Wal*Mart wins PAA’s first Bad Apple of the Month award!

PAA has selected Wal*Mart and the Walton Foundation as the “winners” of our first Bad Apple of the Month award.

We know that Wal*Mart is the go-to store for many public school families. We understand that cost is an important factor, if not the main factor, in where many families shop. We get it. Bear with us, and if after you read this, you decide to reconsider where you shop, we will we will give you some alternative ideas. You may even decide that saving a buck is not worth the cost of endangering more students’ lives and losing our system of democratic public education. 

(Read here for more about our criteria for this award.)

Why name Wal*Mart a Bad Apple? Let us count the ways.

First and foremost – Wal*Mart is considered the world’s biggest gun retailer.

Up until 2015, they sold more assault weapons than any other national retailer, and they have been up to their eyeballs in opposing gun control measures through their prior work with ALEC (Wal*Mart pulled out but Walton family members remain in ALEC), their ongoing contributions to political candidates supported by the NRA, and their continuing interest in stopping any attempts to ban assault weapons.

Watch out: From time to time Wal*Mart may try to pretend an interest in gun control but you can be sure that it is a financial, not a moral decision. For example, they have promoted background check legislation but most likely because it would suppress gun sales in smaller locations, driving more gun buyers to Wal*Mart. One report cited “weak sales” as the reason Wal*Mart discontinued sales of assault rifles. Their recent decision to limit gun sales to those over 21 is likely just one more response to the political winds.

So, if you want to be part of the solution to the proliferation of guns in America and support the Parkland students in their campaign against the NRA and for a ban on assault weapons, DON’T SHOP AT WAL*MART!

But wait – there’s more!

Most people are aware of the controversies surrounding Wal*Mart’s foreign product sourcing, treatment of suppliers, miserly employee compensation and poor working conditions. They also know that when a Wal*Mart moves in, the entire community can suffer. Long-time, unique businesses are forced to close, downtown areas are shuttered, and whatever made the place special can be lost.

Charter schools are the Wal*Marts of public education: Fewer people are aware that Wal*Mart and the more than $1 billion it has given to privatization efforts have been having a similar effect. When a neighborhood school closes, the community loses open access to a critical institution, and sometimes the only source of family support services. Yet due in part to the overly powerful influence of the Walton billion, hundreds of public schools have been closed. Many were closed to make way for charter schools,others due to under-enrollment – often after charter schools skimmed their students- and still others after too many budget cuts at the same time as district and state funding has been redirected to charter schools.

Why boycott Wal*Mart? Besides that $10 blender and those $4 jeans, here are a few more examples of what YOUR Wal*Mart dollar buys:

  • More charter schools: Wal*Mart funds one in four of the nation’s charter schools.

  • More school closings: Wal*Mart spent nearly $500,000 to pay for a sham “public engagement” school closing hearing process in Chicago, where Mayor Emanuel closed 47 schools in one year.

  • More astroturf “parent” groups: Wal*Mart funds fake grassroots groups like Stand for Children (millions) and Parent Revolution ($6.3 million) to push the parent trigger and other corporate privatization schemes.

  • More high-stakes standardized testing: Walton supports teacher bonuses linked to raising test scores.

  • More vouchers for private and religious schools.

  • More interference in more states: Walton family members have donated millions to elect pro-charter legislators and school board members in several states where none of them live (e.g. Wisconsin, Louisiana).

Can we really have an impact? Corporate image is the Achilles heel of American business. Corporations want the public to believe that they are good citizens. Philanthropy is a large part of any corporation’s marketing strategy. This provides an opportunity for public school advocates. While our boycott may not harm them much financially, we can hit them in another place that really hurts by showing how their supposedly good deeds are really bad for children, families, and the community.

The fact is, the goal of the corporate takeover of public education is not to improve and strengthen schools for all children using methods they truly believe will work, but to destroy it altogether and remake it as a competitive marketplace which creates wealth for a few even as it produces a lower quality education for many and push-out and drop-out for some. We must use the tools at our disposal to stop this harmful agenda. So….

  • Think carefully and consider whether you are ready to STOP SHOPPING at WAL*MART.
  • Consider shopping for school supplies at local merchants or at Dollar General. Target, or Office Depot/Office Max. We have issues with these corporations as well but at least they have or have had programs that directly support local public schools.
  • Share this information in your social media networks. #noWal*Martschoolsupplies or tweet Why would anyone who cares about public schools or public school students shop at Wal*Mart? Share this webpage on Facebook. Print out and share this fact sheet about how Wal*Mart harms public education and this one about Wal*Mart’s gun sales – talk it up!!!
Posted on by Julie Woestehoff Posted in Misc

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