Feds Cheerlead for Charter Schools, Aiding Private Philanthropy’s Takeover of America’s Public Schools
by DUSTIN BEILKE
With the Walton billionaires doubling down  in their efforts to accelerate the charter school industry and with the Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings, throwing in $100 million  to privatize traditional public schools, one might think that the U.S. Department of Education would be a major line of defense for America’s public schools educating the most underserved students or even a bold investor in sustainable community schools that are truly public.
One would be wrong.
The U.S. Department of Education, as with the education agencies of many states, has been co-opted by the spending frenzy of the billionaire class.
It’s not just the Waltons and Hastings using their fortunes to undermine public education: Eli Broad has pledged nearly a half billion  dollars to privatize the public schools of Los Angeles. They are mounting a radical–or really a reactionary–effort to remake public schools into private enterprises, and charters are a key component of the transition the billionaires seek.
And editorial decisions by many in the press have aided and abetted this effort.
For example, the Walton family’s press release about its new spending—which comes on top of the nearly $200 million they already spend on education “reform” each year—was widely reported, while the federal budget deal allocated $330 million  more for charters was barely covered. The federal expansion of funding comes in the face of numerous scandals involving poor test results from so-called virtual charter schools and the documentation of more than $200 million of fraud and waste  of taxpayer money by charter school operators.
But the billionaires’ star power garnered coverage and repetition of the “reform” talking points, despite the manifest evidence of the failuresof many charter school experiments.