Wal-Mart nonprofit gives state charter association $15 million

The Walton Family Foundation announced a $15 million grant to the California Charter Schools Association Tuesday that will be used for adding 100,000 more charter students statewide over the next three years.

The announcement marks the largest grant the association has ever received and the largest of its kind ever provided by the foundation, an Arkansas-based nonprofit established by the founders of Wal-Mart.

As envisioned, 20,000 of the 100,000 new charter students would come from Los Angeles. If the plan proves successful, Los Angele Unified would have 18 percent of total student population attending a charter.

The foundation has also contributed about $2 million to L.A. Unified over the past two years to help develop a teacher and school evaluation system that includes student achievement data.

The charter association, which receives 60 percent of its budget from philanthropic support including the Bill and Melinda Gates and Broad foundations, helps individuals start charter schools and acts as a consulting and lobby firm for existing charters.

Parents really want to be able to exercise choice, and with this grant, we're going to be able to make that happen at whole new levels of impact," said Jed Wallace, president of the association, in an online video available on the group's website.

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