Donald Trump, Rebekah Mercer, Betsy DeVos, Milton Friedman, and the Education Business
President-elect Donald Trump’s plan for US education:
The charter school.
Forced competition for the neighborhood school.
However, Trump does not have an established history for supporting charters and vouchers. He is new to this bandwagon. Nevertheless, as of August 17, 2016, Trump began clearly supporting school choice.
The timing appears to be tied with the involvement of hedge fund heiress Rebekah Mercer as part of his campaign.
Let’s start with Mercer.
As the September 15, 2016, Daily Beast observes:
Trump’s brand spanking new focus on charter schools coincides with the growing clout of the Mercer family in his presidential campaign. On Aug. 17, The Hill reported that billionaire family—who had previously supported Ted Cruz—was behind major staffing shifts that Trump made. Politico and The Washington Post have also explored the Mercers’ substantial influence on him.Rebekah Mercer, who runs the family’s charitable foundation and homeschools her four children, is known as a strong supporter of school-choice policies. Her foundation is a generous supporter of the Moving Picture Institute, which has made movies that support the school-choice movement. Their foundation also gave almost $1 million to the Barry Goldwater Institute from 2011 to 2014. That organization is known nationwide for its role in supporting Arizona’s school-choice policy overhauls. Mercer is also a board member of a conservative think tank called the Manhattan Institute, which has drawn ire from national teachers unions for its support of charter schools.
And as the November 21, 2016, Politico reports:
Rebekah Mercer, a 42-year-old who homeschools her young children, rarely visits Trump Tower and has a relatively narrow official portfolio in Trump’s transition effort. Her influence comes instead from her close relationships with the people and groups carrying out the day-to-day work of building Trump’s administration and political apparatus, some of whom have been the beneficiaries of millions of dollars of funding from her family.Mercer’s influence in Trump’s transition effort — detailed here for the first time — calls into question Trump’s campaign trail boasts that his own fortune, which he used to partly fund his campaign, would make him independent from deep-pocketed donors and special interests he railed against on the campaign trail. …“It would be difficult to overstate Rebekah’s influence in Trump world right now,” said one GOP fundraiser who has worked with Mercer and people in the campaign. “She is a force of nature. She is aggressive, and she makes her point known.” …Beyond Mercer’s own direct line to Trump, she played a pivotal role in persuading him to bring into his inner-most circle several close allies whose efforts her family has financed to the tune of tens of millions of dollars, Donald Trump, Rebekah Mercer, Betsy DeVos, Milton Friedman, and the Education Business | deutsch29: