Journalist Cathy Frye has posted a sixth installment in her series on three years of working for the Arkansas Public School Resource Center, a charter school lobby supported by the Walton Family Foundation (and even a little taxpayer help). Today’s installment on her Like a Renegade blog raises an interesting issue:
The APSRC works on legislative issues. It is organized as a 501c3 nonprofit, which means partisan political activities are off-limits and lobbying must not be a substantial portion of the group’s mission. By Frye’s account, APSRC does a lot of lobbying.
The Walton funding of APSRC is funneled through Southern Arkansas University. This has the side benefit of qualifying the employees of APSRC to participate in the state-supported Teachers Retirement System. Irony, anyone? State teacher retirement benefits, hard-won over the years by the work of the Arkansas Education Association, are going to a group that is helping to wreck the Little Rock School District and is a cog in a network of billionaire-backed groups that last week celebrated the busting of an AEA-affiliate union local in Little Rock.