by Diane Ravitch, 1/18/13
Think of it. The biggest retail store in the US and maybe the world sells the weapon of choice for mass murderers, the Bushmaster AR-15. This was the weapon used to kill a dozen people in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. It was the weapon used to murder 20 children and six educators in Newtown, Connecticut. And it is easy to buy one at your local Walmart.
Walmart may be the biggest gun shop in the nation.
All that money gets funneled into a family and a foundation that is devoted to privatizing public education. Last year, the Walton Family Foundation gave out $159 million to education groups. Almost all were promoting or providing vouchers and/or charters. In 2011, Walton gave $49,5 million to Teach for America, which staffs privately managed charters and produces leaders like Michelle Rhee, John White, and Kevin Huffman, all of whom advocate for vouchers, charters, and for-profit schools. Members of the Walton family underwrote charter legislation in Georgia and Washington State last fall. Georgia already had charters, so it was necessary to add a constitutional amendment allowing the governor to appoint a commission to authorize charters when the local school board rejected them.
Give this to the Waltons. They are consistent. They don’t believe in regulations or government supervision. They don’t believe in local control. With their vast resources, they know what’s best for everyone: a free market where everyone is armed and everyone goes to any school, any time, any place, no certified teachers, no unions, low-wage employees, no state oversight. It works for Walmart.