Monday, October 22, 2012

The billionaire boys (and girl) club for charter schools

Posted By on Mon, Oct 22, 2012 at 9:23 AM

CHARTER BACKER: Brother Jim Walton has been most identified with charter school backing in Arkansas. Alice Walton has spent heavily in Washington.
  • CHARTER BACKER: Brother Jim Walton has been most identified with charter school backing in Arkansas. Alice Walton has spent heavily in Washington.
The charter school movement in Arkansas and everywhere has been accurately characterized as the Billionaire Boys Club. In Arkansas, Walton, Murphy, Stephens and Hussman money is the motive power of legislation to bust what few unions remain in Arkansas classrooms and promote charter schools (backers need not be proven) and other forms of "choice," with vouchers the ultimate game.

But it probably should says Boys and Girls Club, too.

Here's a sharp illustration from Washington state, where an intitiative would allow expansion of charter schools. I have to laugh at the backers' claim of "stric accountability." That was promised in Arkansas, too. It has been somewhat more true in recent years, much to the unhappiness of the billionaires, who probably have ideas about ridding the state Education Department and its board of those who have insisted on accountability.

In any case, in Washington, 91 percent of the $8.9 million raised to promote the charter initiative came from just 10 people. (You have a spare $800,000, don't you?)

Although wealthy donors pour millions into Washington state ballot measures each election season, what's unusual about the charter school campaign is that it depends almost entirely on big-money contributions from donors with no obvious financial interest in the outcome. Bill Gates contributed $3 million, one-third of the overall campaign donations. Millions more came from Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton, Seattle venture capitalist Nick Hanauer, and Mike and Jackie Bezos, the parents of Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos.

Tags: , ,

Favorite

Speaking of Charter Schools, Alice Walton

Comments (10)

Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Arkansas Supreme Court denies rehearing in death penalty challenge, but delays mandate

    The Arkansas Supreme Court today refused to rehear the case denying Death Row inmates information about drugs used by the state in the lethal injection process.
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • Welspun layoffs: Another example of corporate welfare folly

    Layoffs at the Welspun pipe plant in Little Rock are a reminder of the folly of corporate welfare and the inability of Arkansas to separate itself from global economic forces. See the Fayetteville shale. And keep a watchful eye on that Sun Paper pulp mill proposed near Arkadelphia.
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • Hamburg bank manager gets 21 months for theft

    Melinda Gwin, 49, of Hamburg has been sentenced to 21 months in federal prison and ordered to repay $210,875 stolen from the First National Bank of Crossett. She was sentenced in El Dorado federal court, according to a Justice Department news release.
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Homicide victim identified as TC Edwards, local musician

    Little Rock police are still withholding identification of a man found shot to death early Sunday on Howard Street, but multiple reports on social media are tying the death to that of a well-known figure on the local music scene, TC Edwards. The suspect in a criminal case brought over crimes against Edwards will likely be reviewed for potential involvement in his death.
    • Dec 8, 2014
  • Who's dysfunctional on the Little Rock School Board?

    Little Rock School Board member Jim Ross has sent me a copy of the letter sent by six of the seven members of the board to the state Board of Education Committee deciding what to do about the district, which has six schools judged in academic distress.
    • Jan 6, 2015
  • Maggio fallout figures in major political issues

    The Maggio bribery case has many political implications — from tort reform to campaign finance — and gives Republican-leaning judges a black eye, too.
    • Jan 9, 2015

Most Shared

  • Tackling autism, child by child

    An Arkansas Children's Hospital doctor is testing a new drug that targets one of a host of ailments the highly individual disorder can cause.
  • 1957 all over again

    Last week, the State Board of Education voted to ignore federal courts and allow school district transfers that will encourage segregation.
  • Death penalty lives

    Barely clinging to its flagging life, the death penalty got a merciful reprieve last month from the unlikeliest quarter, the Arkansas Supreme Court.
  • Drinking culture

    Here we go again. At the rate these campus sexual abuse sagas are making news, it's reasonable to ask what college administrators can possibly be thinking about.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation