Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Betsy DeVos Wants to Use America's Schools to Build "God's Kingdom" | Mother Jones

Betsy DeVos Wants to Use America's Schools to Build "God's Kingdom" | Mother Jones:

BETSY DEVOS WANTS TO USE AMERICA'S SCHOOLS TO BUILD "GOD'S KINGDOM"
Trump's education secretary pick has spent a lifetime working to end public education as we know it.


It's Christmastime in Holland, Michigan, and the northerly winds from Lake Macatawa bring a merciless chill to the small city covered in deep snow. The sparkly lights on the trees in downtown luxury storefronts illuminate seasonal delicacies from the Netherlands, photos and paintings of windmills and tulips, wooden shoes, and occasional "Welkom Vrienden" (Welcome Friends) signs.

Meet the New Kochs: The DeVos Clan's Plan to Defund the Left

Dutch immigrants from a conservative Protestant sect chose this "little Holland" in western Michigan more than 150 years ago in part for its isolation. They wanted to keep "American" influences away from their people and their orthodox ways of running their community. Many of their traditions have lasted generations. Until recently, Holland restaurants couldn't sell alcohol on Sundays. Residents are not allowed to yell or whistle between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. If city officials decide that a fence or a shed signals decay, they might tear it down, and mail the owner a bill. Grass clippings longer than eight inches have to be removed and composted, and snow must be shoveled as soon as it lands on the streets. Most people say rules like these help keep Holland prosperous, with low unemployment, low crime rates, good city services, excellent schools, and Republicans at almost every government post. It's also where President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for education secretary, billionaire philanthropist Betsy DeVos, grew up.

Sitting in his spacious downtown office suite, Arlyn Lanting is eager to talk about his longtime friend, who will begin confirmation hearings Tuesday to become the nation's top-ranking education official. DeVos is married to Amway scion Dick DeVos (whose father, Richard DeVos, is worth more than $5 billion, according to Forbes) and is seen as a controversial choice because of her track record of supporting vouchers for private, religious schools; right-wing Christian groups like the Foundation for Traditional Values, which has pushed to soften the separation of church and state; and organizations like Michigan's Mackinac Center for Public Policy, which has championed the privatization of the Betsy DeVos Wants to Use America's Schools to Build "God's Kingdom" | Mother Jones:



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