The Washington Post reports that Chancellor Michelle Rhee seems to have secret benefactors who are willing to pay public school teachers extremely generous pay increases unknown in the educational field. While teachers rightfully deserve that money for the vital job that they do, one always must consider the reasons for the magnificent generosity from private donors. This is especially true for donors seeking anonymity.
This secrecy is problematic. In some of my other posts, I covered some of Ward Connerly’s initiative fights. He too has secret benefactors. The secrecy demands result from the need to protect the business interests and the reputation of the benefactor from the backlash of supporting politically unpopular proposals. The Equal Justice Society published a report on a lawsuit against Connerly that required him to disclose his donors behind his Proposition 209 effort in California [Note: For more about Ward Connerly’s money sources, see the website bigmoneyconnerly.com (link in blogroll in left column)].
Rhee’s donors suspiciously have the same request, which leads me to presume that the source of her largess is from the same conservative foundations seeking to undermine public education for charter schools. An example of my concern is the presence of the Walton Family Foundation.
The Walton Family Foundation, created in 1987 by the late Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart, has invested heavily in nonunion charter schools, and critics say many of its contributions reflect an agenda that promotes privatization of public education. Blew told Education Week that the foundation is “totally agnostic” about whether a school is public, private or charter, as long as it is effective.
Chancellor Rhee’s actions with these foundations must be carefully monitored.
For more information on the publicly known foundations [Note: no connection implied with the conservative foundations described in the post above], see the following: