"The former chair of the Michigan Republican Party, DeVos backed a failed ballot initiative in 2000 to amend the state constitution to allow students to use taxpayer dollars to attend nonpublic schools. She heads the American Federation for Children, which was described in Political Research Associates by Rachel Tabachnick:
"The American Federation for Children is now the umbrella organization for two nonprofits that have been at the center of the pro-privatization movement for over a decade. In addition to the renamed Advocates for School Choice, it includes the Alliance for School Choice, formerly known as the Education Reform Council. Both entities received extensive funding from the late John Walton, one of the Wal-Mart heirs. The boards of the two related entities included movement leaders Betsy DeVos–scion of a Christian Right family who married into the Amway home goods fortune–William Oberndorf, Clint Bolick, John Kirtley, Steve Friess (son of Foster Friess), James Leininger, John Walton, and Cory Booker."
if you you care about the future of public education, write your senators. Get active. Join the Network for Public Education. Write letters to the editor. Resist!
Our new Secretary-of-Education designate Betsy DeVos has an Ohio problem, writes Stephen Dyer of Progress Ohio.
"DeVos has a bad history here in Ohio. In 2006, she allowed David Brennan to launder campaign cash through her All Children Matter PAC. That led to the largest fine ever levied against a candidate or PAC by the Ohio Elections Commission -- $5.2 million. By all accounts, that fine was larger than all fines put together.
DeVos is an avowed school choice champion. She has been politically active to elect pro-school choice candidates around the country. And there is little question she would continue to push for more vouchers and charter schools as Secretary.
However, there's not a great track record with federal charter school investment. Just in Ohio, we found that about 1/3 of all the money sent to grow high-quality charters went to charters that closed shortly after receiving the federal funding, or never opened in the first place.
In all other federal grant programs, only 2% of the entities failed or failed to open."
DeVos is an ideologue and extremist. She will destroy public education in four years as Secretary. She might be ignored as a garden-variety crank except for the fact that she is a billionaire and her family gives millions to Republican candidates and to their favorite conservative causes. The Republican senators will fawn on her at her hearings. Will the Democratic candidates stand up for public education and fight her nomination?
We cannot retreat in despair. DeVos as Secretary of Education is NOT good news for public education but we must show the children and their families that we will fight for them. In the weeks to come the BATs Board of Directors will be in discussions about how we continue and amp up our fight to save public education and to create strong sustainable public schools for all children. We cannot fight without your support. So, please consider donating to BATs at our website http://www.badassteacher.org/ – you can give a one-time donation or become a $10 a month subscriber. We need YOU to help US fight for public education.
The BATS released the following statement on Trump's selection of Betsy DeVos:
PRESS RELEASE The Badass Teachers Association FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: MARLA KILFOYLE, Executive Director BATs MELISSA TOMLINSON, Asst. Executive Director BATs firstname.lastname@example.org 516-987-4405
BATs Board of Directors Statement on Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education
The Badass Teachers Association, a network of over 80,000 teachers and education activists throughout the United States, are appalled that Betsy DeVos has been selected Secretary of Education. We want to be clear as an organization, we will mobilize on a national level, at the state level, and the local level to STOP her agenda to dismantle public education in this nation. We will fight for our communities to have strong, sustainable, and well-funded public schools.
Betsy DeVos brings NO education experience, but she does bring a disturbing record of attempting to dismantle public education. She has used her family money and influence to push an agenda that will hand public tax dollars over to unaccountable for-profit corporations; she will promote vouchers schemes that have, according to research, no value in improving education, and she will funnel public money to church-sponsored schools. Students and families across the nation will pay for her lack of understanding that it is the responsibility of elected officials, and the public, to provide a quality public education for all children.
"Public education is not a business. Public education is not a competition. In competition and business there are winners and losers. Public education should be about nurturing our most valuable resource - our children. Our children deserve a Secretary of Education who is an advocate for public education not privatization." - Marla Kilfoyle, Executive Director BATs
“Children whose parents lack the means or ability to select a school and provide transportation for a child to a school far away from their neighborhood are left with little “choice.” This will certainly be harmful to the most vulnerable children and families and will fall especially hard on those in poverty and those in isolated rural communities”. - Kathleen Jeskey, Oregon BAT and BAT Co-Director of State Administrators.
"Trump's choice for Secretary of Education solidifies and makes tangible the very real concerns many in Public Education have about the disrespect shown and the callous disregard for our profession. It appears that the President-elect has doubled down on the efforts to privatize and commodify one of the cornerstones of democracy. Trump has in fact spat in the face of all who work tirelessly for the many children in public schools throughout the country by appointing someone with little regard for the work we do. As a public school teacher, I am committed now more than ever to bringing attention to the many challenges we face in trying to save Public Education from the greedy hands that seek to profit from our children and our communities. With this selection, Trump has revealed his true feelings and intentions when it comes to the students, families, and educators that comprise our Public Schools." - Gus Morales, BAT Board of Director Member
"Great! A Republican mega-donor who never held a job in her life will be the next Education Secretary. She's a perfect choice for Trump's plan to bribe state government to increase charter and voucher schools with our tax dollars." - Steven Singer, Director BATs Research, and Blogging.
" Why on Earth would someone who has no experience working with and for the public in our school system be appointed to oversee the same system they never worked within. Is the goal of this administration to improve Public Education or is it to pilfer the coffers that should be allocated for all the children of our country. This is unfathomable." - Becca Ritchie, NEA BAT Caucus Chair
"After the constant failure to deliver the promised results of improvements and closing of achievement gaps, BATs consider such a nomination as unacceptable. Public schools and teachers have seen and suffered for almost two decades the same dogmatic ideology she professes and its destructive policies." - Sergio Flores, BATs Board of Directors Member
"My teacher friends here in Michigan know that the choice of Betsy DeVos as the next Secretary of Education shows just how much we have to be concerned about in a Trump administration. Ms. DeVos is not just a charter cheerleader--her goal is to destroy our system of public education and turn a public good into a private profit center. Based on her track record in Michigan, we can expect an alarming lack of transparency and an unbecoming level of arrogance coming from a DeVos-run Department of Education. We must all be vigilant, and make a move from public school advocates to activists. It's that important." - Mitchell Robinson, associate professor and chair of music education - Michigan State University
BATs around the country will continue to advocate and fight at the federal, state, and local level to sustain our public school system and to make sure that every child in this country has a strong, sustainable community public school in their neighborhood. Betsy DeVos is unqualified and unfit to be Secretary of Education. The children, families, and teachers of this nation deserve better.