The recent release of the Walton Foundation’s list of recipients of grants for K-12 education in 2011 has gotten some interest in the blogosphere. Some of the names on the list were old news, particularly the big five-year grants to national groups like Teach for America ($49.5 million) and KIPP ($25.5 million), which were reported last summer.
As we noted then, questions were quickly raised about how the Foundation’s conservative positions on issues such as the right to organize might influence the recipients of these huge grants. (For background on the Walton family and their foundation’s positions on education, this new website offers a great primer and lots of helpful links.) Now that the full list has been released, the evidence confirms that many organizations active in New York City and New York State received large grants from the Waltons last year — including a million-dollar grant to Eva Moskowitz’s Success Charter Network, listed under the Foundation’s efforts to “Shape Public Policy.” The huge amounts in play here (over $159 million nationally in 2011 alone) should give pause to those concerned about the influence of corporate money in school reform in our community.