Skip to content

Billionaire Boys Club Money…where it goes…

July 1, 2011

Valerie Strauss over at the Washington Post has a good piece for those of us who are interested in where the money from the Billionaire Boys Club is going in education today.  You may remember that Diane Ravitch had coined the term in her book: “The Death and Life of the Great American School System.”  This article specifically focuses on the Walton Foundation which in 2010 spent 157 million dollars on educational activities.  I have always wondered where that money went.  If you take the link you will see how they spent it, it is a long list.

What you will find when you view the list is that there are a long list of Charter School and Pro-Voucher measures that are being underwritten by the Walton Foundation.  Remember, this is just one leg of a triumvirate of big money, deep-pocketed interests which also includes the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as well as the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, who are all out to “reform” the public education system with literally no input from the teachers who understand the system best.

The city that won the most education grant money from the Walton Family Foundation in 2010 was Washington D.C., according to new figures that showed how $157 million was distributed.

The foundation is one of the three big family education philanthropies — the other two being the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation,— and the one that gives the most money to initiatives involving the school choice movement such as vouchers and charter schools.

The three are leaders of what education historian Diane Ravitch termed “the billionaire boy’s club” (in her best-selling book The Death and Life of the Great American School System ) because they are run by the super-wealthy who promote the privatization of public education and high-stakes standardized testing as the school reform solutions.

The money these foundations pour into public education has an important effect on the shape of education reform, which some critics say is undemocratic because the priorities are selected by wealthy businessmen who want to support their own pet projects. Another big issue in the movement toward privatizing public education is whether it is a good idea to make public schools dependent on the good will — and business fortunes — of private entities.

The foundation focuses on seven cities: Albany, Denver, East and South Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Newark and Washington, D.C. Of those, the District received the most cash from the foundation in 2010, $17 million, part of it to help fund a controversial new teacher evaluation system implemented by former D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, who quit after 3 1/2 years last October. She won millions from the Walton and other foundations to help fund the evaluation system, IMPACT, which involves paying teachers extra for raising student standardized test scores (an assessment model that experts warn against).

Below is a breakdown on how the foundation spent money on education-related initiatives in 2010, and, after that, a list of all 2010 grantees. The breadth of grantees helps show the foundation’s reach and impact.


From → Archives

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: