Walton Foundation giving $8 million to Rhee’s StudentsFirst — plus 2012 donations

The Walton Family Foundation is giving $8 million to Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst to add to the scores of millions of dollars it hands out each year to support the public education reform agenda of Walton family members.

The foundation says that  in 2012, it handed out more than $158 million in funding for K-12 education reform initiatives focused on expanding charter schools and voucher programs. The big 2012 winners were (and you can see the whole list below):

  • Charter Fund Inc. $14,900,000
  • Teach For America (National) $11,445,000
  • KIPP Foundation $8,374,000
  • D.C. Public Education Fund, $5,919,229;

The $8 million to StudentsFirst is a new donation that will be awarded over two years, the foundation said in this release. It says that the money will allow Rhee’s advocacy group — which has been involved in more than 15 states in trying to enact corporate-based school reform over the past few years —  to “expand its impact.”

The Walton Family Foundation is one of the three big family education philanthropies that have been donating big sums to drive specific education reforms; the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation are the other two. The Walton family, which founded and runs Wal-Mart,  gives the most money to initiatives involving the school choice movement, such as vouchers and charter schools.

In 2011, the foundation gave more than $159 million in 16 metropolitan areas around the country to promote school choice. And it committed to giving $49.5 million to Teach For America over five years to double its teaching corps and $25.5 million over the same period to the KIPP charter school network to double the number of students it educates.

The amounts of money that wealthy philanthropists and private foundations have been donating to K-12 school reform has played a big role in shaping state and federal public education policy. This concerns critics who say that there is no public accountability when private donors put up money for programs of their choosing. Of course, public officials could refuse to take it, but they don’t.

There is particular concern among critics about money from the Walton family, in part because  it has been successful in driving changes in  its competitors.

Here are the list of education organizations that received money from the foundation in 2012, according to the foundation’s Web site:

