Blogger Trent Stamp is also president of Charity Navigator and he is watching closely what happens with the Walton Family Foundation following the death of matriarch Helen Walton last week. The results could be culture changing. Writes Stamp: USA Today writes of her death that it will "benefit public education." This is true, but the Waltons have very specific plans for how they want to "benefit public education", and historically it has been via funding for vouchers, charter schools, and linking teacher pay to standardized test scores. It appears now that the largest educational funder in the world is committed to funding initiatives that have not resonated with many of the older foundations in this country. Allowing Wal-Mart to decide what kind of schools we have would be the equivalent to allowing tax payers to pick the next generation of main battle tank or jet fighter through a check-off box on their tax returns. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.


  1. What is it about “philanthropist” monopolists that makes them think they can set educational policy? Their control of markets is the antithesis of what democracy is supposed to be about.

    Bill Gates is adding his “expertise” to educational reform. I’m sure that having his company being convicted of monopolistic practices makes him the ideal person to be lecturing others on what the goals of education should be.

    Here’s a link to a story about his new $60 million effort to influence policy.

  2. Jeff Hess says:

    Shalom Robert,

    Thank you for including Gates in all of this. Success in one area does not translate into success in all areas.

    A century ago Andrew Carnegie also attempted to influence education by building hundreds (thousands?) of libraries across the country. He didn’t, however, attempt to tell the librarians what books to put on the shelves.

    Would we tolerate a multi-billionaire to direct cancer research? Why do we tolerate in something even more important like the education of our children?



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