Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

Why are the billionaires laughing?

It’s easy to laugh when the corporate press treats you as a glorious success instead of the epitome of a broken social order. Billionaires laugh because they know the corporate media prefers to fawn over them rather than hold them to account.

Today, we ask you to support our nonprofit, independent journalism because we are not impressed by billionaires flying into space, their corporations despoiling our health and planet, or their vast fortunes safely concealed in tax havens across the globe. We are not laughing.

We are hard at work producing journalism for the common good. With our Fall Campaign underway, please support this mission today. We cannot do it without you.

Support Our Work -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Every donation—large or small—helps us bring you the news that matters.

Legislators are easy to buy in a poor state. The Waltons own quite a few. (Photo: OUR Walmart)

Legislators are easy to buy in a poor state. The Waltons own quite a few. (Photo: OUR Walmart)

The Walton Family Plot to Privatize the Public Schools of Arkansas

Have they no shame?

Diane Ravitch

 by Diane Ravitch's Blog

The headquarters of the Walton/Walmart billionaires is in Bentonville, Arkansas, so it is not surprising that the Walton Family Foundation and the members of the family (net worth: $100 billion) have decided to privatize the public schools of Arkansas.

Arkansas is a poor state. It doesn’t have an abundance of private schools that are as good as its underfunded public schools but the Waltons want every child to have a voucher or a charter school to attend.

Legislators are easy to buy in a poor state. The Waltons own quite a few.

The Arkansas Education Association did the research and described the empire that the Waltons have constructed in service to their goal of owning and privatizing the public schools of Arkansas. In the Walton plan, there will be no “public schools,” only privately managed charter schools and vouchers for religious schools.

The AEA report lays out the Walton Empire of Privatization in detail, with their bought and paid for think tanks and academics:

Although this report includes a lot of names, it is just one slice of the nationwide effort to plunder our public schools. These organizations have a vast infrastructure and deep pockets that can seem daunting, but our students are counting on us to stand up and speak out.

While they may have more cash, we have the power of numbers and common sense. Arkansas’s taxpayers and students would be better served by investing our scarce resources to improve our neighborhood public schools and helping all of the students who attend them.

Our public schools are the anchor of our communities, and the best way to expand opportunity for all. This idea does not require twisted statistics, or market tested language to trick people into supporting it. It’s as old as the country itself.

Do you think any member of the Walton Family ever feels ashamed of the damage they are wreaking on our democracy?

What about their minions? Have they no shame?

Correction: An earlier version of this post original cited the Arkansas Education Association as the Alabama Education Association. That error has been corrected.


© 2021 Diane Ravitch
Diane Ravitch

Diane Ravitch

Diane Ravitch is a historian of education at New York University. Her most recent book is "Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools."  Her previous books and articles about American education include: "The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education,"  "Left Back: A Century of Battles Over School Reform," (Simon & Schuster, 2000); "The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn" (Knopf, 2003); "The English Reader: What Every Literate Person Needs to Know" (Oxford, 2006), which she edited with her son Michael Ravitch. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

'It's Not Coming Out': Bernie Sanders Stands Firm on Medicare Expansion

"It's what the American people want and, after waiting over 50 years, what they are going to get."

Julia Conley ·


'When We Organize, We Win': Ocasio-Cortez Joins India Walton at Rally in Buffalo

The two progressives joined striking hospital workers on the picket line at Mercy Hospital after the early voting rally.

Julia Conley ·


Fatal Film Set Shooting Followed Outcry by Union Crew Members Over Safety Protocols

"When union members walk off a set about safety concerns, maybe 'hiring scabs' isn’t the solution you think it is."

Julia Conley ·


New Whistleblower Sparks Calls to 'Crack Down on Facebook and All Big Tech Companies'

Hours after another ex-employee filed a formal complaint, reporting broke on internal documents that show the tech giant's failure to address concerns about content related to the 2020 U.S. election.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Catastrophic and Irreparable Harm' to Wolves Averted as Wisconsin Judge Cancels Hunt

"We are heartened by this rare instance of reason and democracy prevailing in state wolf policy," said one conservation expert.

Brett Wilkins ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo