Building Tomorrow’s Walmart Workers—Today

Our nation’s fate hangs in the balance—and once again the blame can be laid squarely at the feet of our union-stifled public schools. Reader: I give you the skills gap. Perhaps the most fiercely urgent chasm we’ve encountered to date, the skills gap refers to the vast unfilled space between current and future job openings and the skills of the people looking for jobs.

Or that’s what we’re supposed to think it means. The real skills gap is between what workers have—a fierce desire not to live in their cars—and what their employers wantto pay them as little as possible. Which brings us to today’s fiercely urgent question: if the skills gap demands that we dismantle our public schools pronto, what kind of schools are best suited to producing the cheap, compliant workers that tomorrow’s employers so urgently need today? The answer: excellent schools.

Building Excellent Schoolsw
Unlike our failing public schools, the excellent schools of tomorrow (by which I mean today) must equip students with the skills that will enable them to thrive in the 21st century workplace. Skills like critical thinking tucking in their uniform shirts and problem solving, conforming to a great many arbitrary rules. But who is capable of building these excellent schools? Reader: I give you Building Excellent Schools, Inc, which, thanks to a hefty infusion of Walmart bucks via the Walton Foundation ($6 million in the past two years, to be precise), will soon be building even more schools with even more excellence. Note: as the Walton Foundation is beneficently underwriting so much excellence these days ($164 million in 2013), I will henceforth be designating the recipients of excellent Walton $$ with this tiny w. Now, onto Building Excellent Schoolsw.

Prestige Academy in Wilmington, DE, where the stopwatch is king.

A prison of measured time
If you are an EduShyster premium reader, you have already encountered Building Excellent Schools. Recall, if you will, little Carolina’s “college prep” academy, where little Carolina is learning the skills she will need to become a research scientist a really excellent associate at a big box store. Also, Cornerstone Prep in Memphis, TN, where children perform multiple tasks, like practicing their multiplication tables as they wait in line to go to the bathroom, in order to master the lost art of efficiency. At these and a long list of excellent schools that have already been built around the country, the stopwatch is king, preparing the students of today to punch the time clocks of tomorrow.

The pace may be frenetic action, judging by the stopwatches Cornerstone teachers wear to time even simple tasks while chanting an almost mesmerizing mantra of praise and encouragement. Cornerstone teachers work the line for the bathroom, quizzing children on addition and subtraction tables.

Or there’s Prestige Academy, another Building Excellent Schoolsw production.

Then you notice something about the teachers. It’s something that hangs around their necks. Something small and black. Something important. A stopwatch. And it’s not just the teachers who wear them. Every adult does: the nurse, the office staff, the dean of students—even Jack Perry, Prestige Academy’s 36-year-old founder and president.

Life lessons
You notice something else about the teachers too: they are at-will employees who teach on one-year contracts and can be fired at any time. Which is excellent, as the exciting 21st century workplace for which little Carolina and her friends are preparing is also union free. And unlike the day at a typical union-stifled public school, which ends at 3:00 so that the LIFO lifers can ‘get their drink on,’ the school day at a typical Building Excellent Schoolsw school is really long. Just like the typical workday at Walmart, which may not end until the managers unlock the doors. In other words, the students of today are finally learning the essential skillz that our failing public schools have denied them for so long. Also these excellent schools are preparing students for the diverse workplaces of the 21st century by surrounding them with authority figures who are overwhelmingly white.

And now a word from our sponsor
Today’s post is brought to you by Walmart, which currently employs 1% of the US population, and thanks to the generosity of Walmart heirs, the Walton family, funds 99% of the education reform movement. Which brings us back to the fierce urgency of the skills gap. If the true aim of Building Excellent Schoolsw is to produce the workers of tomorrow today, why bother with the middle man at all? In the interest of efficiency (and excellence), why not let Walmart open the next generation of schools? Now that would be an associate degree worth banking on.

Send tips, comments or skills-building exercises to tips@edushyster.com.

19 Comments

  1. Pay-As-Little-As-Possible has truly taken hold. Never are there more people selling America’s food (out of Walmart) than there are farmers producing all of America’s food.

    http://www.epa.gov/agriculture/ag101/demographics.html

    Corporate competition is driving down quality in more than just education. No wonder our kids are fat.

