“We are trying to tear down the mindset that assigns students to a school based solely on the zip code of their family’s home. We advocate instead for as much freedom as possible. One long-term trend that’s working in our favor is technology. It seems to me that, in the internet age, the tendency to equate “education” with “specific school buildings” is going to be greatly diminished.”
And, if you are hellbent on making education a profitable business, as many of DeVos’s allies are, moving education online eliminates the expense of a brick and mortar building, as well as cutting down on salaries for teachers and support staff. Instead of a teacher, there is a tutor, who might even be automated. Assessments of the student are done via software that gives rewards for student success.
Another strong supporter of online learning is the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC has offered templates for legislation on public education that supports privatization at every level, via charter schools, increased testing, online learning, eliminating democratically elected school boards, and limiting the power of local school districts.
It’s learning on the cheap with no bothersome public oversight.
Dick and Betsy DeVos’ foundation The American Federation for Children (AFC) is a funder of ALEC. The group hired former Republican Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen as a lobbyist. In 2006 Jensen was convicted of three felonies and a misdemeanor stemming from abuse of his office. He is now an advisor to the Trump administration.
Jensen was on ALEC’s Education Task Force and proposed bills to ALEC on behalf of AFC that were adopted as “model” legislation for state legislatures. One proposal, the “Education Savings Account Act,” creates financial incentives for families to take their children out of public school and enroll them in for-profit charter schools. The AFC has also worked with ALEC to draft model legislation promoting “school choice.”