Meet Trump’s Public Ed Wrecking Ball
Billionaire Betsy DeVos is radical privatizer with no prior experience as public school parent or educator.
Donald Trump’s nomination of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education could be a devastating blow for American public schools.
“DeVos’s agenda is to break the public education system, not educate kids, and replace it with a for-profit model,” John Austin, president of the Michigan State Board of Education, told the Detroit Free Press after her appointment was announced Nov. 23. 23. “It’s like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse, and hand-feeding it schoolchildren.”
DeVos is the daughter of a wealthy auto-parts manufacturer who funded Christian-right causes, and her brother Erik Prince founded the mercenary company Blackwater. She married Dick DeVos, the billionaire heir to the Amway fortune. The two, based in Grand Rapids, Mich., have used their personal wealth to encourage the expansion of charter schools, to prevent any government oversight of their use of public funds or regulation of the quality of education they provide and to aggressively promote the use of vouchers to let taxpayer funds pay for private and parochial schools.
She would be the first Secretary of Education who never attended a public school or sent her own children to one. She has never worked as a teacher, served on a school board, or held any position in government.
DeVos is an even more radical privatizer than either Arne Duncan or John King, President Barack Obama’s education secretaries. Both Duncan and King favored expanding the charter sector, offering these publicly funded, privately run schools more than $1.5 billion in federal grants between 2010 and 2015. The Department of Education’s Race to the Top program offered states the chance of winning millions more if they let the number of charter schools expand. Many states, including New York, then raised their charter caps.
The DeVos family is among the leading donors to the Republican Party. According to an analysis by OpenSecrets.org, they have given at least $20.2 million to GOP candidates, party committees, PACs, and super PACs. They also finance far-right groups that promote climate-change denial, oppose marriage equality, and want to cripple labor unions, such as Michigan’s Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Another group they support, the Acton Institute, argues for the abolition of child-labor laws.
“I have decided to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying Meet Trump’s Public Ed Wrecking Ball | The Indypendent: