Bad news for the Waltons: The Walton Family Foundation’s favorite approach to education reform, “school choice,” seems not to be working out too well—at least if you’re looking for actual academic improvement and not just a corporate-style restructuring of America’s public schools.
As journalist David Sirota reported last week, recent studies indicate that charters are performing worse than the traditional public schools that the Waltons are trying to weaken. One study found that just 17 percent of charters reported significantly better results than traditional public schools, while 37 percent reported significantly worse results.
Interestingly, that particular study was conducted by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO)—a pro-charter and pro-school voucher think tank affiliated with the university’s conservative Hoover Institution—and funded in part by the Walton Family Foundation. Even a study funded by the Waltons concludes that the family’s education agenda is falling short.
Are the Waltons really interested in creating schools that work for kids? Or, as Sirota argues, does the Walton family “embrace [charter schools] for their ability to crush teachers unions”?