This November, Georgia voters will go to the polls and be asked to approve or disapprove a constitutional amendment (Amendment 6) that would allow for the state to go over the heads of local school boards to create charter schools.
Opponents of this amendment, led by local schools boards and progressive leaders, point out that this would drain money from public schools and remove local control from communities. Even Georgia’s Republican Schools Superintendent John Barge agrees with this argument and opposes the amendment.
But proponents of rapidly expanding, privately-managed charter schools have always countered that these schools are indeed part of the public system.
Yet a look at the finances of those campaigning for the approval of Amendment 6 shows that their push is being bankrolled largely by out of state for-profit corporations.
The deceptively named pro-charter group “Families for Better Public Schools” (FBPS) filed its financial disclosures with the state ethics commission on Thursday. Here’s a rundown of the corporations who are financing the group:
- Edison Learning Inc.: This for-profit education management corporation based in Tennessee gave $2,000 to the group.
- National Heritage Academies: This Michigan-based for-profit company that manages charter schools gave $25,000 to FPBS. Its chief executive J.C. Huizenga gave another $25,000.
- Charter Schools USA: Based in Florida, Charter Schools USA, which bills itself as “oldest, largest and fastest-growing education management companies” in America, gave $50,000 to FPBS.
- K12 Inc.: K12 Inc. is a massive online education company. It donated $100,000 to FPBS.
The single biggest donation came from Alice Walton, a Wal-Mart heir. She gave a quarter million dollars to FPBS.
As Georgia voters prepare to go to the polls this November, they will be barraged by pro-charter school propaganda. They should know that this campaign isn’t being funded by allies of public schools, but rather for-profit education companies looking for their slice of the pie.