The Walton Family Foundation announced today that it will donate $20 million to the non-profit Teach For America, the celebrated national organization that hires and trains recent college graduates to teach in rural and urban schools for two years.
The money will pay for nearly 4,000 new teachers across the country over two years. The Los Angeles branch will receive about $3 million of that - enough to cover the costs for about 340 teachers in the first year.
“It’s obviously going to make sure that we have a really strong and sustainable organization here in Los Angeles over the long term," said Lida Jennings, interim executive director of Teach for America - Los Angeles. "It’s going to allow us to bring a lot of really strong, really bright, smart, new teachers into Los Angeles schools."
Most of them will go to charters - independent schools that receive government funding. Last year, about 90 percent of the incoming corps of Teach for America teachers in Los Angeles went to charters. This year, Jennings said that percentage would remain the same.
“We will have about 30, 35 teachers that will be teaching within district – within LAUSD – but the large majority of our current corps will be teaching in charters," she said.
The Walton family is best-known for founding Walmart, but the foundation is also well-known in the education world for being strong a advocate of school choice. Charters are a big component of the school choice movement.
The Walton Family Foundation is Teach For America’s largest private supporter. It has donated more than $100 million to the group since 1993. More than $10 million of that money has gone to the Los Angeles program.