This is such bad news:
The Walton Family Foundation announced that it plans to spend $1 billion over the next five years to increase the number of privately managed charter schools. If experience is any guide, almost all of these will be non-union...This is an aggressive, blatant attempt not only to bust teachers' unions, but to privatize the school system.
The Bentonville, Arkansas,-based foundation is run by the family of Walmart founders Sam and Helen Walton and is a frequent target of teachers unions for its promotion of school choice efforts, including research. Since 1997, it has poured more than $385 million in 2,110 new public charter schools – or about a quarter of all charters nationally, the foundation said.
Or, more accurately, create a two-tiered school system: Private schools for the privileged, and poorly funded, understaffed, overcrowded public schools with suboptimal materials and technology for all the kids whose families can't afford to send them to private charter schools. Or who don't qualify for a scholarship of some description.
Public education is supposed to be the equalizer in our ostensibly meritocratic democracy. That's already not the case, for a whole lot of reasons, including segregation and pegging school funding and/or teaching salaries variably to property taxes, test scores, and performance metrics that don't account for schools that start the measurement period at a disadvantage from any one of a number of criteria. Hardly a comprehensive list.
There are a lot of problems with the US public school system, and not a single one of them will be fixed by billionaires creating a private school system.
[H/T to Ashon.]