Get Up, Stand Up: Boycott FedEx for their Hypocrisy and Support of TFA
Today a reader gave me the heads up that FedEx wants to make a $300,000 commitment to Teach For America (TFA). (See http://blog.van.fedex.com/countlesspossibilities) They will donate a dollar of every One Rate transaction (Their attempt to compete with the US postal service Priority Mail). I have written extensively about TFA’s temporary agency approach for poor kids. See my editorial in the New York Times entitled A Glorified Temp Agency. (For all of Cloaking Inequity’s posts on TFA click here) Also, in January 2014, NEPC will release the new policy brief entitled Teach For America: A Return to the Evidence, the sequel to Teach For America: A review of the evidence
I was wondering, who does FedEx hire to do their Technology, Human Resources, Communications and Solutions work? Core functions of teachers and important roles in the FedEx corporation. Do you think they hire individuals with a college degree and only five weeks of training? Or do you think they search for experienced individuals for their company? I did a little research in the careers section of the FedEx website for jobs that required at least a Bachelor’s degree and here is what I found:
Table 1. FedEx open positions as of 12/14/2013
|20282||WW Account Manager||TX-Houston||5|
|20283||WW Account Manager||AZ-Phoenix||5|
|20167||WW Account Manager||CA-Los Angeles||5|
|20168||WW Account Manager||MI-Detroit||5|
|20171||WW Account Manager||OH-Cleveland||5|
|Average Years of Experience for Solutions||4.7|
|20062||Engineering Specialist Advisor||OH-Akron||0|
|20321||Associate Programmer Analyst||PA-Coraopolis||2|
|20294||Associate Technical Analyst||PA-Coraopolis||2|
|Average Years of Experience for Technology||3.2|
|Average Years of Experience for Communications/Marketing||5|
|51143||Organization Development Specialist||OH-Uniontown||7|
|200012BR||HR Representative/Sr HR Representative||WI-New Berlin||0|
|Average Years of Experience for Human Resources||3.5|
So it turns out that FedEx requires between 3.2 and 5 years of experience for these select core functions (Technology, Human Resources, Communications and Solutions) in their current job openings. That does not include any training that these employees will have to go through (i.e. the ninety days of training for a marketing position— see email below). Their support of TFA is hypocritical because they are financially contributing to an organization that provides only five weeks of summer training to teachers before they enter some of the most challenging schools in our nation. (Recent research has even discovered that TFA only provides 90 minutes of instruction during the summer training program to teach English Language Learner students despite their status as a special population)
In the post Who Can We Boycott?: Who Benefits From or Invests in Pearson and Teach for America? Dr. Michelle Maher discussed businesses that education reformers can boycott to express their political free speech. So what can we do to express our political free speech to FedEx? For starters, you can boycott FedEx and their new One Rate service that directly benefits TFA. I received this email from a Cloaking Inequity reader today:
I threw a FedEx person out of my office yesterday. It was my marketing rep and I was polite. She was trying to sell me on FedEx new service designed to compete with USPS Priority Mail. As soon as she told me about the FedEx promotion, I (politely) told her “well now we have a problem because I don’t like TFA and I don’t do business with any company that supports them. Go back and tell your boss TFA just cost you an account. (If I ship 100 FedEx pieces a year its a lot, but I ship about 25 Priority Mail packages a week and they are trying to get that business.)
She promised to have her region director call me on Monday. She was also blown away when I told her about TFA. It takes ninety days to train for her own job. It registered right away that you can’t become a highly qualified teacher with only five weeks training. She was clearly shocked.
We all have opportunities to use FedEx and should stop in protest of their financial support to TFA and KIPP.
Among things we can do are (in order of priority) send out tweets including the @FedEx handle and encourage users to cancel their FedEx account. When ordering anything with expedited shipping, ask the shipper to use UPS or USPS. Encourage clients, vendors, employers to cancel FedEx account and let FedEx know its because we are FedUp and we are not going to take it anymore. Post records of anyone supporting the effort and send the message if you hurt public education we will hurt you back.
You can also blast FedEx their twitter feed every so often with TFA research that you found on Cloaking Inequity 🙂 instead of using their hashtag #countlesspossibilities replace it with #TFAtemps
You could also email their top management:
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Executive Vice President, Market Development and Corporate Communications
Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer
Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary
Co-Chief Executive Officer and Chief Information Officer, FedEx Corporate Services
Finally, you could also boycott the FedEx Orange Bowl. I planned on doing that anyways because Ohio State is participating. Go Blue!
p.s. Feel free to post the names of any businesses that use FedEx in the comments to make readers aware.
