The big school board race is this week in Los Angeles, and we know that the billionaires have lined up behind their slate. We know that Eli Broad wants to own his hometown’s school board and Mayor Michael Bloomberg has tossed $1million into the race to help the same candidates that Eli wants.

What is less well known is that one of the biggest founders of school choice–AKA, privatization–is the Walton family of Arkansas. Sure, the natural connection between Arkansas and Los Angeles might escape you, as it does me. But consider this, from an article written on Huffington Post by Peter Dreier of Occidental College:

In 2006, one member of the family gave $250,000 to a statewide initiative for universal preschool education.

“In Los Angeles alone, the Walton Family Foundation has donated over $84.3 million to charter schools and organizations that support them, such as Green Dot Schools, ICEF schools, and the Los Angeles Parent Union, as well as $1 million to candidates or political action committees which support diverting tax dollars away from public schools. They believe in high-stakes testing, hate teachers unions, want to measure student and teacher success primarily by relying on one-size-fits-all standardized tests, but have an entirely different set of standards when it comes to judging charter schools.”

Furthermore, the Waltons generously support other organizations that promote privatization:

“The Waltons have long supported efforts to privatize education through the Walton Family Foundation as well as individual political donations to local candidates. Since 2005, the Waltons have given more than $1 billion to organizations and candidates who support privatization. They’ve channeled the funds to the pro-charter and pro-voucher Milton Friedman Foundation for Education Choice, Michelle Rhee’s pro-privatization and high-stakes testing organization Students First, and the pro-voucher Alliance for School Choice, where Walton family member Carrie Walton Penner sits on the board. In addition to funding these corporate-style education reform organizations, since 2000 the Waltons have also spent more than $24 million bankrolling politicians, political action committees, and ballot issues in California and elsewhere at the state and local level which undermine public education and literally shortchange students.”

You do understand what is going on, don’t you? It is the Walmart management style–deregulation, low-wage employees, cost-cutting over all–transported to education.