Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Compare+Contrast/Connect the Dots: Walton+KIPP • • • WalMart+MALDEF

Walton Family Foundation Invests $25m in KIPP national, Expanding KIPP LA Schools

e-mail & Press Release from larson public relations

MALDEF's misstep: The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund is accepting sponsorship money from Wal-Mart, which is no friend to Latinos.

Op-Ed in the LA Times  by Harold Meyerson | http://lat.ms/uOBlpV

Dear Scott,

Today, November 15, the Walton Family Foundation announced that they will invest $25 million in the KIPP Foundation over the next five years. This grant will provide resources to help KIPP double their student population, enabling more than 59,000 families to choose high-performing KIPP charter schools by 2015. In addition, this investment serves to strengthen KIPP’s efforts to support alumni on the path to and through college.

In Los Angeles, this investment will help expand the KIPP network from five to 13 schools by 2016.

The Walton Family Foundation invests in programs and organizations that expand parental choice and equal opportunity in education. Would you be interested in speaking with Jim Blew, director of the foundation’s K-12 Education Reform efforts? We would also be able to connect you with a local KIPP official.


Christine Schneider
On behalf of the Walton Family Foundation
Ph: (415) 816-9051


                  Christine Schneider
(415) 816-9051

Walton Family Foundation Invests $25 Million in KIPP to Serve 59,000 Students by 2015: Investment expected to help double national KIPP enrollment by 2015

BENTONVILLE, ARK. – November 15, 2011 – With the goal of doubling the number of students who attend KIPP public charter schools across the country, the Walton Family Foundation announced today that it is investing $25.5 million in the KIPP Foundation over the next five years. The grant will help families of 59,000 students choose high-performing KIPP schools by 2015 and will also assist the KIPP network in its goal of increasing its college completion rate. The Walton Family Foundation invests in programs and organizations that expand parental choice and equal opportunity in education.

KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) was created in Houston in 1994 by Teach For America alumni Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin. Feinberg and Levin founded the first two KIPP schools in Houston and the South Bronx in 1995. The non-profit KIPP Foundation was established in 2000 in partnership with Doris and Donald Fisher, cofounders of the Gap, Inc. Its mission is to recruit, train and support educators to open KIPP schools in underserved communities across the United States.

Since the KIPP Foundation’s inception, KIPP has grown to a national network of 109 public charter schools in 20 states and the District of Columbia. As of the 2011-2012 school year, KIPP serves 32,000 students from under-resourced urban and rural neighborhoods.  According to a 2010 Mathematica Policy Research study, the vast majority of KIPP middle schools are achieving significant academic gains in math and reading, while serving a student population that has lower entering test scores and a higher percentage of low-income students than the neighboring public school districts.

“We are honored and grateful that the Walton Family Foundation has made this catalytic investment,” said Richard Barth, Chief Executive Officer of the KIPP Foundation.  “Thanks to their support, we will be able to double the number of students we serve over the next five years while continuing to foster a culture of continuous improvement and sustainability in our schools.”

The Walton Family Foundation investment will help KIPP grow from serving 27,000 students in 2010-11 to 59,000 students in 2015-16. The grant will help KIPP expand to serve more students and will support KIPP’s efforts to train more than 750 educators to open new KIPP charter schools as well as to take on increased leadership roles within existing schools. In addition, the investment will support national advocacy, professional development for teachers, knowledge sharing, and research and data initiatives that help ensure quality and sustainability across the national KIPP network. The grant will not directly fund operations for any KIPP schools. Each KIPP region operates independently and is responsible for additional fundraising to support its own operations and regional growth initiatives.

“Through our investment in KIPP, the Walton Family Foundation seeks to expand the high-performing school options available to low-income parents. KIPP wants to make a deeper and broader impact in the communities it serves, and we welcome the opportunity to help,” said Jim Blew, who leads the foundation’s K-12 Education Reform efforts. “KIPP has an established track record of creating public charter schools of excellence in low-income communities, and there is growing evidence that traditional public school systems are striving to replicate KIPP’s successes.”

The Walton Family Foundation investment will also help strengthen KIPP’s efforts to support alumni on the path to and through college. By 2015, KIPP expects to have 10,000 alumni enrolled in college.  As outlined in KIPP’s College Completion Report, 33 percent of students who completed eighth grade at KIPP ten or more years ago have graduated from a four-year college.  This is higher than the national average (31 percent), and four times the rate for students living in low-income communities (8 percent).  KIPP is aiming to increase its college completion rate to 50 percent by 2016, with a goal of 75 percent, which is the same college completion rate for students from affluent families. 

Since 2002 and prior to this investment, the Walton Family Foundation has invested more than $32 million to help KIPP grow into the nation’s largest high-performing charter school network. This is the largest single investment that the Walton Family Foundation has made to the KIPP Foundation to date.

About the Walton Family Foundation

Driven by the urgent need to dramatically raise student achievement, particularly in low-income neighborhoods, the Walton Family Foundation has invested more than $1 billion to date in initiatives that expand parental choice and equal opportunity in education. Empowering parents to choose quality schools, regardless of type - traditional public, private or public charter school - will help spur the bold transformation of our national K-12 system of public education. Our nation’s children will only reach their potential in today’s global economy by having access to a high-quality, publicly funded education. Visit the foundation at www.waltonfamilyfoundation.org.

