The Walton Family Foundation, based in Bentonville, Ark., today announced a $6 million grant that it says is aimed at doubling the number of students attending private schools with public funds by 2017.
The Alliance for School Choice, which advocates for private school vouchers across the U.S., was named as recipient of the grant.
Today, nearly 300,000 students attend private schools in 18 states and the District of Columbia with the support of public school funding, according to statistics provided by the Walton foundation, which has been a major backer of vouchers.
Indiana, Louisiana, and North Carolina are among the states to adopt new private school choice laws, despite strong criticism from many Democrats, and others who say those efforts siphon resources from underfunded public school systems.
In states adopting private school choice laws, “policymakers are responding to growing parent demand,” Marc Sternberg, director of the Walton foundation’s K-12 education reform efforts, said in a statement. The philanthropy, he said, believes expanding school choice can lead to improvements “in all sectors—traditional public schools, private schools and public charter schools.”
To date, the foundation has invested more than $1 billion in initiatives that expand parental choice and equal opportunity in education, according to the announcement.
For more on this development, check out Katie Ash’s post in the Charters and Choice blog.
(Walton has supported Education Week’s coverage of parent-empowerment issues.)