Skip to content

Goya CEO, Betsy DeVos and the White House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative

July 15, 2020

When the CEO of Goya, Robert Unanue, meet with President Trump sang his praises, little did he know there would be backlash for his actions.

An informal boycott is now happening against Goya, with a wave of posts on social media about the company.

What hasn’t received as much attention is the reason why the CEO of Goya was meeting with President Trump in the first place. The Trump White House had announced on July 9th, a new program called the White House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative. Based on the White House statement, released on July 9, the Hispanic Prosperity Initiative will, “improve Hispanic Americans’ access to educational and economic opportunities.”

The White House statement lays out a framework for what the initiative is all about, which lists the following items:

(i)    identify and promote educational and workforce development practices that have improved educational, professional, and economic outcomes for Hispanic Americans;

(ii)   encourage private-sector initiatives and foster public-private partnerships that improve access to educational and economic opportunities for Hispanic Americans;

(iii)  develop a national network of individuals, organizations, and communities, with which to consult and collaborate regarding practices and policies that improve access to educational and economic opportunities for Hispanic Americans;

(iv)   monitor the development, implementation, and coordination of Federal Government educational, workforce, and business development programs designed to improve outcomes for Hispanic Americans; and

(v)    advise the President, through the Secretary of Education (Secretary), on issues of importance to Hispanic Americans and policies relating to Hispanic Americans’ prosperity.

This description around “school choice” and “public-private partnerships” should raise lots of red flags for anyone who is concerned about how this initiative could negatively impact the latinx community. In many ways, the language used by the White House fits well within their larger Neo-Liberal Capitalist plans, especially for communities of color. Even more alarming, is the fact that this initiative seems to fall under the control of the Department of Education, which means Betsy DeVos.

As Secretary of Education, DeVos also released a statement on July 9, praising the White House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative, stating: 

“Hispanic families, like so many families across America, want their children educated in personalized ways that meet their unique needs and their family’s values. We know that a great education is also the launching pad to a great job and long-term prosperity. I applaud President Trump’s strong leadership in support of more educational opportunities and greater prosperity for all Hispanic Americans. At the U.S. Department of Education, we’re working to open up new career pathways including apprenticeships and earn-and-learn opportunities, expanding support for Hispanic Serving Institutions, prioritizing new public charter schools in Opportunity Zones, and fighting for education freedom so Hispanic students—and all students—can find their right fit.”

We should also find this statement from DeVos rather alarming, since it clearly signals another push with this administration to lure communities of color into the privatized educational sphere. This strategy of undermining public education first educes funding for public schools, and then provides a whole menu of incentives for charter and other private educational models to use public money.

In Grand Rapids, we can see how the GRPS continues to deal with reduced budgets, which leaves Black and latinx students with less resources and quality teachers. Faced with these dynamics, latinx parents will look to other education opportunities for their children, which often means looking at Charter Schools or other private educational models.

While some might see the Hispanic Prosperity Initiative as nothing more than a ploy to reach latinx voters for Trump, we should be concerned about how the Hispanic Prosperity Initiative will play out and how it will impact students who are currently in the public education system. 

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: