"Dedicated to the premise that no matter what 'experts' say, trends in Education really are fleeting; and that the ONLY goal of all school employees should be to work with parents to help their students become better people in June than they were in September."
Editor’s Note: If you’re a Walmart greeter — or know someone who is — and would like to share your story with NPR, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you ask John Combs what his biggest worry is, he’ll say: “How will I feed Red?”
Red is actually white. He’s a labradoodle rescue, just tall enough for Combs to pet if he reaches over the armrest of his wheelchair. Combs, 42, has cerebral palsy. He has difficulty speaking. But he has no difficulty saying the line most Americans have heard at least once: “Welcome to Walmart!”
Combs has one of Walmart’s trademark front-door jobs: He’s a “people greeter” at a store in Vancouver, Wash. But, he was told, come April 25 his job is going away. And he is not alone. According to Walmart, greeters are being removed at about 1,000 stores around the country.
It’s when May dissolves into summer that America still manages to celebrate education, with rigorous pomp and melodic circumstance, with its ready panoply of commencement speakers, because despite our roiling culture, achievement in learning is still widely considered a noble pursuit.
I’m convinced of this just by the glow on the face of Don Schwall, who just took his bachelor of business education degree from the University of Oklahoma only 63 years after he’d begun his studies, and yeah, that’s a story.
Melanie Keener stands outside the Storey County Courthouse in Virginia City, Nev., where she now works in a largely undefined security job. After filing a sexual harassment complaint against Sheriff Gerald Antinoro, Keener was removed from her position as the sheriff’s chief deputy.
Maggie Starbard for NPR
Maggie Starbard for NPR
She accused her boss, the sheriff, of harassment. She got demoted. And even though it was one of many allegations against him, he’s still in office.
Gerald Antinoro leads law enforcement in Storey County, Nev., despite accusations of harassment, using racial slurs, misusing government resources, even rape. He denies all of it and has never been prosecuted, but an internal investigation found he did harass then-Chief Deputy Melanie Keener. But only Antinoro still has his job.
"That all citizens will be given an equal start through a sound education is one of the most basic, promised rights of our democracy. Our chronic refusal as a nation to guarantee that right for all children.... is rooted in a kind of moral blindness, or at least a failure of moral imagination.... It is a failure which threatens our future as a nation of citizens called to a common purpose... tied to one another by a common bond." —Senator Paul Wellstone --- March 31, 2000