Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Saturday, April 26, 2014

All The Good Walmart Does

Former Bloomberg DOE minion of school closings in NYC, Marc Sternberg, is featured prominently in this morning's NY Times piece on the Walton philanthropy-industrial complex and charter schools:

In 2013, the Walton foundation spent more than $164 million across the country. According to Marc Sternberg, who was appointed director of K-12 education reform at the Walton Family Foundation last September, Walton has given grants to one in every four charter start-ups in the country, for a total of $335 million.

“The Walton Family Foundation has been deeply committed to a theory of change, which is that we have a moral obligation to provide families with high quality choices,” said Mr. Sternberg. “We believe that in providing choices we are also compelling the other schools in an ecosystem to raise their game.”

...

Walton’s Mr. Sternberg, who started his career in Teach for America and founded the Bronx Lab School, a public school in New York City, does not apologize for Walton’s commitment to charter schools and vouchers. “What’s the argument there?” he said during an interview. “Don’t help anybody until you can help everybody?”

He said the foundation was focused not on ideology but on results, a word he repeated many times.

Let's focus on the "results" that Walmart, the company, gets so that the Walton Foundation can use some of that money they make to hire Marc Sternberg and other edu-entrepreneurs and reformers and push their pro-charter/pro-voucher agenda.

Sternberg claims the Walton money has clearly made DC a better place:

“D.C. is a better place today than it was 10 years ago because of the reforms that have played out here,” said Mr. Sternberg, who was an official in the New York City Department of Education under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. He pointed to recent increases in scores on national tests by both public and charter school students, saying that neighborhood schools had responded to competition from charters. “And maybe in very small part, because of Walton’s role,” he added.

Let's see all the good Walmart has done in DC:

Mayor Vincent C. Gray vetoed legislation Thursday that would force the District’s largest retailers to pay their workers significantly more, choosing the potential for jobs and development at home over joining a national fight against low-wage work.

Gray’s quandary is playing out in many U.S. cities, where local leaders who generally sympathize with worker causes are also eager to lure jobs and commerce for their constituents. Retailers, most notably Wal-Mart, have placed an increasing focus on urban expansion, while unions and advocates for workers have pushed measures like the District’s “living wage” bill as a valuable hedge against the proliferation of low-paying jobs.

 The veto, which is unlikely to be overridden by the D.C. Council, clears the way for Wal-Mart to continue its entry into the District — plans years in the making that were thrown into question after lawmakers embraced the wage proposal this year.

...

The bill, known as the Large Retailer Accountability Act, would require retailers with corporate sales of $1 billion or more and operating District stores of at least 75,000 square feet to pay their employees a “living wage” — no less than $12.50 an hour in combined wages and benefits. The proposal includes an exception for employers who collectively bargain with their workers. Existing employers would have four years to come into compliance.

The city’s minimum wage is $8.25 an hour. The bill would raise the annual earnings of a full-time employee making the lowest legal wage from about $17,000 to $26,000.

While the bill’s supporters repeatedly said it was not targeted at Wal-Mart, the debate was inextricably tied to the retail giant’s plans, announced in late 2010, to open as many as six stores in the city in the coming months and years.

The union exemption and square-footage requirement rankled Wal-Mart officials, who said those provisions created an uneven playing field — particularly with the unionized grocery chains they plan to compete with in the city.

A day ahead of the bill’s final passage in July, Wal-Mart told council members and the public that it would not pursue three of the six planned stores and would explore options for withdrawing from the others should legislators proceed. The ultimatum changed no votes on the council.

Wal-Mart spokesman Steven Restivo called the veto “good news for D.C. residents,” saying Gray chose “jobs, economic development and common sense over special interests.”

Restivo said the company will move forward with its stores in the District: “We look forward to finishing the work we started in the city almost three years ago.”

While the ultimatum from Walmart may have changed no votes on the council, it did ensure Gray's veto.

In the end, Walmart got exactly what it wanted - a dead living wage bill.

Oh, yeah - just feel all the goodness Walmart and Walton money have brought to DC.

So much goodness that you, well, can't actually pay your bills with it.

15 comments:

  1. I have lots of video of Marc Sternberg staring into space as kids, teachers and parents pleaded to keep their schools open. A worthy successor to the bloodless John White -- except that Sternberg liked to chat ed politics when I'd run into him - showed particular concern about the Chicago strike - "do you think that could ever happen here" he asked with a worried look? I just laughed, thinking of Mulgrew leading such a strike. Sternberg was clearly asking rhetorical question as the Tweed gang knew exactly what kind of union they were dealing with.

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    1. There's a circle in hell for functionaries like Sternberg who carried out the bloodletting on schools. Soulless, totally devoid of empathy and any ability to make a human connection. That is often the case w/ these reformers.

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  2. I hope you put this up on the Times' comment section!!!!!!

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    Replies
    1. They wouldn't allow a block of text from the Washington Post in a comment. But I am not much disposed to comment at the Times anyway.

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  3. I noticed yesterday they also support NPR in their largesse claiming to offer parents choices in education. One less channel to listen to. I'm down to Jazz FM from Toronto and sports talk. Thank God for audio books.

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    1. Yeah, I really have come to despise NPR. I stopped listening many years ago, but every once in a while I see something inane the local NPR ed reporter here in NYC tweets and I am reminded again why it was such a wise decision to stop listening.

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  4. As an aside, in upping the ante to have a better, more appropriate candidate run against Cuomo, please connect to this WPF link to give your opinion and strengthen that possibility:

    http://action.workingfamiliesparty.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=9732

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  5. If Walmart were to pay their employees a living wage, they would have less capital to invest in destroying the careers of others,

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    Replies
    1. That's right - but that's part of the fun in living in 21st Century America. The corporations are using their taxpayer-subsidized profits to steal more and more money, then use it in a political battle to expand their empires. Democracy, American-style!

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