Wealthy supporters of privatizing education fund massive charter-school warchests

Let’s use our People Power to beat Big Money

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The most recent publication of political action committee (PAC) filings to the Texas Ethics Commission revealed the huge expenditures that charter schools are making to influence elections across the state. As of September 24, when the reporting period of the most recent filing ended, charter-school PACs in Texas have $1.13 million cash on hand going into the rest of this election season.

Leading the charter school PACs in total expenditures is the Charter Schools Now PAC which spent a jaw-dropping $768,634 across Texas from July 1 to September 24. Charter Schools Now spent significant money in support of known enemies of public education, such as state Reps. Mike Schofield, Briscoe Cain, and Jared Patterson. The most significant donor to the Charter Schools Now PAC is Alice Walton, the heiress to the Walmart fortune, who donated $875,000 to the PAC this election cycle.

Alarmingly, another charter-school PAC, the Education Equity PAC, has not submitted an ethics report to the TEC as of the October 5 deadline and is currently embroiled in several compliance issues with the commission. So, we don’t even have information on where this organization’s money is going or where it’s coming from. 

Overall, the two major takeaways from this week’s publication of ethics reports: (1) Charter schools and the powerful elites who back them will stop at nothing to control the democratic process and push school privatization; and (2) Charter schools are scared of the political organizing power of public educators going into November’s election. Make sure to head to the polls this month to support our endorsed candidates and show these charter school PACs that people power beats big money.