As soon as John Connolly had renounced the Stand for Children money he (and Conley and Barros) attempted to get to influence the Boston mayoral race, local pundits began suggesting that the whole controversy was just political theater and implying or stating that other candidates were going to take outside money, so what’s the big deal.
The big deal is this: Stand for Children’s $500k is not just “outside money.” It’s also at least partly Walton money. And Walton money is not in Boston’s best interest.
Here’s a nice summary of the kind of stuff the Walton family funds. If you don’t feel like reading it, ponder this:
Wal Mart’s business model requires a permanent underclass to both staff and shop at their stores.
The Walton family is therefore not going to give to any kind of venture with the potential to ensure or facilitate class mobility. Whatever the Walton family may be (and I have a few choice adjectives), they are not stupid. They are simply not going to undermine their own fortune by contributing to anything that alleviates poverty or fosters critical thinking or might help future employees to be empowered enough to stand up for themselves against abusive working conditions.
Ultimately whether Stand for Children (over $600k in Walton money in 2012), Children First ($2 million in Walton money in 2012) , KIPP ($8.3 million in Walton money in 2012), Teach for America ($11.4 million in Walton money in 2012) (all numbers here), or any other Walton surrogates are staffed by people with good intentions is irrelevant. The fact is that the Walton family believes that these organizations will assist them in advancing their reactionary agenda. And the Walton family is not stupid.
This, indeed, is what frustrates me about education “reformers”–so many of them are nominal Democrats while they spend their working lives carrying water for reactionary billionaires.
The Waltons believe that Stand for Children, Children First, KIPP, and Teach for America will help undermine the rights of workers and maintain and grow the divide between haves and have nots. Anyone who supplicates before Stand For Children or any of these other organizations that are nurtured at the Walton teat should have to answer for the agenda they have signed on to.
Shame on John Connolly, Dan Conley, John Barros, and anyone else who seeks this tainted money. And shame on any Democrat who votes for them.