Friday, September 6, 2019

Schools Matter: Walmart Shoppers Help Fund Public School Privatization

Schools Matter: Walmart Shoppers Help Fund Public School Privatization

Walmart Shoppers Help Fund Public School Privatization

From the Arkansas Education Association:

Inside the web of Arkansas’s School Privatization Empire 

A free quality public education for every child is a foundational principle of American society and a right guaranteed by Arkansas’s Constitution. Everyone in this state, regardless of religion, race, income, disability or any other characteristic deserves an equal opportunity to learn and succeed.  
Unfortunately, a vast network of corporate interests and wealthy individuals are chipping away at this bedrock of our democracy in an effort to turn public education into a marketplace where private interests can profit off of our students.  
Across the nation, states have implemented and expanded charter schools that are unaccountable to the public and voucher programs that have siphoned off public taxpayer money to pay for private school tuition. 
This powerful and well-funded effort is nationwide, but one of the biggest contributors is based right here in our state, and each year the network of privatizers working in Arkansas is growing. 

This network uses pass through organizations to fund a swarm of lobbyists and spend dark money on political candidates in our state and across the country. They initiated the recent attack on the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System, and have even co-opted our state’s flagship University to provide cover for the work of partisan think tank alumni who misuse statistics in support of a privatization agenda. They have close ties to members of the Arkansas State Board of Education, and their influence is part of the reason Arkansas’s latest legislative sessions have focused more on privatization schemes like vouchers and charter school expansion rather than the investments we know will actually improve outcomes for Arkansas’s 486,000 public school students.  
This article is a look at just some of the connections in our state. It is important to note that this report is not exhaustive. The web of dark money and organizations working in Arkansas and across the country to plunder public school resources is vast and difficult to track.   
The Walton Family Foundation (WFF) and many of its grantees are the major school privatization players in Arkansas and even CONTINUE READING: Schools Matter: Walmart Shoppers Help Fund Public School Privatization