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Tue Feb 12, 2013, 04:33 PM


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 skillz gap. Perhaps the most fiercely urgent chasm we’ve encountered to date, the skillz gap refers to the vast unfilled space between current and future job openings and the skillz of the people looking for jobs.

Or that’s what we’re supposed to think it means. The real skillz gap is between what workers have—a fierce desire not to live in their cars—and what their employers want—to pay them as little as possible. Which brings us to today’s fiercely urgent question: if the skillz 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.

Unlike our failing public schools, the excellent schools of tomorrow (by which I mean today) must equip students with the skillz that will enable them to thrive in the 21st century workplace. Skillz like
critical thinking
xxx tucking in their uniform shirts and
problem solving,
xxx 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 ($3.2 million 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 ($158 million in 2012), I will henceforth be designating the recipients of excellent Walton $$ with this tiny w.

Now, onto Building Excellent Schoolsw.

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 skillz she will need to become 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... 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.

You notice something else about the teachers: 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 school 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..


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