ARKANSAS MONEY AT WORK: In Louisiana school board elections. (Headline from deutsch29, Meredith Schneider’s education blog.)

With billions at play to shape American education to its will, the Walton Family Foundation is, if not constantly in the news itself, often a significant unnamed player in the news.


In Louisiana yesterday, elections were held for eight seats on the state Board of Education. Louisiana-based education blogger Mercedes Schneider summarizes that the board has mostly been bought again, with one of eight seats still subject to a runoff.

Eight (make that seven) for eight, the BESE candidates that preferred by out-of-state billionaires, like the Waltons, and by out-of-state, ed-reform election-shapers, like Education Reform Now and American Federation for Children, will hold BESE seats and will cast votes that almost certainly bend Louisiana education in favor of testing, school choice– and retaining TFAer John White as state ed superintendent.

The Waltons put $1.3 million into the Louisiana elections, Schneider has reported.


The runoff for governor is important in this context. Current Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards has filled the governor’s three seats on the board with appointees who have not supported extending White’s contract. Says Schneider:

If Eddie Rispone becomes governor, he will surely appoint individuals favorable to the school choice agenda espoused by US ed sec Betsy DeVos, since Rispone is a past chairperson for Louisiana Federation for Children Action Fund (see here and here and here), an offshoot of DeVos’ American Federation for Children.

Think some money from Bentonville might find its way to Rispone’s campaign? Think the same people might have a few spare dollars to burn in Little Rock, come the promised November 2020 school board elections?


Meanwhile, back in Arkansas, Walton-financed shills have been crowing on social media about the Arkansas Board of Education’s busting of the Little Rock School District teachers’ union contract, an action in concert with demonstrating it intends to maintain an iron fist over a school district in which Walton-funded charter schools have inflicted heavy damage.

This is a good moment to turn attention again to one of the Walton-financed agenda lobbyists, the Arkansas Public School Resource Center.

Cathy Frye has posted the fifth in her series of blog articles about her three years as an employee of the APSRC and the insight this gave her to the “shadowy world” of the school “choice” movement in Arkansas. The latest focuses on the boss at APSCRC, Scott Smith.