Defend Public Education

Students Speak Out Against Walmart Work Program

Posted in Uncategorized by Nicole Conaway on February 15, 2010

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 Walmart. The students would get credits, Walmart 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

Wow! Well-said. We should follow the example of these courageous students and stand up and speak out!


14 Responses

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  1. SEVNA INFOTECH said, on November 17, 2011 at 4:44 PM

    Students Speak Out Against Walmart Work Program why?

  2. Danny Weil said, on March 7, 2010 at 3:49 PM

    Please see my latest article, an in depth investigative report on Wal-Mart, John Cromer, Bobb and the internshdips.

    Danny Weil

  3. Danny Weil said, on March 7, 2010 at 3:47 PM

    Please see the latest investigative story about Wal-Mart and Detroit and John Cromer.

    Danny Weil

  4. Derrick Preston said, on March 4, 2010 at 4:46 PM

    The classes are “ELECTIVE” not required. There is no shame in working at Wall-Mart, and this gives the students that chose to participate in the program a chance to learn what type of work best suites them.

    Thank you Wall-Mart for stepping up and giving the kids a chance.

    • detroitteacher said, on March 4, 2010 at 10:55 PM

      I whole-heartedly disagree. If students wanted to work at Wall-mart they could just go apply. They don’t need to work for them for free during an 11-week training program. Rather than allowing students to explore different types of work, it seems designed to train them how to take orders. Who needs 11 weeks of “training” to work at Wall-mart?

    • detroitteacher said, on March 7, 2010 at 8:46 PM

      While these classes are described as electives, they lessons were introduced during English class, replacing the standard 11th grade curriculum.
      See for details.

    • weilunion said, on April 11, 2010 at 3:35 PM

      Take a look at their history of locking unimmigrated workers inside their stores, take a look at their not paying over 30,000,000 dollars in overtime for workers, look at their global track record of sending your jobs overseas for 1.30 cents an hour so they can pay fedualistic wages, take a look at ytheir union breaking. And when you’ve seen that, take a look at their unabashedly prof-repulbican and pro ‘free market’ welfare from food stamps and all the other amenities, from evmergency room care to food that we must subsidize for they do not pay a just or decent wage.

      Welcome kids! This one is better than McDonalds. You don’t get to sit on the porcelain lap of the ruddy clown, but you do get to crawl up the bowles of no future jobs and no future period.

      Welcome, Walsdmart!

      Danny Weil

  5. Tesh said, on March 4, 2010 at 3:23 PM

    I have never heard such a thing being legal! Hell, even welfare to work programs had stipends for participants for meals and bus fare at a minimum. I have a sneaky suspicion that even after 11 weeks of participation, you still may not end up with a paid position. So, since they can’t openly hire illegals anymore, they want to exploit those students who have made education a priority but happen to be poor!

    Will they pay back wages to students who worked as part of this program and were not offered a position? Or is it possible that they will hire so many others that hours will be so scarce that it won’t be a viable job to begin with.

    A part time job is a great thing to have. But the point of work is to prosper and to benefit from you labor personally. If you don’t benefit personally, then you will not be willing to work! There should not be the benefit of free labor for corporations! They will never truly hire enough participants to make this worth while for those students, the city or the country. Imagine if your boss said come to my class/worksite sessions for the better part of 3 months to learn this job you might get! How many of you would sign up! And if you do get a job after that it will be minimum wage.

    Interns at entertainment company at least have the benefit of a credible experience on their resume for a field they wish to break into! You don’t need that length of training for a retail job. Your current educational skills should suffice! If they don’t then that is another issue all together.

  6. detroitteacher said, on February 27, 2010 at 10:40 PM

    I finally received a partial answer today to my question about wages for the program. Students will not be paid for the 11-week training. I’m still waiting to hear if they will be paid for work at their placement after the training, and if so at what rate.

    • detroitteacher said, on February 28, 2010 at 12:09 PM

      According to John Cromer, students will be paid when placed after the 11-week training, and the rate depends on the employeer.

  7. Grad Student said, on February 26, 2010 at 5:19 PM


    I’m working on a Master’s thesis concerning neoliberalism and the corporatization of Detroit Public Schools. If anyone has information on the Walmart class including documents such as: class handouts, curriculum guides, etc. I would love to get these scanned documents. Also, any information regarding personal experiences is welcomed.

    Thank you

    • weilunion said, on February 28, 2010 at 6:33 AM

      Yes, I too wish to get my hands on them and if you do or anyone else reading, will you please e-mail me and let me know? You can reach me at It is very important that we get them so that we can share with other teachers throughout the nation that are getting hit or going to be with similar internship frauds. Finding out who actually conceived of and got paid to put together any curriculum materials would be interesting to see as welsl for they must be canned and it is important to track where the public funds are going.

      Thank you.

      Danny Weil

  8. […] Students Speak Out Against Walmart Work Program  […]

  9. Danny Weil said, on February 15, 2010 at 2:30 PM

    I am sure Detroit teaches and working families are more astute than myself regarding this matter, but wht is needed is a full court press with corporate media. This needs to go both local and national in terms of press coverage and phrased just as these students have done: A Walmart Charter school is in the works. Teachers will be associates and students products to be sold or hung on clothing racks.

    Contact every press throughout the nation if possible the big ones, and let them know that our students will not be trained as Greeters for Wal-Mart but educated as human beings.

    This is probably the most reprehensible move by the same philanthro-capitalists that say they want to turn around schools, The Walton Family Fund.

    That Bobb is shoe horning the whole insidious process must be mobilized against and these students are the leaders for both this battle and those to come. Their real education is beginning in the struggle against corporate servitude and serfdom.

    Full court press is what is needed for even those outside of Detroit would be disgusted to see how these parasitic corporations are looking at our students as hosts.

    You can read more about Bobb’s serial crimes at

    In struggle

    Danny Weil

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