I received via email a very strongly worded message against the reform interference run by Wal-Mart and the Walton Foundation. Seems like the business caters to mothers on a family budget, so perhaps parents and caregivers should know what the discount store is up to that could affect their children’s schools. So, in all of its glory, here it is:
Dear Walton Family,
I am writing to you because I have had ENOUGH of your family’s B-S impact on my children’s education in Indiana and across America! Stop trying to buy our politicians and our children’s public schools! Your actions to deliberately dismantle public education in Indiana and across America is simply disgusting money-mongering:
- $200,000 campaign contribution to Indiana Superintendent Tony Bennett by Alice Walton. What other local school board members and state office positions have you contributed to (bought) so far for OUR Indiana and other state’s November elections? Your foundation is in Arkansas. Stay out of our Hoosier back yards and out of our politician’s back pockets. They represent us, Indiana and other state citizens, not you, a corporate foundation.
- “$3 million to Indianapolis organizations that support charter and voucher schools. According to a statement from the foundation, it’s Walton’s “largest single-year investment” in both Indianapolis and the state as a whole.” How about pouring $3 million into Indiana public schools?..oh wait, if you did that your paid politicians can’t falsely label our public schools as “failing” and hand them over to for-profit charter schools and rob our public school’s budgets via vouchers. Then, your family and all your millionaire cronies can’t make money off of our tax dollars. http://stateimpact.npr.org/indiana/2012/08/29/why-the-walton-family-foundation-is-upping-the-ante-in-indiana/ and http://wff.cotcdn.rockfishhosting.com/documents/2fd3dff4-5e9d-4c2b-b795-6b0f0ad559b6.pdf
Let’s take a look at the section on Education from your website:“The Walton Family Foundation is committed to improving K-12 student achievement in the United States at every level – in traditional public schools, charter public schools and private schools. Our core strategy is to infuse competitive pressure into America’s K-12 education system by increasing the quantity and quality of school choices available to parents, especially in low-income communities. When all families are empowered to choose from among several quality school options, all schools will be fully motivated to provide the best possible education. Better school performance leads, in turn, to higher student achievement, lower dropout rates and greater numbers of students entering and completing college.” http://www.waltonfamilyfoundation.org/educationreformHere are the apparent I-see-through-you holes and fallacies in your position of public education in America:
If you “committed to improving K-12 student achievement in the United States at every level – in traditional public schools”, then why:Parent “Choice” through charter schools and vouchers is the biggest shame I have ever heard of, outside of Parent Trigger Laws. These do not give parents a true choice, but a limited defined choice. A choice only defined by the for-profit mongers because students, teachers and parents across the nation were never invited to the table to discuss the choices that were defined for us. There are not enough spots for our children in the really good private schools to accommodate a true choice and those private schools that do have spots are not financially obtainable for the majority of parents, even with a voucher. In addition, a limited number of vouchers create a disparate impact, a.k.a. discrimination. http://stateimpact.npr.org/indiana/2012/08/29/why-indianas-private-schools-may-see-a-shortage-of-space-for-voucher-students
1. Why do you continue to promote competition? Competitive pressure implies and does produce ‘a winner’ and ‘a loser’. Academic achievement for children cannot be attained when ‘losers’ are a possible outcome.
2. Why do you not accept grant submissions from public school and only accept them from charter schools and/or charter school developers? If you did accept unsolicited, or even soliticied, grants from public schools, then you couldn’t rob public schools. http://www.waltonfamilyfoundation.org/grantees/instructions-for-grant-applicants-all-other-grant
3. “When all families are empowered to choose from among several quality school options, all schools will be fully motivated to provide the best possible education.” Wrong, wrong, wrong. Creation of charter schools and vouchers have robbed public schools of vital funding to provide the best possible education. When funds are split among public, charter and private schools, there are not enough funds to provide the best possible education at either public or charter schools.
