Who can afford to pay for these two glossy mailers pushing the charter school amendment? Who are GeorgiaHope2012.org and BrighterGeorgia.org, anyway? Recipients of millions from Alice Walton and the Walton Family Foundation to push a bill sponsored in the statehouse by ALEC’s “our state legislators”. Will we believe Alice Walton and ALEC, or will we believe our Georgia educators, who overwhelmingly oppose Amendment 1?
GeorgiaHope2012.org’s mailer (the big one) says in really light grey type:
Paid for by Families for Better Public Schools Edward Lindsey Chairman
We’ve heard of them before. They raised $486,750 by September, about 96% from outside Georgia, including Alice Walton ($250,000), K12 Inc. of Virginia ($100,000), Charter Schools USA of Florida ($50,000), J.C. Huizenga and National Heritage Academies Inc. of Michigan ($25,000 each). Their spokesman Bert Brantley (who went to Lowndes County public schools) claims the bogus preamble to the charter school amendment, the one that uses ALEC Family Trigger jargon and asserts things that just aren’t in either of the authorizing bills; he claims that preamble is “factual”. His previous PR campaign was pushing the T-SPLOST transportation tax that failed by a landslide.
Families for Better Public Schools is still playing the charter school bait and switch in their mailer by pretending Amendment 1 is needed for charter schools:
EVERY CHILD DESERVES A CHANCE! VOTE YES! for Public Charter Schools on November 6th.
We don’t need this amendment to create charter schools. Any local school board can already do that.
BrighterGeorgia.org’s mailer (the smaller one) says in grey on grey type:
Paid for by Georgia Charter Schools Association
GCSA got $700,000 from the Walton Family Foundation last year, and is a member of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA), the outfit that Zaid Jilani outed as an ALEC member; NACSA bailed on ALEC two days later.
The Walton Family Foundation (WFF) also granted granted $350,000 last year to the Georgia Family Education and Research Council, Inc. (GFERC), which is now going by the name Georgia Family Council (GFC). And that’s not all. According to Elizabeth Hopper writing for Alpharetta-MiltonPatch 10 September 2012, Charter Amendment – HR 1162 – Alice Walton – Buying Your Vote?
But Alice’s and the WFF’s financial backing goes far beyond helping those in low income communities. In 2011, the WFF gave out $159 million to non-profits who either “shape public policy” or to specific charter schools, charter authorizers, or public school systems who have agreed to promote charters I would imagine. In 2011 the WFF gave to “shapers” in Georgia that we know of based on their grant list; The Georgia Charter Schools Association—$700K, Georgia Family Education and Research Council, Inc.—$350K. The WFF gave to other out-of-state “shapers” who are backing HR 1162; Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, Inc.,- $565K, Americans for Prosperity—$250K, StudentsFirst (Michelle Rhee)—$1M, and the BAEO, Black Alliance for Educational Options—$796K.
Is GFERC or GFC the same as Families for Better Public Schools? Right now I don’t have time to look down that rabbit hole. But Elizabeth Hopper adds:
In addition to the WFF support of these 6 out of 14 members of the Brighter Georgia Education Coalition http://bit.ly/P2BDff, Alice Walton wrote a personal check for $250K to the HR 1162 Constitutional Amendment Committee, http://1.usa.gov/OgECUz Rep. Lindsey’s group, Families for Better Public Schools (more appropriately — Families for Enhanced Public Schools — “better” isn’t written in HB 797). This one check was 51% of the take up to the reporting deadline of August 30st — the opposition collected one fifth of that amount. We won’t know if Alice is kicking in any more until after Nov. 6. How many voters knew Alice and the WFF were such generous backers of HR 1162 in the first place!
So whatever that relationship, Families for Better Public Schools is yet another recipients of Alice Walton’s contributions towards privatizing public education in the state of Georgia.
Who is this Rep. Edward Lindsey, anyway? Well, he’s one of ALEC’s “our state legislators”. Like the Georgia Senate sponsors of both of the charter school amendment bills (HB 1162 and HB 797), who are also the two sponsors of Amendment 2.
And WFF recipient GCSA is the outfit whose leaked slides admit:
No other state has had a positive outcome for a charter-positive ballot initiative
Like in Washington State, where a pro-charter school referendum failed 58.3% to 41.7% in 2004, despite massive financial backing by WFF and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
How about we make that happen in Georgia, too? Let’s not let Alice Walton and ALEC buy our public schools and turn them into Wall Street’s next cash cow at the expense of our tax dollars and of the future of the children of Georgia. Let’s see Amendment 1 fail worse than T-SPLOST did! Vote No on Amendment 1!