Accountability Betsy DeVos Charter Schools Corporate Reformers Education Industry Privatization Trump Vouchers

Peter Greene: Who is the Real Betsy DeVos?

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Peter Greene has done his homework and he walks us through the career of Betsy DeVos in this illuminating post. Open the piece to read it in full and to see the links to Peter’s research.

 

She is close to Jeb Bush. She and her billionaire family fund ALEC, the far-right group that drafts model legislation to privatize all government functions. She is a supporter of Scott Walker, scourge of unions. She funded the campaign for the emergency manager law, which allows the governor in Michigan to suspend democracy.

 

* While it may seem that DeVos is a charterization fan, what she would really like is vouchers, with the prospect of shuffling public tax dollars to private religious schools, new for-profit charters, and pretty much anything except public schools.

 

* While some choice charter fans call for a robust marketplace balanced with careful oversight to stomp on bad actors, DeVos prefers to let the wisdom of the markets rule and for little or no state or federal oversight be the rule. This has interesting implications for ESSA; the new law includes calls for federal oversight, but if the fed’s attitude is, “Yeah, whatever, do what you want,” the options available to states will become really large and, in some cases, really scary.

 

* In keeping with her Station in Life, DeVos has never held down an actual job. She graduated around 1980 with a business and poli sci degree, and a little less than a decade later she and her husband set up an investment management group for her to run. In the meantime, she became active as a political operative and party leader in Michigan.

 

* It will be no surprise that DeVos has never worked in education, and her children never attended (as near as I can discover) public school.

 

* If you can stomach it, here is Dick DeVos explaining how public education can be starved, broken, and replaced with a money-making business.

 

DeVos’s feelings about Common Core are not clear, really. She’s a friend of Jeb, but she also runs with the hard right “kill it with” fire Common Core haters. No question that more stories will come tumbling out– as they do, pay attention to folks in Michigan who have been getting beaten up by this family for decades.

 

But she would rather privatize public education than help it, she would like to make teachers unions a thing of the past, and she has a deep sense of her own rightness. Chalkbeat also offers the observation that DeVos is used to buying her way into policy victories, and as Secretary she wouldn’t be able to just write a check to get everyone to do her will. Or maybe she could. We don’t really know if that’s not okay in Trumplandia or not.

 

Well, we knew it wouldn’t be pretty. Now we can start to get a sense of just what kind of ugly it’s going to be.

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