Rep. Ed Lindsey, with the help of some deep-pocketed friends, is one of those leading the charge for more publicly funded charter schools across Georgia. In 2012, Lindsey chaired Families for Better Public Schools, a political committee heavily funded by for-profit charter school interests to push for another avenue to launch such schools. He co-sponsored the House resolution placing a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot and, in 2013, authored a so-called “parent trigger” bill that would give families a way to virtually force conversion of a low-achieving school to a charter.
The committee’s single biggest funder, Walmart heiress Alice Walton, donated $600,000. (The Walton Family Foundation has given millions more since 2009 to other pro-charter groups here: $2.7 million to Georgia Charter Schools Association, $450,000 to the Georgia Family Education and Research Council and $135,000 to the Georgia Public Policy Foundation.) The latter foundation works with the Conservative Policy Leadership Institute, chaired by Lindsey, to “train Georgia’s leaders to shape the public policy debate and to govern by adhering to conservative principles.” Its key policy areas include choice and accountability in education.