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Did You Know I Am “Funded by the Teachers Union”?

March 14, 2015

I did not know so myself.

Not until Julie Stroud Trivitt, assistant professor of economics at the Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas wrote as much on Facebook by way of advising another person to “follow the money” on me for my position on charters.

Trivitt draws her paycheck from a “college of business” that advertises itself as “We Are Walton”… When we say “WE ARE WALTON,” we mean it.”

The same page also alludes to its “corporate sponsors.” In 2013, the Walton Foundation paid $1.2 million to the University of Arkansas Foundation.

Trivitt is also connected to the heavily-Walton-funded Univeristy of Arkansas Department of Education Reform.

The Walton Foundation is big on charters and vouchers. The Waltons footed the bill for New Orleans’ OneApp process for applying for admission to New Orleans’ less than impressive, embarrassingly low ACT-scoring charter school system.

The Walton family also has an established, anti-union history.

Given a hefty, Walton-privatizing presence in Arkansas, it should come as no surprise that education privatization should move into Little Rock in the form of a bill to take over any “failing” school district and hand it over to a charter operator.

The Walton Foundation funded the bill. As the Arkansas Times notes:

[Author of the bill] Cozart chairs the Education Committee. His bill is the work of Walton Family Foundation-funded lobbyists and has the apparent backing of Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who’s promised wealthy Arkansans such as the Waltons and Democrat-Gazette Publisher Walter Hussman who back the so-called “reform” movement, to do earthshaking things, beginning in Little Rock.

The Waltons are keen on charter operators. One of their favorites is KIPP. Walton gave the KIPP Foundation $8.8 million in 2013.

Some individuals object to a privatized Little Rock school system. In registering her objection, one such person happened to post a piece I wrote in December 2014, entitled, A Walton’s Plan to Fix Public Education. Uh. Huh.

But Walton-backed economics professor Trivitt was there to set the record straight on the likes of me and my distaste for multi-billionaire-purchased “choice.” Here is what she wrote on Facebook in reference to me and my “funding”:

 Julie Stroud Trivitt Jennifer, I agree smaller districts might be a better solution for little rock, but I disagree that charter schools are evil. They are dependent on the public being happy and renewing their contract in a way public school monopolies are not. I was not familiar with Mercedes Schneider before you mentioned her. I read on her blog for a few minutes. I will bet that if you follow the money, you will see she is funded by a teachers union. [Emphasis added.]

I have news for you, Trivitt. New Orleans charters are not “dependent” on public “happiness.” Sure, all of this talk of “accountability to the public” makes for a fine marketing strategy, but that is all it is. The public does not grant New Orleans charters, and the public does not audit and cancel New Orleans charters.

Even the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) does not adequately monitor New Orleans charters. LDOE will, however, hide those charters’ sad ACT scores from the public.

And now to that wholly unfounded, Walton-trademarked “bet” about my “funding”:

Had Trivitt read my blog for a few more minutes, she might have noticed my week-old, March 6, 2015, post, entitled, Answering a Challenge for “Full Disclosure” of My *Secret Funding.*

Primarily living off of my *public school monopoly money.*

No union cash coming my way, Trivitt.

No Walton buyout, either.

Walton UArk


Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of the ed reform whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education.



  1. Peter permalink

    The jokes on her. Public school English teachers are so incredibly wealthy that we don’t need funding from the union or anybody else. You should just fly over to Walton U in your private jet and give her hell.

  2. Kristin Smith permalink

    OH, snap!

  3. Actually she got that backwards…the union is funded by you and any other teacher who pays union dues. BTW I’ve been boycotting Walmart for the past 4 years (I do go about once a year to pick up Nivea…they still have it in the glass jars..but honestly that’s it)!

    • Cary, good point. The only reason I am still a member of AFT is for my local union, which has been very supportive. Even our state union wit its AFT dependence has been careful not to push Common Core on us.

  4. Laura chapman permalink

    Well, all I can say is the speaker has a good case of hoof and mouth disease. The tweet speaks for the lack of academic integrity at the school. I think it would be great to know her salary, where she studied, full disclosure of what it takes to be liked by the Walton’s school of propaganda.

  5. Laura I looked up Julie’s salary is $77,648.00. I looked it up at just like you can look up mine in North Carolina and any other state employee. I hope people keep falsely accusing Mercedes. She just received another donation form a supporter!

  6. By the way, anyone else who wants to support Mercedes in her lavish “union” lifestyle, here is how:

  7. Merecedes, if you were “funded by the teachers union”, would you have posted this?

    Weingarten, Broad, and *Collaborative* Privatization – October 4, 2014

  8. When she used the words “I bet she is funded . . .” proves this person is an idiot. Do not make accusations unless you have hard and fast evidence. “I bet” is not evidence. By the way, according to one of the comments, this person makes more than most public school teachers in this country.

  9. Glenna Dumey, NBCT permalink

    You are so polite with this idiot. That’s more than I could have managed. She may have a PhD, but seems to have missed her classes in research methodology…..or maybe she just takes her commenting form from fox.

  10. John in Tennessee permalink

    Here’s the thing: People ‘project’ (v.). One can often tell how they think by listing to how they imagine the motivations of other people.

    This (how can I say this politely) person sells her intellectual integrity for money. She can’t imagine that others are different.

    In a way, I feel sorry for her. Her entire self-worth revolves around her bank account. Despite her stash, she lives in poverty (both of the mind and spirit). So sad.

  11. Donna permalink

    Those Walmart reformers are despicable, and will stop at nothing, especially lying. They are lying all the time. They are so well funded, of course they have to lie and say every one against them is well funded, or funded by a teachers union. You know what Hespe said in NJ? That the teachers union did everything it could with its well-funded war against parcc testing, while the poor Newark district couldn’t raise the cash to set the record straight and tell the parents and children and teachers how good, wholesome, and wonderful for you parcc testing is. I’m paraphrasing, but that is the gist.

    Keep at it Mercedes. You’ve and others like you have them on the ropes. All they have is money. They are empty suits without integrity or souls. Shame on them.

  12. Ken Watanabe permalink

    I think Trivitt is jealous because union dues are much more worthy than in mere price. Walton money smells nothing but greed of Wall Street.

  13. Coalition Provisional Authority Paul Bremer’s program of mass insider corporate looting in Iraq was also dependent on the public being happy, I hear. And the public in Detroit is just ecstatic about the water cutoffs under the Emergency Manager.

  14. calanghoff permalink

    They are coming after you because the truth of your research is impossible to refute. Big win for our team! 😃👍

  15. This is just proof that you’re hitting the big time when they come after you with unsubstantiated claims. After “Chronicle of Echoes,” I figured it was bound to happen. Congratulations, and here’s to your continued success in calling these charlatans on their nonsense!

  16. We spend so much time defending ourselves from random critics. Does your critic know you? have they any knowledge whatsoever or are the just shooting in the dark? I would have challenged her to “put up or shut up!” If she has proof of her claim, post it, otherwise STFU. Making false claims about someone you do not even know is quite rude and should be responded to in kind.

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