  2. Wow, I am sure all the wal mart kids (children of the family, that is) must attend these schools. No way the parents would want their kids to miss out on all this excellence!

    1. What would be super cool and also excellent is if they opened WalSchools right in the stores, just like Walmart clinics and banks! And as long as bib box curriculum is aligned with Common Core should be a snap to test kids progress right at the checkout. Handheld scanners are also excellent assessment tools!

      1. Ed, you just gave some aspirin gWal Mart exec a cagebusting idea!

  3. I hope this goes viral, and people go to all the links. it’s always a problem to convince people – this sort of conduct is so outrageous and mendacious.

  4. Yeah, “cage-busting” is really union-busting….

  5. […] has a hilarious post about how to prepare Walmart workers of the […]

  6. Imagine the possibilities! Wal-walk-in school equipped with walmart computers, walmart paper, walmart TV’s, walmart furniture, teachers trained by walmart ( An efficient 5 week training model comes to mind…) and walmart stopwatches!

    Maybe they’ll offer 24 hour schools for kids whose parents work the graveyard shift. Truly a cage-busting opportunity.

  7. And so the question begs to be asked: Why do so many of my teaching colleagues shop at Walmart? I do not. will not. ever. And I am more than happy to challenge people who do – for a multitude of reasons; chiefly the treatment of their employees, and that so many of them must also be a part of the government welfare system just to exist. This was reason enough for me before I even knew of their contributions to “ed reform”.

    Workers everywhere must unite – We, the working and spending public have awarded these “privileges” to the Walton family. Time to rethink!

  8. […] Building Tomorrow’s Walmart Workers—Today | EduShyster. […]

  9. I makes me laugh and puts a knot in my stomach at the same time.

  10. Sadly…..following the link to the Building Excellent Schools website, reminds me of slavery…..They are training the children of my culture and other minorities to be controlled…..I would not like any charter school for my own children……Give urban schools the resources they need……

  11. […] Building Tomorrow’s Walmart Workers — Today (Edushyster!) […]

  12. Wait, wait, wait….are you telling me these rephorm folks have the nerve, nay, the GALL to quiz their students on MULTIPLICATION facts whilst waiting in line for the restroom?!? Great gastrointestinal fortitude, have these joy-sucking time-keepers $old their souls to the educational-industrial complex? Next thing you know, they will start providing AFTER SCHOOL LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES outside of “regularly scheduled class time!!! AGH! AGH! AUUUUUUUGH!!!! Don’t people know that these kids are BORN “intellectually “behind” and that extra time spent on learning and skills acquisition makes no difference? (http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2010/03/the-32-million-word-gap/36856/)

    Furthermore what’s with these stop watches? And rules??? We must be vigilant, people! It starts in the classroom, but who’s to say where it ends? Timing in academic decathalons? Timing on college exams??? TIMING DURING SPORTING EVENTS??? Shudder.

    And did I read correctly that we have white teachers in front of minority students?!? Don’t these schools know the races must be kept separate? (http://web.utk.edu/~mfitzge1/docs/374/wallace_seg63.pdf) No, but seriously, why are these schools actively avoiding minority teachers? (http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/09/01/kappan_ingersoll.html)

    Oh, and Walmart totally sucks. I mean, their prices are unbeatable, but it’s primarily because they quite literally beat their employees. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Walmart#Working_conditions)

    1. Wendy, is that you?

      1. Bwa ha ha! Well played! But no. I’d say I’m less Wendy Darling and more Peter Pan- why have grown-up discourse when we can take juvenile cheap shots at each other!!! Wheeeeeeeee!!!

        Read This Aloud: Peoplewhohatestudentslearning say “what”?

        Ooooooooh! You said it!

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  14. […] Building Tomorrow’s Walmart Workers—Today Prestige Academy in Wilmington, DE, where the stopwatch is king. […]

  15. […] who blogs about corporate education reform out of Massachusetts, had an amusing post this week describing how the Walmart-funded reform movement is designed to create future Walmart […]

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