Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Privatize, Monetize, Weaponize: How the DeVos family devoured Michigan’s schools | Eclectablog

Privatize, Monetize, Weaponize: How the DeVos family devoured Michigan’s schools | Eclectablog:

Privatize, Monetize, Weaponize: How the DeVos family devoured Michigan’s schools


NOTE: This post is a companion piece to this week’s episode of The Sit and Spin Room podcast. Click HERE or scroll to the bottom of the post to listen to the podcast or find it wherever you get your podcasts by searching for “Sit and Spin Room” on iTunes, Stitcher, etc.
The news that President-elect Donald Trump had nominated Michigan billionaire and school choice advocate Betsy DeVos as our next Secretary of Education seemed to take the educational establishment by surprise. But public school teachers and supporters in Michigan weren’t surprised at all. They saw Ms. DeVos’ ascendancy to this lofty position as the final piece in an elaborately constructed jig saw puzzle that the DeVos family has been patiently working on, at their opulent vacation homes and on their luxury yacht, for the last couple of decades. And now that the final piece has been added, we will all soon see the “big picture” of the DeVos’ vision for the future of American education: Privatize, Monetize, Weaponize.
As Michiganders know, Betsy and Dick DeVos are religious and school privatization/choice/voucher zealots. They were humiliated by the twin failures of voucher legislation in 2000 and Dick’s loss in the Michigan governor’s race to Jennifer Granholm in 2006, and these dual humiliations resulted in the development of the DeVos’ “long-game” strategy to achieve their goals of privatizing public education:
  1. destroy the Democrats biggest single source of financial support by gutting teacher unions via Right to Work legislation
  2. capitalize on the elimination of the charter school “cap” to explode the number of non-regulated and for-profit charter schools in the state
  3. use charter schools as the mechanism to “blur the lines” between public and private/religious schools
  4. use this “blurring” of boundaries between church and state to build public support for the redistribution of public funds to religious and private schools
Based on what we know about her beliefs regarding education, Ms. DeVos’ ultimate goal, as I wrote about in a recent Eclectablog post, appears to be:
a two-tiered educational system:
One, a system of elite private and religious schools for well-to-do, mostly White parents with the means to afford expensive tuition payments, staffed by qualified, certified teachers, with a rich curriculum based on face-to-face instruction in clean, safe, well-maintained schools…
The other, a parallel system of “fly by night” virtual and online “schools” that open and close seemingly at random, and for-profit charters operated by scam artists like Northern Michigan’s Dr. Steve Ingersoll, with little to no state or federal regulation or oversight, and a bare bones, “back to the basics” curriculum delivered by unqualified and uncertified “teachers”.
The timeline below offers a narrative sketch of some of the pivotal events and influences that have shaped Ms. DeVos’ views on education over the years, and provides a context for what her policy Privatize, Monetize, Weaponize: How the DeVos family devoured Michigan’s schools | Eclectablog:




LATEST NEWS AND COMMENT FROM EDUCATION

LATEST NEWS AND COMMENT FROM EDUCATION
EduBloggers

Latest News and Comment from Education