Mercedes Schneider, a public school advocate and blogger in Louisiana, decided to do a 50-state check on billionaire Alice Walton’s spending on education politics. A 50-state check turned up more than $17 million in spending on her voucher/charter/public school dollar control agenda. Some $6 million has gone into the election for leader of schools in California.
It is the tip of an iceberg of cash.
This particular check didn’t include other Waltons, who also contribute millions to the movement to end public education as we know it. It also turned up no spending in Arkansas by Alice Walton.
But — and Schneider knows this — the Walton money isn’t always checkable off the top of required political filings. In Arkansas alone, Walton money powers individual politicians and organizations devoted to their agenda, such as Arkansas Learns (the lobby working to charterize the Little Rock School District) and the Arkansas Public School Resource Center, a recently recipient in millions of federal tax dollars from Betsy DeVos, as if the charter school advocate needed a tax subsidy.
In short, $17 million is Walton pocket change. She could spend that amount 5,000 times over and not run out of inherited wealth.