About KIPP

KIPP – the Knowledge Is Power Program – is a national network of open-enrollment, college-preparatory public charter schools with a track record of preparing students in underserved communities for success in college and in life.  Over 95 percent of students enrolled in KIPP schools are African American or Hispanic/Latino, and more than 80 percent qualify for the federal free and reduced-price meals program.  To date, over 85 percent of students who have graduated from KIPP middle schools have matriculated to college.  To learn more, visit www.kipp.org.

November 15, 2011 - On Tuesday, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or MALDEF, will hold its annual awards gala and fundraiser in downtown Los Angeles. The awardees include such indisputable worthies as Linda Ronstadt and former MALDEF leader Antonia Hernandez. The real awardee, though, should be MALDEF itself, whose decades of civil rights litigation have yielded significant gains for Latinos. I haven't always agreed with all of its actions, but I generally find myself cheering it on (as I do its current campaign to create a second Latino-majority district on the L.A. County Board of Supervisors).

There's just one problem with this gala. Front and center on the invitation are the words: "Gala Chair: Wal-Mart."

Wal-Mart may be giving money to MALDEF, but it isn't a friend to Latinos, and most definitely not here in Southern California. In weighing the advisability of MALDEF's taking Wal-Mart's money and granting the corporation Latino street cred (or if not that, suite cred) in return, consider what happened on Oct. 12 in Riverside County, about an hour east of Tuesday night's dinner.

    On that day, inspectors from California's Division of Labor Standards Enforcement paid an unannounced visit to one of the mega-warehouses in Riverside County to which trucks bring a huge amount of Asian (chiefly Chinese) imports from the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports. None of these warehouses has any signage, but each does the work of a specific retail chain, and the one that the state inspectors checked out was one of many in the area that is a Wal-Mart warehouse.

    Not that Wal-Mart directly owns or runs its Inland Empire warehouses. They're all run by logistics companies with which Wal-Mart contracts to move its stuff, which also allows Wal-Mart to avoid any responsibility for what actually goes on inside.

    Here's what the inspectors found: The logistics company (Impact) and the employment agencies from which it hired the workers in its warehouse failed to document the hours and wages of its workers. The workers are paid "piece rate" based on the number of containers they load and unload, but the pay rates remain a mystery to them, as they are not spelled out on their paychecks. The company apparently had no records of its own either.

    The inspectors fined Impact $499,000 for violations of wage and hour laws. The following week, six of the warehouse workers filed a suit in federal court for back pay and additional remedies, and U.S. District Court Judge Christina Snyder on Oct. 31 issued a preliminary injunction compelling the temp agencies to alter the way they paid workers to end the immediate harm that the existing pay system was causing them.

    The men and women who work in these warehouses — they number roughly 100,000 in the Inland Empire — are overwhelmingly Latino. An official of Warehouse Workers United, an organization of those workers, told me that he's "never seen a non-Latino worker at the warehouse, other than managers." All these Latino workers are at the very bottom of a labor system that Wal-Mart has erected — a system that keeps the wages of the workers in its supply chain at rock bottom, and also keeps any responsibility for those workers' mistreatment as distanced as possible from Wal-Mart itself.

    Wal-Mart's indirect mistreatment of the warehouse workers is of a piece, of course, with its notorious mistreatment of workers generally. That's why Wal-Mart has had so much trouble persuading local governments in more liberal big cities like Los Angeles to allow it into their markets, and why it woos groups, like MALDEF, that can grant it a measure of liberal urban respectability as it seeks approval to open its stores.

    I presume Wal-Mart's sponsorship of MALDEF's dinner is bringing the organization some much-needed funding. But in the long run, groups like MALDEF need to consider whether taking support from Wal-Mart is worth the price it may inflict on the very people MALDEF champions. In the short run, MALDEF should give the money back and tell Wal-Mart it will validate the company when the company pays its Latino workers what it owes them by law, and when it treats them like human beings.

    Harold Meyerson is editor at large of the American Prospect and an op-ed columnist for the Washington Post.

    additional reading:

    • GOT DOUGH? How Billionaires Rule Our Schools
    • By the numbers: HOW TO TELL IF YOUR SCHOOL DISTRICT IS INFECTED BY THE BROAD VIRUS #30 - Existing groups suddenly become fervidly in favor of teacher bashing, merit pay or charter schools. Don’t be surprised to find that these groups may have received grant money from the corporate ed reform foundations like Gates or Broad.
    • The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice are Undermining Education  by Diane Ravitch, specifically Chapter 10 “Billionaire Boy’s Club” : “…the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (the Microsoft fortune), the Walton Family Foundation (Wal-Mart), and the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation (home-building and finance) – that have eclipsed the older foundations long associated with education policy (Ford, Rockefeller, Carnegie and Annenberg) as the powerful big givers. Sometimes described as “venture philanthropies” or exponents of “philanthrocapitalism,” meaning their methods are borrowed from start-up finance and management, the Gates, Walton and Broad foundations see their grants as investments, designed to produce measurable results. And though they preach accountability to teachers, they receive relatively little scrutiny themselves – or even much dissent, given the power of their interlocking grants to exclude critics. All that money buys a lot of silence, Ravitch says, not to mention admiring friends. The Teach for America program, with its youthful cadre of 24,000 veterans, in one of the fruits of philanthrocapitalism; the Race to the Top is another.” | Economic Principals » » In the Thrall of the Billionaire Boys Club

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