The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Betsy DeVos:
A Choice for Gutting Public Schools

Jan 9, 2017

Donald Trump’s choice for Education Secretary is Betsy DeVos.

For 30 years DeVos has pushed for the privatization of public schools in the state of Michigan. And she has had the support of Democratic governors, as well as Republicans. She pushed for charter school laws in Michigan that are the loosest in the country, opening the door for 80 percent of Michigan charters to be run by for-profit corporations. Michigan now sends a billion dollars to those charter schools every single year–money being drained away from public school districts, especially those in Detroit, Flint and Grand Rapids.

And she helped block any attempt to regulate those charters, allowing them to stay open even when they are shown to be poor.

Michigan’s rank has plummeted on national reading and math test results.

Even more than charters, DeVos is a big supporter of school vouchers, which would very directly allow public school money to be taken and used for private school tuition. She poured money into a Michigan ballot initiative to establish vouchers in 2000, which voters overwhelmingly voted against.

DeVos presents herself as a defender of choice for children’s education. No, she’s anti-choice! The people of Michigan chose. They voted her proposal down. But that doesn’t matter to her.

DeVos is hostile to public education in part because she thinks it has “displaced” the church as the center of communities. She sees the fight against public schools as part of her battle to “advance God’s kingdom.” Her school choice plan would especially benefit religious schools, which could then get public money to push their agendas.

In order to push her religious agenda and make money off the schools, DeVos wants to privatize education. And that fits perfectly with Trump’s goals. Candidate Trump proposed taking 20 million dollars in federal funding and steering it into a nationwide voucher system. The 20 million dollars most likely would come from Title I money that goes to districts serving the country’s poorest children.

So much for caring about what would be good for people. Trump and DeVos only care about what will be good for business and for a narrow religious agenda.