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