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Wal-Mart: Quite The Model Corporate Citizen

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.