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Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Big Box Charter School

Students wear name tags and
Walmart blue vests
Arkansas - The Walton family of Walmart fame has decided to open their own chain of for-profit charter schools. The first "Big Box Charter School" (BBCS) will be located in Bentonville, Arkansas which also serves as Walmart's corporate headquarters.

BBCS CEO P. Louis Bergoff announced, "Our flagship school will open its doors in August of 2014. As is the Walmart way, we will deliver a quality product while cutting costs. Thereby reaping huge profits for our investors."

Bergoff explained that the school will feature many of the same practices that have made the Walmart Corporation so profitable. "A new teacher can expect to earn $7.50 an hour, while those with experience might earn up to $12.50."

Bergoff admitted that it had been a struggle to attract qualified teachers at those wages. "American workers expect to be compensated fairly and they want things like health insurance so we decided to recruit abroad." All of the staff has been flown in from other countries including China, Haiti and Indonesia and will be housed in trailers behind the school. And since they live on campus, staff will be expected to supervise after-school activities and sports programs for no additional pay.

Bergoff bragged about other cost saving opportunities the school had already uncovered. "For instance, we are saving lots of money on cafeteria aides. Because our teachers qualify for the same free lunch program as their students, we expect them to supervise their students while they eat their government subsidized lunch in the cafeteria."

Asked if the teachers union had objected to the low pay and uncompensated additional duties, Bergoff responded, "Our company, I mean school, is union free. We have an open door policy with our employees and don't feel the need for any go-betweens. Employees can go straight to their supervisors if they have a problem and of course they are always free to seek employment elsewhere if they are unhappy."

What can students expect at the BBCS? According to the literature prepared for interested parents and made available to reporters during the press conference, students will be referred to as "associates" and issued blue vests with their names on name tags. "We think it is good practice for them," smiled Bergoff. Another hallmark of the school will be its "level of efficiency." Page two of a pamphlet describing the school day states, "We expect staff and students to regularly seek and find efficiencies. Students can expect to be timed during daily tasks by their stop watch carrying teachers and teachers can expect the same from their supervisors." Another glaring difference between the BBCS and Arkansas public schools seemed to lie in the school's curriculum which offers some unusual classes for older students such as a history class called, "The Regressive Era: How Unions Ruined America," a science class called, "Evolution Schmevolution" and a math class entitled, "How To Live On A Minimum Wage."

Representing her family, a beaming Alice Walton described the motivation for this undertaking, "For years, the Walton Family Foundation has donated money to support charter schools. Now we feel it's time they support us."

As is the Walmart way, the company/school plans to expand. "Initially we will open only one school but the following year we expect to open ten Big Box Charter Schools and we're shooting for 100 more the year after that," explained Bergoff. One can only hope.

Reality Alert: 

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