4. “Better school performance leads, in turn, to higher student achievement, lower dropout rates and greater numbers of students entering and completing college.” How schools are measured right now with only using high stakes assessment tests is simply unethical because using a one time a year test goes against the testing profession’s own Joint (ethical) Standards of never assessing a child’s learning with one test. In addition, learning in a school is nothing like counting ‘beans’ for a business or assessing the outcome performance of a factory line; therefore, the application of business ‘performance standards’ for assessing whether children, teachers or schools “fail” in their learning and teaching is unethical. Yet, this is the ‘performance standards’ that are being forced upon students, teachers and schools and the testing companies are making millions of dollars off of our children’s work on standardized testing.(btw, that’s child labor and is against the law!) In addition, the high stakes tied to the test has created hostile and harassing work environment which, in turn, create hostile and harassing learning environment for our children.
So, Walton family…
I OPT OUT of supporting you, The Walton Family Foundation!
I will no longer shop at any Wal-Mart store.
I am enclosing my cut-in-half Sam’s Club card and I think you know where you can swipe it.
p.s. Even as I volunteered (a.k.a. work without pay because I am compelled to speak up to the injustices that are happening to public education for the future education of my, all of Indiana’s and America’s children) on this letter, I got one of those annoying pop ups that I won a freaking $1000.00 Wal-Mart gift card…for real? Your propaganda is prevalent even for consumer’s data, not just our children’s test scores.
1 Really Pissed Off Indiana Mom
Here are some suggested actions from the author:
- Send the Walton Family a comment via their comment form on their website: http://www.waltonfamilyfoundation.org/contact
- Call the Walton Family and tell them that you will no longer support their destroying public education: 479-464-1570 phone and The Walton Family’s K-12 Systemic Education Reform, Boulder, CO 303-442-3434 phone
- Write a letter and mail it or fax it to them. If you have a Sam’s Club Card or any Wal-Mart gift cards, cut them in half and put them in the envelop. In your letter, use some of the points above and/or write your own. The Walton Family Foundation, P.O. Box 2030, Bentonville, AR 72712. 479-464-1580 fax
- Post your thoughts on The Walton Family Foundation’s facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/waltonfamilyfoundation?ref=ts
- MOST IMPORTANTLY.OPT OUT OF ALL HIGH STAKES TESTING IN YOUR STATE FOR YOUR CHILDREN! Without the data, they can’t falsely label our children, their teachers and our local schools as “failing”! The power to fight this has been stripped from teachers as their teaching licenses are being threatened if they speak the truth. Parents have the power, we just have to use it. A school in Indiana had 30 students Opt Out and in Washington, 70 students Opted Out at a school last year.
- Look on your state’s Department of Education website or call them and find out when the testing windows are for your children this year.
- Look up your state UOO support groups at www.unitedoptout.com
- Pick an evening once or twice a month over the next few months to have a local informational meeting. If you can arrange to provide childcare and dinner at these meetings you will get a better turn out.
- Many of the state UOO support groups have flyers already done that you can use when talking with other parents and post in your local community.
- Start personally talking to parents (don’t forget grandparents, foster parents, aunts, and uncles that are parenting as well). These are one-on-one and face-to-face conversations at your children’s schools, school functions and in the community as you run you errands.
- When talking with parents, ask them if they would like to learn more and ask them for their names, emails and phone numbers to contact them about the next informational meeting. Call them within 3 days to give them the date and time and personally encourage them to attend. Then, email or call them again 1-2 days before the meeting to remind them.
- At the meeting, first pass around a contact sheet to sign name, email address and phone number. Next, have everyone introduce themselves and talk about what led them to come to the meeting. Tell your story. Go over UOO talking points. Talk about your local testing window (dates of testing). Talk about organizing alternative education activities for students to do when Opting Out and in which parent volunteers will be needed. Determine when the group would like to meet again.
- Have fun. Make new friends. Learn a whole bunch about what is happening in your kid’s schools and across America. Always take care of yourself first as you go through this process and remember, we do it because our children’s education and all America’s children are worth it.