In pursuit of hurting public schools, Walton family funds far-right school operator

A Slate report last week revealed that Responsive Education Solutions (RES), a charter school operator whose expansion into Arkansas is funded by the Walton Family Foundation, has close ties to far-right creationists and opponents of the separation of church and state.

The Walton Family Foundation, led by the moneyed heirs to Walmart co-founder Sam Walton, is one of the leading funders of the corporate education reform movement that aims to undermine public schools by expanding charter school and voucher programs that funnel public tax dollars to private schools.

Curriculum materials from Responsive Ed schools in Texas, obtained by Slate, show that RES schools have made a mockery of science education by teaching creationism and attempting to discredit evolution. Moreover, the RES history curriculum is riddled with racist, sexist, and homophobic cultural biases and outright factual errors.

Given the limited courtesy that RES schools apparently give to science or accuracy, it may be no surprise that the operator’s schools were identified as poor performers in a charter school study performed by CREDO, a pro-charter, Hoover Institution-affiliated think tank at Stanford University. Strikingly, CREDO and Hoover also receive funding from the Walton Family Foundation—so even Walton-backed organizations have identified problems with RES.

The Waltons ought not to be funding an organization that plays so fast and loose with the education of children, let alone praise it as “a highly successful charter organization,” as the Walton Family Foundation did last year in this press release.

But sadly, the Waltons’ relationship with the disaster that is RES just goes to show how far they will go in their pursuit of destabilizing and weakening public education.