Education philanthropists don’t just fund their pet projects through grants, they also inject money into races to ensure those elected will implement what they are funding.
Take the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board race for example as The Advocate reports:
A handful of out-of-state billionaires pushing for charter schools and other “education reforms” have spent a sliver of their fortunes on East Baton Rouge Parish School Board races, records show.
They include a Houston hedge fund manager who got his start at Enron, the former mayor of New York City, the co-founder of LinkedIn, the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and the son of the Walmart founder Sam Walton.
John Arnold, Mike Bloomberg, Reid Hoffman, Laurene Jobs
andJim Walton have all contributed to help elect School Board candidates that support their school reform agenda.
The amounts of money donated for a local school board race are staggering:
Arnold, the Houston hedge fund manager, and Walton, the son of Walmart founder Sam Walton, are by far the biggest donors so far, giving $160,000 and $100,000, respectively. Their largesse has gone to charter-school friendly education reform and business organizations that have been spending money independently on behalf of several School Board candidates.
Those organizations have reported spending almost $350,000 so far, close to three times what the candidates themselves have reported spending on their campaigns.
About $253,000 of that $350,000 has been spent on just two races: District 2 and District 3. In District 3, Tramelle Howard narrowly defeated incumbent Kenyetta Nelson-Smith on Nov. 6.
It must be great to be able to purchase education policy and the politicians to implement it.