YOU CAN HELP: Do you have documents or information about TFA? Send to firstname.lastname@example.org
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I am a sales intern for FedEx services. I will be graduating in May. I am considering joining TFA and have been even before my internship with FedEx, so this article is so relative to me it’s uncanny.
First of all, if I were to take the offer as a Business Sales Field Account Executive I have been given from FedEx it will be right out of college and I will only get two weeks of training at their headquarters in Memphis. Basically the same requirements as TFA with an even shorter training period.
Second of all, don’t you think maybe FedEx just wants to help and give back? TFA is a great organization and opportunity to better the lives of others. If you are a TFA trainee, it’s your own duty to do your research and benefit to the best of your ability the limited amount of training they give so that you can directly benefit students lives. TFA is stepping in to places where other educators are stepping out. Maybe they need to re evaluate the duration of their trainings and the efficiency of them and go into further detail to potential TFA teachers the exact guidelines (such as knowledge of class room management and timely lecture planning–which seems to be a common theme in all the “TFA Horror Story” articles I’ve been reading).
But, saying things like “let’s boycott FedEx” that’s just stupid. Instead, take a great organization like TFA and let’s work out the kinks to help it prosper. Which is exactly what FedEx is doing–donating money to an organization that yields prosperous opportunities.
Thank you for your comment. Check out voices from Teach For America in our Truth For America podcast on iTunes, YouTube and Google Play. https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/truth-for-america/id1086793972?mt=2
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Well done. AT&T and Verizon/Vondaphone next? 😉
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I think that TFA is a great idea. What you are criticizing is an effort to tap into a wealth of talent – engineers, doctors, History PHd”s etc. that have not been accredited to teach.
They get a jumps start in some of the “educator processes” and are assigned a mentor (a fact that the writer neglected to mention). Are they trained educators at the conclusion of their orientation but they have other skills and experienced to bring to the party and may or may not succeed. They are not necessarily assigned to high risk schools but do go wherever the need arises.
What on earth problem does the writer have with a person moving into education (probably at significantly less pay) because they feel that they can help?
Read here for a multitude of issues. Thanks for reading.
Great post Steve! although this will probably be deleted by Prof. Cranky Pants in the morning. Dr. Vasquez Helig would much rather complain about people trying to fix our education system than do something about it himself. The reality is that he is on the wrong side of the research and on the wrong side of education reform. The status quo is no longer acceptable and people like him are doing a disservice to the very people he claims to be fighting for.
Prof. Cranky Pants!!!?? That is hilarious. You get bonus points for that ad hominem! Regarding your anti-“reformer” moniker, well….https://cloakinginequity.com/2013/03/17/from-the-mailbag-you-sir-are-no-reformer/
“Hoodwinked’ equals TFA … To Steve and Robert
TFA has gone Global with its advertising. “Good” causes! I saw an advertisement this weekend for the newest line of Subaru automobiles and their “share the love” campaign.
Their campaign allows the purchaser to “give money back” to a favorite charity this holiday season with a purchase. Would you believe this from a car salesman or would you be “Hoodwinked.”
On the back of a Subaru Outback (in the advertisement) were bumper stickers. TFA’s bumper sticker was a prominent one, thus showing they are a “charity” you can donate to through your purchase. Libertarian economic policy and politicians and privatization and deregulation as discussed above with Winton M. Blount and FedEx v. USPS and Free Enterprise Institute, and Dick Cheney all connected. Think!
In addition to other philanthropies, in politics, Winton M. Blount ran for Governor of Alabama in the 90s as a Republican by strongly advocating for education vouchers. And, in that context, you might think of -Mr. Anti- MLK and Mandela- that is, Vice president Dick Cheney. He demonstrated the ultimate in privatization in Iraq through Halliburton subsidiaries. Remember, they built schools and prisons there using our taxpayer dollars. Now, his daughter Liz is running for the Senate and the privatization politics go on.
Just think, if you buy a new Subaru, you could “donate to TFA” and then you might drive to Montgomery Alabama and celebrate by going to the Winton M. Blount Cultural Park. It was dedicated by Winton Blount’s colleague on the American Enterprise institute, Vice President Richard Chaney.
