Walton family provides for 700 teachers in L.A. public schools

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(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The Arkansas-based Walton Family Foundation says it is donating $20 million to a nonprofit that recruits talented college graduates to teach in public schools for two years, with the largest number of instructors, more than 700, slated for Los Angeles.

The gift extends what already has totaled more than $100 million in support to New York City-based Teach for America over its 24 years, with the foundation’s cumulative contribution to TFA in Los Angeles at more than $10 million, according to the foundation.

“With this critical investment, Teach for America will be able to bring effective teachers into some of the most under-resourced classrooms in the country while simultaneously working to develop more of our talented corps members as long-term champions of educational equity and excellence,” Matt Kramer, co-chief executive officer of Teach for America, said in a statement quoted by the Los Angeles Times.

Support from the Walton foundation has attracted notice because it’s associated with funding and advocacy for “school choice” efforts around the country, according to The Times. These include independently operated public charter schools. The foundation also supports government-funded vouchers to subsidize the tuition of low-income students at private schools.

The foundation is funded by members of the family that founded the Walmart Corp., which has opposed unionization in its operations. Most charters are nonunion. For its part, TFA has always cast itself as politically neutral and notes that its teachers join unions when they work in school districts with collective bargaining agreements, The Times reported.

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