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Max Brantley, a fearless blogger in Arkansas (and former editor of the Arkansas Times), wrote an analysis of the Arkansas State Board of Education’s decision to takeover the Little Rock School Board. “The Billionaires Boys Club and its allies at the chamber of commerce won a hard-won and well-orchestrated battle,” he wrote.
Look who is on the state board:
The votes for takeover included Diane Zook, wife of Randy Zook, head of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and aunt of Gary Newton, who heads several organizations financed by the Walton Family Foundation and advocates establishment of charter schools. Others included Vicki Saviers of Little Rock, who’s served on the board of the pro-charter-school Arkansans for Education Reform, a lobby financed by the Waltons and other wealthy Arkansans. She also helped found the eStem charter school in Little Rock, another beneficiary of Walton money. Another takeover vote was Kim Davis of Fayetteville, director of external relations for the Northwest Arkansas Council, a private development group whose key backers are the Walton Family Foundation, Sam’s Club and Tyson Foods. The other vote for takeover, besides Ledbetter, was Toyce Newton of Crossett, who heads Phoenix Youth and Family Services. She has served on the Board of the Rockefeller Foundation, which has been partnering with the Walton Family Foundation on an education improvement project. Saviers is on the Rockefeller Foundation board as well. The Rockefeller Foundation is a financial contributor to Newton’s nonprofit.
You know what will happen next, right? You remember that Carrie Walton Penner told Forbes that her vision for “fixing” education in America was charter schools, vouchers, and a free market in schooling.