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Billionaire Dick DeVos complains that more public money isn’t funding his charter school

November 4, 2019

When you are a billionaire in this society, 99% of the time you get what you want. This has been the case for the DeVos family members, like Dick DeVos.

Last week, MLive provided a platform for Dick DeVos to have a public temper tantrum, since the he finds it unacceptable that more public money isn’t channeled to him and his friends and their precious charter schools.

The headline of the MLive article read, Dick DeVos calls governor’s veto of charter school funding increase ‘unacceptable’

Dick DeVos, who owns and operates the West Michigan Aviation Academy, crafted a press release calling Governor Whitmer’s decision to not include increased funding for Charter Schools in the education budget. DeVos was quoted in the MLive article are saying, “Our students deserve better and should not be used as political pawns.” Such a statement would have any honest reporter burst out in laughter, considering how Dick & Betsy DeVos have devoted the past three decades in Michigan into making students political pawns for their own gains.

Dick DeVos, Betsy DeVos and the rest of the DeVos family members have been working on changing education policy in the state of Michigan for nearly 30 years. Here are just some of the ways they have been undermining public education in Michigan:

  • According to the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, the DeVos family has contributed $25 million in the past two election cycles alone, and most of those candidates have supported charter schools and the re-directing of public money to charter schools.
  • Dick & Betsy DeVos led a ballot effort that would allow for school vouchers in 2000. That effort lost on a vote of 2,767, 320 (NO) to 1,235,533 (YES), meaning the public voted more than 2 to 1 to reject such a plan
  • Dick & Betsy DeVos created the Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP) shortly after the defeat of the 2000 Pro-School Voucher ballot initiative. GLEP is essentially a pro-charter school front group that lobbies the Michigan legislature on education policy and has been crafting education policy for nearly 2 decades, policy that promotes a Neo-Liberal Education framework.
  • Great Lakes Education Project also supported a 2011 law that lifted Michigan’s cap on charter schools. Under the law, the number of authorized charter schools was raised to 300 through 2012 and 500 through 2014, after which the cap was lifted.
  • Despite two decades of charter-school growth, the state’s overall academic progress has failed to keep pace with other states: Michigan ranks near the bottom for fourth- and eighth-grade math and fourth-grade reading on a nationally representative test, nicknamed the “Nation’s Report Card.” Notably, the state’s charter schools scored worse on that test than their traditional public-school counterparts, according to an analysis of federal data. (According to an article from Politico, just before Betsy DeVos became the Secretary of education.)
  • The DeVos Family, through the Great Lakes Education Project, has been one of the main political contributors in the fight over Detroit Public Schools

It should be acknowledged that Dick DeVos was not the only voice, opposing Governor Whitmer’s decision on education funding. Other voices that were quoted in the MLive article were Dan Quisenberry – president of the Michigan Association of Public School Academies, Leah Nixon – director of communications for National Heritage Academies, and Rob Kimball – associate vice president for charter schools for Grand Valley State University.

Curiously, there was not one single voice defending the Governor’s decision, no one from the Governor’s office, no one from Michigan Public Schools and no one from the Michigan Education Association.

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