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Who is the Walton Family Foundation Funding?

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It is very instructive to scan the long list of organizations that are funded by the Walton Family Foundation. Some will surprise you. Some will not. Here is what we know about this foundation. The Walton Family (beneficiaries of Walmart) is the richest family in America. There are many billionaires in the family. Like Betsy DeVos, they don’t like public education. They don’t like regulation. They love the free market. They don’t like unions. Individual family members have spent millions on political campaigns to support charters and vouchers. The Foundation also supports charters and school choice.

In 2015, the Walton Family Foundation spent $179 million on K-12 education grants. They are in the midst of a pledge to spend $1 billion to open more charters, and they have targeted certain cities for their beneficence (Atlanta, Boston, Camden, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Memphis, New Orleans, New York, Oakland, San Antonio and Washington, D.C.) Their goal is to undermine public education by creating a competitive marketplace of choices. They and DeVos are on the same page.

I suggest you scan the list to see which organizations have their hand out for funding from one of the nation’s most anti-public school, anti-union, rightwing foundations.

Here are a few of their grantees:

Black Alliance for Education Options (BAEO), run by Howard Fuller to spread the gospel of school choice: $2.78 million

Brookings Institution (no doubt, to buy the annual report that grades cities on school choice): $242,000

California Charter Schools Association: $5 million

Center for American Progress (theoretically a “centrist Democratic” think tank): $500,000

Charter Fund, Inc. (never heard of this one): $14 million

Chiefs for Change (Jeb Bush’s group): $500,000

College Board (to push Common Core?): $225,000

Colorado League of Charter Schools: $1,050,000

Editorial Projects in Education (Education Week): $70,000

Education Reform Now: $4.2 million

Education Trust, Inc. (supposed a “left-leaning advocacy group”): $359,000

Education Writers Association: $175,000

Educators for Excellence (anti-union teachers, usually from TFA): $925,000

Families for Excellent Schools (hedge fund managers who lobby for charter schools in New York City and Massachusetts): $6.4 million

Foundation for Excellence in Education (Jeb Bush’s organization): $3 million

High Tech High Graduate School of Education (this one stumped me; how can a high school run a graduate school of education?): $780,000

KIPP Foundation: $6.9 million

Leadership for Education Equity Foundation (this is TFA’s political organization that trains TFA to run for office): $5 million

Massachusetts Charter Public School Association (this funding preceded the referendum where the citizens of Massachusetts voted “no mas” to new charters): $850,000

National Public Radio: $1.1 million

National Urban League: $300,000

Pahara Institute: $832,000

Parent Revolution: $500,000

Relay Graduate School of Education (that pseudo-grad school with no professors, just charter teachers): $1 million

Schools That Can Milwaukee (Tough luck, the Working Families Party just swept the school board): $1.6 million

StudentsFirst Institute: $2.8 million

Teach for America (to supply scabs): $8 million

The New York Times: $350,000

Thomas B. Fordham Institute: $700,000

Urban Institute (supposedly an independent think tank in D.C.): $350,000

To be fair, in another part of the grants report, called Special Projects, the Walton Family Foundation donated $112,404 to the Bentonville Public Schools and $25,000 to the Bentonville Public Schools Foundation, in the town where the Waltons are located. Compare that to the $179 million for charters and choice, and you get the picture of what matters most.

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