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Not only does the Walton family fund the charter school movement - they invested in school mgt.

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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-19-09 06:47 AM
Original message
Not only does the Walton family fund the charter school movement - they invested in school mgt.
Edited on Thu Mar-19-09 06:52 AM by Hannah Bell
Schools for Profit

According to its 2003 IRS tax filing, the Walton Family Foundation (WFF) was the 63rd largest foundation in terms of assets ($733 plus million) and 25th largest in terms of giving ($107 million).

The WFF also concentrates on funding charter school initiatives, Educational Options Scholarship Initiatives, school improvement, and Arkansas education. Before his death, John Walton was "one of the nation's leading private individual funders of charter schools and voucher initiatives."

John Walton owned 240,000 shares of Tesseract Group Inc. (formerly known as Education Alternatives Inc.), which is a for profit company that develops/manages charter and private school as well as public schools."

The WFF provides more than $1 million to each of the following so-called school reform/choice groups: the American Education Reform Council, the Center for Education Reform, Children's Scholarship Fund, Colorado League of Charter Schools, and the Florida School Choice Fund. The Children's Educational Opportunity Foundation of America (also known as Children's First America) received $10.3 million in 2003 and $8.3 million in 2002.

The WFF has also supported the Washington, DC-based Black Alliance for Education Options (BAEO), an African Americanheaded group that "works to advertise and market the school voucher movement to African-American families" ( ). In October 2002 BAEO received a $600,000 grant from the Bush administration. "We want to change the conversation about parental choice by positively influencing individuals who are resisting parental choice options and get them to reconsider their outlook," Undersecretary of Education Gene Hickok said when he announced the grant. The Black Commentator characterized the BAEO as "the school vouchers propaganda outfit created by the far-right Bradley Foundation."

In addition to its support for the "school reform" movement, the WFF "funds pro-voucher think tanks like the Goldwater Institute and the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research." In a short piece, titled "John Walton and the Walton Family Foundation," People for the American Way point out, "On the legislative front, John Walton personally contributed $2 million to the failed 2000 Michigan voucher initiative as well as $250,000 to California's Prop 174 in 1993, another unsuccessful voucher initiative. Walton also bankrolled the California effort through his American Education Reform Foundation, as well as an unsuccessful 1997 voucher campaign in Minnesota."

Certainly, Walton is putting his money where his mouth is. Last April, he ponied up $50 million to help Theodore J. Forstmann kick off the national Children's Scholarship Fund. Modeled on other private voucher efforts that Walton and Forstmann have backed, the fund drew 1.25 million applications from families around the country for 40,000 four-year scholarships that allow poor children to attend private elementary schools.

Critics call the private scholarships a stalking horse for publicly funded vouchers. And Walton concedes as much, insisting that private vouchers will never go far enough. Only with publicly funded ones will ''we secure the future of charter schools and all the other reforms,'' says Walton. At his urging in 1994, the Walton Family Foundation gave $2 million to expand CEO America, a group that supports private scholarship programs around the country and lobbies for public vouchers.

BACKING OFF. While Walton doesn't agree with his critics, they have prompted him to back away from one investment. In 1997, Walton stepped down from the board of Tesseract Group Inc., a struggling for-profit, and sold his 3% stake at a $1 million loss after critics accused him of pushing vouchers to potentially funnel public money to his for-profit investments. He now says he won't be involved in such for-profit ventures so that others won't confuse his motives.

That stance could soon force Walton to leave his nonprofit School Futures Research Foundation, which operates 10 charter schools. The San Diego-based group, backed by nearly $10 million in Walton money since 1994, is planning at least 14 new charter schools by 2001....

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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-19-09 06:53 AM
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1. We had one of their charters in our district
They were pitiful managers and didn't know the first thing about training teachers or running a school. And they spent money like it was growing on trees.

One of my friends who worked there calls the Waltons the Blackwater of education.
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-19-09 07:01 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. Perhaps "Waltons the Backwater of education" would be more appropriate. n/t
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WCGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-19-09 06:58 AM
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2. Great, isn't it in the Walton families best interest to dumb down the
masses so they can learn/work/shop/live/die at Walmart...

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fasttense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-19-09 07:05 AM
Response to Original message
4. They are trying to ensure they have enough workers in their stores.
If they destroy public education and have a bunch of idiots in America, then they will have plenty of people who have no choice but to throw boxes, stock shelves and run cash registers as careers. It's a win-win situation for them.

Just look at how Alabama has stagnated in educational attainment since the Waltons have been funding the voucher program (at least since 2003 probably longer). They are currently ranked 45th out of 50 in smartness.

The Waltons, turning the entire country's education system into Alabama.
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zeemike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-19-09 07:21 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. There is also another benefit to private schools
They can teach history any way they want and can re-write to suit themselves.
Thus our children can grow up to learn that Reagan was a saint and we fought the wars for freedom not oil.
And that greed is good and Ayn Rand was a profit
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