In a major expose, the New York Times has revealed a trail of corruption, bribery and cover-up at the highest levels of Wal-Mart, a leading corporate funder of anti-union and anti-public education projects and initiatives.
The list of 2011 grantees of the Walton Family Foundation, Wal-Mart’s corporate foundation, reads like a veritable who’s who of corporate education reform efforts. Among the more prominent beneficiaries of Wal-Mart money are:
- Michelle Rhee’s and Joel Klein’s StudentFirst
- Eva Moskowitz’s Success Charter Network
- Education Reform Now, the not for profit arm of Democrats for Education Reform (DFER)
- The New Teacher Project
- Teach for America
- The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, and the state charter school organizations in California, Floria, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, New York, New Jersey, and Ohio
- Black Alliance for Educational Options
- Center for Education Reform
- American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
- Bellwether Education Partners
The Walton Family Foundation has also been a major funder of the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas, founded by blogger Jay Greene, who has been moved to sing the praises of Wal-Mart on occasion.
As a corporation, Wal-Mart has a long history of flouting American laws: it is the leading corporate violator of child labor laws, of the Americans with Disabilities Act and civil rights laws prohibiting sex and race discrimination. Human Rights Watch produced a major 2007 report, Discounting Rights, detailing Wal-Mart’s exploitative treatment of its employees, as well as its violations of labor law.
Quite the model corporate citizen.