WALMART heirs money influences black charter schools debate.

Amid fierce debate over whether schools are good for black students, the heirs to the Walmart company fortune have been working to make inroads with advocates and influential leaders in the black community.

The Walton family as one of the leading supporters of America's charter school movement, is spreading its financial support to prominent and like-minded leaders, from grassroots groups focused on education to mainstream national organizations such as the United Negro College Fund and according to an Associated Press analysis of tax filings and nonprofits grant data.

''Those closest to the challenge often have the best solution,'' Marc Sternberg, who leads the Walton Family Foundation's education efforts, said in a prepared statement.

Charter schools, which are publicly funded and privately operated, are often located in urban areas with large black populations, intended as alternatives to struggling city schools.

Black enrollment in charters has doubled over the course of a decade, to more than 760,000 students as of 2015-16, according to the latest federal data.

 But the rise has also been marked by concerns about racial segregation, inconsistent student outcomes, and the hollowing out of neighborhood public schools. [Agencies]


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