K-12 Education Reform Grants in 2012

Systemic K-12 Education Reform
$158,142,809
Shape Public Policy
$60,920,186
Create Quality Schools
$72,970,575
Improve Existing Schools
$23,599,839
Research and Evaluation
$652,209
Shape Public Policy:  Amount 
50CAN, Inc $1,650,000
Agudath Israel of America, Inc. 500,000
Alliance for School Choice, Inc. 1,700,000
American Center for School Choice 125,000
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research 182,103
Americans for Prosperity Foundation 325,000
Arizona Charter Schools Association 586,475
Arizona School Choice Administration Corporation 100,000
Association of American Educators Foundation 512,000
Association of Missouri Charter Schools 326,300
Barry Goldwater Institute for Public Policy Research 200,000
Beacon Center of Tennessee 75,000
Bellwether Education Partners 185,000
Black Alliance for Educational Options 1,114,200
Brookings Institution 666,968
California Charter Schools Association 5,000,000
Center for Education Reform 809,209
Center of the American Experiment 25,000
Charter School Partners 314,000
Children First Fund- The Chicago Public School Foundation 478,380
Colorado League of Charter Schools 245,000
Colorado Nonprofit Development Center 175,000
Colorado Succeeds 100,000
Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives 25,000
Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now Inc. 450,000
Douglas County School District 300,000
Editorial Projects in Education 250,000
Education Pioneers 547,928
Education Reform Now, Inc. 500,000
Education Sector Inc. 220,000
Education Trust-West 360,000
Education Writers Association 100,000
Educators for Excellence 156,602
EdVoice Institute for Research and Education 400,000
Families Empowered 400,000
Families for Excellent Schools, Inc. 218,000
Florida Charter School Alliance 168,345
Foundation for Excellence in Education 1,000,000
Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, Inc. 465,000
Friends of Choice in Urban Schools 737,434
George W. Bush Foundation 159,000
Georgetown University 1,634,419
Georgia Charter Schools Association Inc. 840,000
Georgia Family Education and Research Council, Inc. 100,000
Georgia Public Policy Foundation 135,000
GREAAT Schools Inc 193,400
GreatSchools Inc. 4,300,000
Harvard University 454,790
Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options 292,000
Illinois Network of Charter Schools 1,023,000
Illinois Policy Institute 50,000
Independence Institute 40,000
Indiana Public Charter Schools Association Inc. 392,529
Institute for Innovation of Public School Choice 265,845
Institute For Justice 525,568
James Madison Institute for Public Policy Studies, Inc. 40,000
John K. Maclver Institute for Public Policy, Inc. 75,000
LA Voice 100,000
Los Angeles Parent Union 2,521,369
Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools 586,280
Mackinac Center 50,000
Michigan Association of Public School Academies 426,085
Marquette University 289,468
Massachusetts Charter Public School Association 350,000
MICAH Project 152,500
Milwaukee Charter School Advocates 235,027
Morehouse College 300,000
National Alliance for Public Charter Schools 1,250,000
National Conference of State Legislatures 147,500
National Council on Teacher Quality 25,000
National Governor’s Association Center for Best Practices 225,000
National Public Radio 1,400,000
National Right to Work Legal Defense and Education Foundation 83,333
New Jersey Charter Public Schools Association 354,161
New Schools for Chicago 220,000
New Schools for New Orleans Inc. 1,229,570
New York Charter Schools Association 725,000
Newark Charter School Fund 1,875,000
NewSchools Venture Fund 1,100,000
Nova Southeastern University Inc 25,000
Oakland Community Organizations 200,000
Ohio Alliance of Public Charter Schools 382,706
Pahara Institute 500,000
Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina 600,000
Partnership for Los Angeles Schools 193,780
Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools 150,000
People Acting in Community Together 200,000
Philanthropy Roundtable 115,000
PICO National Network 200,000
Pioneer Institute, Inc. 211,150
Public Education and Business Coalition 164,026
Reason Foundation 75,000
Regents of the University of Colorado 65,756
Rhode Island Mayoral Academies 500,000
School Choice Indiana 320,000
School Choice Ohio 605,000
School Choice Wisconsin 300,000
Show-Me Institute 25,000
Silicon Valley Community Foundation 250,000
Stand for Children Leadership Center 343,402
Stand for Children Leadership Center (Indiana affiliate) 278,189
Stand Up 300,000
Step Up for Students 644,000
Students for Education Reform 250,000
StudentsFirst Institute 2,000,000
Success Academy Charter Schools 1,000,000
Tennessee Charter Schools Association 268,126
Texas Charter Schools Association 725,000
Texas Public Policy Foundation 25,000
Thomas B. Fordham Institute 650,000
United Negro College Fund, Inc. 1,490,523
University of Arkansas Foundation Inc 329,125
University of Notre Dame 384,228
University of Washington Foundation – Center on Reinventing Public Education 700,000
Urban League of Greater New Orleans 491,300
Women in Government Foundation 100,088
Shape Public Policy Total $60,920,186
Create Quality Schools: Amount
4.0 Schools $646,467
Academy 360 250,000
Academy for Global Citizenship Charter School 250,000
