There’s an Arkansas angle in this story about Walmart’s promotion of a new ideological film, “Won’t Back Down,” aimed at supporting “trigger laws” that give school parents a vote to convert a conventional public school (preferably one with a union workforce) into a non-union charter school. The movie is misleading. It suggests a majority vote of teachers is also needed for school conversion. That’s not what the existing laws provide.
The legislation is being doled out at cookie-cutting sessions by the American Legislative Exchange Council, the go-to Koch lobby for Arkansas Republican legislators in need of corporate movement bills. Conservative billionaire Philip Anschutz is also promoting the movie.
Walmart, in Arkansas alone, finances wholly or in part an anti-union lobby group, a similarly inclined nonprofit, a nonprofit that provides advice to charter schools, a new “reform” lobby headed by a former Chamber of Commerce executive who doesn’t like the Little Rock School District, charter schools and most of the key members of legislative education committees. 2013, many think, will be the year it moves to take over the direction of education in Arkansas. (Oh, and I forgot to mention the Walton-financed (with an assist from the equally conservative Windgate Foundation) Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas which churns out a steady diet of corporate movement education tracts, and whose financial arrangements the UA refuses to fully reveal despite the state Freedom of Information Act.)
Walmart’s hostility to unions and collective bargaining is well-known so its support for a message in favor of stripping teachers of that is not surprising. From Hollywood to a school district near you.
Related Tweet: “The 6 heirs of the Walton family have a combined net worth greater than bottom 1/3 of America.” Did they build that?