Sunday, February 26, 2017

Betsy DeVos is Michigan's worst export: Sam Inglot |

Betsy DeVos is Michigan's worst export: Sam Inglot |

Betsy DeVos is Michigan's worst export

By Sam Inglot
Watching Betsy DeVos' face plastered across every TV and website for weeks on end as she slogged her way to become Secretary of Education was like reliving a nightmare we've experienced in Michigan for years. And it's a something that folks in Pennsylvania should wake up to as well.
When a friend on the East Coast sent me the piece written by Matthew Brouillette, formerly of the Commonwealth Foundation, the Betsy DeVos he was describing was not the DeVos I knew.
Brouillette said DeVos "has fought to improve conventional public schools while simultaneously expanding alternative school options."
That came to news to me, as someone who was born and raised in Michigan and attended public schools in the Great Lakes State my entire life, I've only known and seen how DeVos's name is held in contempt when crossed with public education.
I then realized I knew little about Commonwealth Foundation, and after a quick search, it all became clear.
The DeVos family has had their hands deep in Michigan politics for decades, particularly when it comes to education policy. The results have us dismayed that Betsy DeVos has now been exported to the rest of the USA.
Over the years, the DeVos family used their billions to influence a broad range of education and labor policies -- to the detriment of public school students, teachers, parents and working families.
But the DeVos family has not been idle outside of Michigan. They've been active propping up corporate-backed, right-wing organizations across the US in their bid for power and control.
Commonwealth Foundation is a member of the State Policy Network and a sister organization to the Michigan-based Mackinac Center for Public Policy, an organization we've lambasted here in Michigan for their free market run amok vision for the future.
The State Policy Network (SPN) is a right-wing "think tank" outfit that pushes for Right to Work laws, profit-driven charter schools, and against clean energy. The DeVos family, including Betsy, have deep ties to SPN and have backed the organization with their dollars and political capital.
Because of DeVos and the Mackinac Center, Michigan gives $1 billion a year to charter schools with little accountability or oversight. You can be sure, this is the goal of all SPN affiliates, including Commonwealth.  
In fact, the Commonwealth Foundation backed a DeVos-supported bill for school vouchers in 2011, which was similar toBetsy DeVos is Michigan's worst export: Sam Inglot |

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