While in Montgomery you can learn about Civil Rights and MLK, or if that doesn’t meet your fancy, you maybe go the first White House of the Confederacy. Just think a celebration of Civil Rights, the Confederacy, and “privatization” and “deregulation” all in the same place. Then you can drive over to the FedEx offices on
Winton M. Blunt Avenue and send off mementos to your friends.
Suggested reading: “Hoodwinked: An Economic Hit Man Reveals Why the Global Economy IMPLODED – and how to fix it!”
It’s a reminder of how much we need each other to fight back!! It’s time to use anything but fed ex. Thanks for initiating this.
we need a campaign to stop using Fed Ex.
FedEX’s Corporate History and the affinity for TFA:
Corporations have histories that determine their policies and political leanings. The economic/historic DNA of FedEx; i.e., -libertarian economic policy- as found in Milton Friedman’s 1962 book “Capitalism and Freedom” advocates for policies of privatization and deregulation. FedEx, perhaps, more than any corporation in America is the beneficiary of those policies. Friedman also advocated for education vouchers in his book and I believe the ideas of “privatization” as it has evolved with TFA come from those leanings. The idea of TFA also comes from the Johnson era “War on Poverty” and it’s “National Teacher Corps” program that was politically dismantled in 1981. TFA was later re-created as a “privatized” idea supported by President George W. Bush and many others. T. Terrar and I were members of the National Teacher Corps in Alabama during the 1960s.
With respect to FedEx, it should not be a surprise that an endowment is named after Winton M. Blount at Rhodes College that was given to the college by the Senior Vice President of the Federal Express Corporation. It should not be a surprise to learn, that if you are in need of FedEx services in Montgomery, AL you must drive on Winton Blount Blvd, to get to the FedEx office. Who was Winton M. Blount, you ask?
Winton M. Blount was the last Post Master General in the U.S. to serve in a cabinet post under the President of the United States. The U.S. Postmaster General is the chief executive officer of the United States Postal Service and in one form or another, is older than both the United States Constitution and the United States Declaration of Independence.
As President Richard M. Nixon’s postmaster general, Mr. Blount (pronounced blunt) was the architect of a sweeping reorganization of the Post Office Department, calling for removal of the postmaster general from the cabinet and the creation of a self-supporting postal corporation owned by the federal government. He was also an active philanthropist who played an important role in Alabama Republican politics for about 50 years. A few months after the reorganization of the USPS, he resigned and returned to Alabama to run for the Senate, a campaign in which George W. Bush worked as an aide. Mr. Blount was defeated by the incumbent, John J. Sparkman, a veteran Democrat, and one of the last ‘white” democrats in Alabama before it became a “Red State.”
Blount’s personal history is tied to Civil Rights in Alabama too. In June 1963, when Gov. George Wallace tried to block the enrollment of two black students, Vivian Malone and James Hood, by standing in a doorway of the University of Alabama, Mr. Blount, a longtime trustee at the university, said he called Robert F. Kennedy, the attorney general, at his home to try to find a peaceful resolution to the crisis. Mr. Blount, in his autobiography, said Mr. Kennedy proposed letting the governor read his speech, in which he contended the federal government had overstepped its powers, if Mr. Wallace would then step aside. Mr. Wallace’s staged anti-integration protest played out before millions of Americans on televisions across the country.
Sources with information about and related to this history:
Terrar, T. (2009) The National Teacher Corps and Resistance to Professional Education in the 1960s., Race, Gender and Class. Southern University at New Orleans, Louisiana. Vol. 16, nos. 3-4 (2009), pp. 218-247.
Thornburg, M. J. (1986). Education vouchers: The issue of family choice in American education. A master’s thesis. The University of New Orleans, College of Urban and Regional Studies.
Thornburg, M. J. (2013) Searching for Social Justice: An Examination of the Views of Alternative School Educators in the San Joaquin Valley of California. International Handbook of Educational Leadership and Social (In)Justice Springer International Handbooks of Education Volume 29, 2014, pp 729-749
Thornburg, M.J. and Terrar, T. (November 2, 2013) History of Education Society paper: Title: “Professor Robert Brown. Social Justice, Voting Rights, Inspiration and Legacy: A history of educational leadership – Missed, Hidden and Denied.”