Wal-Mart set to skim off free labor in Detroit High Schools: Students fight the road to serfdom


“The paradox of education is precisely this— that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated.  The purpose of education, finally, is to create in a person the ability to look at the world for himself; to make his own decisions, to say to himself this is black or this is white, to decide for himself whether there is a God in heaven or not.  To ask questions of the universe, and even to learn to live with those questions, is the way he achieves his own identity.  But no society is really anxious to have that sort of person around.  What societies really, ideally, want is a citizenry which will simply obey the rules of society.  If a society succeeds in this, it is about to perish.  The obligation of anyone who thinks of himself as responsible is to examine society and try to change it and fight it— no matter at what risk.  This is the only hope society has.  This is the only way societies change”.

—- James Baldwin, “A Talk to Teachers,” reprinted in    Rick    Simonson and Scott Walker,  The Graywolf Annual Five:  Multi-Cultural Literacy (St. Paul: Graywolf Press, 1988).

Students Speak Out Against Walmart Work Program


| February 15, 2010 at 2:16 PM | Categories: Uncategorized | URL: http://wp.me/pLykY-3X

The following statement was written by students at the Frederick Douglass Academy and read at the recent kick-off event announcing a program that would place 30 students in jobs at Wal-Mart. The students would get credits, Wal-Mart free labor. This is the initial phase of the program, proposed at 4 Detroit High Schools.

Save Frederick Douglass Academy

We the students of Frederick Douglass Academy are not going to accept the attack on our education! Allowing Walmart to come into our school, set up elective “classes,” and the offer 30 Walmart jobs, is an insult. Rob Bobb has brought Walmart into at least four high schools in Detroit. Bobb’s plan for education in DPS is to charterize the District. His plan would mean the end of public education in Detroit.

If Walmart succeeds in our school, it will become a Walmart Charter School. Frederick Douglass Academy will become a school in which the only aspiration of the students can be working for Walmart and climbing the ladder of the Walmart institution to someday become a supervisor or manager. We can NOT allow our school, and our district to become Walmart job feeders, and places which are only there to kill our dreams and aspirations.

The Frederick Douglass Affirmation proudly states “We are determined to get the root of success, not just the fruit of success.” When we decided to come to this school, we were deciding to make our dreams and aspirations a reality. We came here to learn and grow. We wanted our lives to have meaning, and we were going to be somebody. Frederick Douglass Academy was built to create leaders. Its purpose is to give students the opportunity to get a real education and get into schools like U of M. Frederick Douglass Academy is a beacon of hope for many Detroiters. We cannot let our hopes be trampled. We deserve MUCH more than Walmart.

The students of Frederick Douglass Academy have been, and are the leaders of Detroit. We are now in the middle of the most important fight of our lives. This is the fight for our city. This is the fight for Public Education. Bobb knows and understands that the strongest leaders opposing his plan are in Frederick Douglass Academy, so he has brought the fight to our school. If he breaks our school, he thinks that he can break the rest of DPS.  History has put us in the position to truly be the future of Detroit.

Our lives are worth too much to let them be wasted at the hands Rob Bobb and his plan. This is our future and our families’ future that we are defending. It is time to stand up, be our own leaders, and fight. It is up to us to Save Frederick Douglass Academy. Oppose the attack on our education! Remove Walmart and Rob Bobb from our school!

-February 9, 2010

Note: As you can see the Walton Family Fund, main players in the war on public education, are now putting our children on the road to serfdom.  But the retail plantation owners will not be able to keep public schools chained in the slave quarters of education, as these students rightly indicate.

The issue is mobilization and these students must be commended and heralded in the fight to secure their educational and social future.  In this way they will receive not a retail education, but a democratic one born from the ashes of struggle.

Thank you students!

Danny Weil

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About the author

Dr. Danny Weil is an investigative journalist, author and public interest attorney who practiced public interest law for more than twenty years and has been published in a case of first impression in California. He received the Project Censored "Most Censored" News Stories of 2009-10 award for his article: "Neoliberalism, Charter Schools and the Chicago Model / Obama and Duncan's Education Policy: Like Bush's, Only Worse," published by Counterpunch, August 24, 2009 and again in 2013 for his 2012 article, "HR 347 Would Make Many Forms of Nonviolent Protest Illegal" (http://www.projectcensored.org/top-stories/articles/10-hr-347-would-make-many-forms-of-nonviolent-protest-illegal/). He writes profusely on education and for-profit predatory colleges.