ACE Charter High School 250,000
Amandla Charter School 250,000
Apple Academy Charter Public Schools 250,000
ARC4H Academy 250,000
Arizona Autism Charter Schools, Inc. 30,000
Aurora Collegiate Academy Charter School 220,000
Better Learning Communities 220,000
Bridges Public Charter School 30,000
Brighter Choice Foundation 945,000
Brilla College Preparatory Charter School 250,000
Building Excellent Schools, Inc 3,240,050
Building Hope 1,800,000
Camino Nuevo Elementary No. 3 250,000
Carmen High School of Science and Technology 333,333
Carpe Diem Collegiate High School – Meridian Campus 250,000
Catalyst-Maria Charter 220,000
Central Queens Academy Charter School 250,000
Challenge Foundation Academy 30,000
Charter Fund, Inc. 14,900,000
Charter School Growth Fund – Louisiana 2,000,000
Children’s Scholarship fund 8,212,000
Christel House DORS 220,000
Christian Musical Skill Center dba The Performing Arts Conservatory 30,000
Christopher House Charter School 220,000
City Year Inc 773,000
Collegiate Academy 1 250,000
Collegiate Academy 2 250,000
Colorado Nonprofit Development Center 40,000
Columbus Collegiate Academy – West Campus 220,000
Cristo Rey Network 920,000
DC Preparatory Academy 199,000
DC Scholars Academy 250,000
Delta Charter School of Math, Science and Technology 30,000
Democracy Prep III Charter School 250,000
Downtown Charter School, Inc. 250,000
Downtown Denver Expeditionary School 250,000
Educational Enterprises, Inc. 1,225,000
Empower College Prep 220,000
ENCORE Academy 250,000
Exalt Education 267,500
Excel Academy Charter School – Boston II 250,000
Excel Academy Public Charter School 250,000
Excellent Education Development, Inc. 250,000
Fannie C. Williams Charter School 250,000
Future is Now: New Orleans Charter School 250,000
Gals the Girls Athletic Leadership Schools 30,000
GEE Edmonson Academy 250,000
Graham Primary School 220,000
Hennepin Elementary School 220,000
Hinds Feet Montessori School of the Arts, Inc. 30,000
IFF 248,886
Ingenuity Prep Public Charter School 250,000
International Preparatory Academy – MacDowell Campus 250,000
Intrepid Preparatory Charter School 220,000
JS Clark Leadership Academy 250,000
KIPP Foundation 8,374,000
Lafayette Preparatory Academy Charter School 250,000
Lighthouse Academies of Wisconsin, Inc 150,000
Local Initiatives Support Corporation 5,447,697
Low Income Investment Fund 150,000
Lutheran High School Association of Greater Milwaukee 59,000
Lutheran Urban Mission Initiative Inc. 375,000
Mastery School 250,000
Math and Science Preparatory Charter High 220,000
McDonogh 42 250,000
Mind Trust 500,000
Nashville Classical Charter School 220,000
New Leaders 800,000
NewSchools Venture Fund 612,500
Notre Dame Middle School 375,000
Oakland Academy Charter School 30,000
Pacific Charter School Development, Inc. 2,160,000
Partners for Developing Futures, Inc 565,000
Paul Public Charter School 250,000
Peoria Charter School Initiative 250,000
Phoenix Collegiate Academy 250,000
Pride and Promise Academy 30,000
Prodeo Academy 250,000
Purpose Preparatory Charter School 220,000
Rise Ko Hyang Middle School 250,000
Rise Together Ministries 30,000
Rocketship Education 225,000
Rowe Elementary Charter School 250,000
Santa Monica Boulevard Community Charter School 250,000
Schools For The Future Detroit 30,000
Schools That Can Milwaukee, Inc. 225,000
Seventh and Sourou Gentlemen’s Academy 30,000
St. HOPE Public Schools 250,000
Starr Detroit Academy 250,000
Tennessee Charter School Incubator 707,331
The Excel Center at Franklin Road 250,000
The Friends of King School 250,000
The Montessori School of Englewood 220,000
The Savannah Classical Academy 250,000
Trevista ECE-8th Grade at Horace Mann 249,811
United Community Center, Inc. 180,000
University of Notre Dame 500,000
University Prep Science and Math Elementary School 220,000
UNO Charter School Network 500,000
Upper Mississippi Academy 250,000
West Side Summit 250,000
Westside Atlanta Charter School 30,000
Wisconsin Lutheran High School 150,000
Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation 475,000
Create Quality Schools Total $72,970,575
Improve Existing Schools: Amount
Achievement Network, LTD $62,500
Arizona Charter Schools Association 150,000
California Charter Schools Association 1,150,000
Center for Better Schools 275,000
Charter Board Partners 177,750
DC Public Charter School Board 498,729
DC Public Education Fund 5,919,229
Denver Public Schools 218,750
Denver Scholarship Foundation 116,192
Illinois State Charter School Commission 100,000
Lutheran Urban Mission Initiative Inc. 60,000
National Association of Charter School Authorizers 1,750,000
New Teacher Project 1,000,000
Northwest Evaluation Association 42,500
Ohio Alliance of Public Charter Schools 34,190
Teach for America (National) 11,445,000
University of Notre Dame 400,000
Wisconsin Lutheran College 200,000
Improve Existing Schools Total $23,599,839
Research and Evaluation Amount
Hoover Institution, Stanford University $151,334
University of Notre Dame 113,000
University of Southern California 147,935
University of Wisconsin – Madison 239,940
Research and Evaluation Total $652,209
K-12 Education Reform and Other Education Grants Total $158,142,80
Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.
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Valerie Strauss · April 30, 2013