Monday, July 29, 2013

BATting at the Waltons

Today's Badass Teacher action involved telling the Waltons we want them to stop funding corporate education "reform" and spreading the word to boycott Walmart and Walton companies. Like snake oil salesmen, the creators of the "Walton family Foundation - Education Reform" Facebook page describe the foundation as a Non-Profit Organization, stating, "Having invested more than $1 billion in education reform, the Walton Family Foundation is the largest donor to initiatives that support parental choice and competition within education." Their mission statement is as follows:

                  Empowering parents to choose quality schools, regardless of type ‐
                  traditional public, private or public charter school ‐ will help spur the bold
                  transformation of our national K‐12 system of public education. Our nation’s
                  children will only reach  their potential in today’s global economy by having
                  access  to a high‐quality, publicly funded education.

So if I am reading this correctly, the Waltons believe that parents should have a choice between public, private or charter schools, but all of these should be publicly funded? It is not rocket science to see the agenda behind this, and the Waltons' role in financing and promoting "private" education and for-profit schools at taxpayer expense is revealed through their own messages on their foundation page.

As we tweeted and posted and worked to respond to the Walton's inappropriate intrusion into the educational lives of young, vulnerable children, one thing became quickly evident - just as these people use their money to control policy and regulations, they were going to try to control the message. Posts to their Facebook page began disappearing, and our ability to post or to "Like"  comments was halted.

My original post on their page was, "I am only liking your page in order to have a voice here, because there is nothing to LIKE about what you are doing to education! I have not shopped, and will not shop in a Walmart store, and I encourage my friends to do the same. No one in your organization is qualified to determine the future of public education and the policies you support are extremely harmful to children! Your only agenda is profit for yourselves and those who agree with your plan to privatize and profiteer at the expense of children, and the most vulnerable children suffer the most. America's teachers are joining together to put a stop to your agenda and we will prevail. And because I fully expect that you will delete posts that expose your 'philanthropy' for the self-serving profiteering that it really is, I am taking a screenshot of these comments so I can widely share and report any attempts to hide the truth. Shame on the Walton family - your greed knows no bounds, but we are not fooled!"

Throughout the day I returned to the page and took screenshots of the posts that later disappeared. It was only after I received a message from a fellow BAT requesting that I make these screenshots available that I decided that the Waltons will NOT control this message - these posts will be shared. Those of us who took the time to BAT at the Waltons should be heard.

Here is some of what was said:

Just as I took this last screenshot and saved it, I returned to the page and was about to "Like" a post, when I received a message that this was not possible. I am no longer able to comment or like anything on the Walton Family Foundation - Education Reform page, and all of the posts you see here have been deleted.

And since my business with them is finished, I have officially "unliked" their page!