Arkansas is not the only state where Walton money
is at work to take political control of education
Mercedes Schneider's Edublog in Louisiana reports
that Jim and Alice Walton
(shown in photo at annual Walmart meeting) have put their inherited money to work in the campaign to "reform" control of the elected Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Along with billionaire Eli Broad,
who shares the Walton views on education (rip up conventional school districts, kill unions, charterize, voucherize, privatize), the billionaires have put $650,000 ($200,000 from each Walton) into a PAC of a Baton Rouge businessman aiming to elect the sort of people the Waltons would like in control.
The total on the above report is $763,710, which means that as of September 14, 2015, money from two billionaires from Arkansas and one billionaire from California constitutes the principal funding for Grigsby’s efforts to preserve a BESE majority known for supporting charters and vouchers without equally supporting adequate oversight; supporting high-stakes testing without supporting timely, clear, comprehensive reporting of testing results, and for allying with a state superintendent known for hiding and manipulating data, refusing to honor public records requests, and refusing to consistently audit the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE).
Maybe the Waltons could loan Gary Newton to Louisiana for a while to do some grassroots work.
In Arkansas, you can control education by controlling the governor, who appoints the members of the state Board of Education and effectively decides the education commissioner, now Johnny Key, who carried Walton school legislation when he was in the state Senate.