In effect, Walton has subsidized an entire charter school system in the nation’s capital, helping to fuel enrollment growth so that close to half of all public school students in the city now attend charters, which receive taxpayer dollars but are privately operated.
|Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton gave $1.7 million to a Washington D.C. charter schools initiative alongside fellow billionaires Bill Gates, Paul Allen and Steve Ballmer.|
Walton’s investments here are a microcosm of its spending across the country. The foundation has awarded more than $1 billion in grants nationally to educational efforts since 2000, making it one of the largest private contributors to education in the country. It is one of a handful of foundations with strong interests in education, including those belonging to Bill and Melinda Gates of Microsoft; Eli Broad, a Los Angeles insurance billionaire; and Susan and Michael Dell, who made their money in computers. The groups have many overlapping interests, but analysts often describe Walton as following a distinct ideological path.According to Rich, they are also the money behind many of the right-wing think tanks like the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, as well as ALEC.
AND...Walton money also played a role in a recent attacks on N.Y. Mayor Bill de Blasio after he resisted the charter operator's rent-free incursions into public school buildings.