Ms. Doty lost a leg.

 

Nothing transient about Ms. Dory or her school. Now Houston is awash in charter schools. They siphon money away from public schools, as well as the motivated parents and children. One of the purposes of public education–building community–is sacrificed to the market.

 

Walmart represents the predatory face of capitalism. As Bryant asks, why should a handful of billionaires reshape public education?