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Betsy DeVos created group Great Lakes Education Project, pushes misinformation about Schools and COVID

April 12, 2021

Over the past few months, the Executive Director of the Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP), Beth DeShone, has been engaging in misinformation, particularly as it relates to Governor Whitmer. DeShone has been with GLEP since 2011, but prior to that she was a campaign consultant for Dick DeVos when he ran for Governor in 2006.

In March, DeShone wrote this:  

Earlier this month, Governor Gretchen Whitmer wielded her veto pen as a weapon against Michigan students. In a brazen and broadside attack against local kids, she senselessly vetoed $87 million in critical COVID-19 relief funding for Michigan schools, and slashed another $10 million earmarked for summer school programs.

What GLEP doesn’t tell you is that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed HB 4048 releasing federal COVID relief funding for schools as laid out below, but announced she was vetoing HB 4049 – the bill limiting gubernatorial epidemic powers around school closure and athletics which the Republican Legislature tied to the release of $840 million in those federal funds.  You can also read exactly why Whitmer vetoed HB 4049, by going to this link.

In addition, according to the Michigan Education Association:

GOP leaders in the House and Senate have attached strings to hundreds of millions of dollars in COVID relief funding sent by Congress in December – withholding disbursement of more than $840 million unless Gov. Gretchen Whitmer relinquishes executive power to close schools and shut down athletic events in a health crisis. The Legislature also is refusing to supply districts with lower Title I enrollment (who didn’t benefit as greatly from federal relief fuding) up to $450 per-pupil in additional state funding if they did not offer at least 20 hours of in-person learning by March 22 – in effect, punishing communities devastated by the pandemic by denying them the money needed to fund safety equipment and protocols.

Then on April 9, the GLEP Executive Director said the following in response to Governor Whitmer’s public address on the same day:

“The last time Governor Whitmer suggested closing things for a few weeks, her lockdown lasted a year.  Now she’s suggesting closing schools again just as the spring assessment window opens, with billions of federal dollars waiting to help students and schools. While students are locked out of classrooms, we’ve seen too many fall into a crisis of despair.  Our kids deserve better from Governor Whitmer and the public school bureaucracy.  They deserve safely open classrooms.”  

Again, DeShone engages in misinformation, since Gov. Whitmer was not ordering the shift from in person learning to online learning, but merely encouraged it, especially considering that the COVID vaccine is not available for 16 and under, which would include most of the K-12 school students. 

On April 5th, the Bridge Magazine reported that COVID cases among school students had gone up 47% in a two-week period, resulting in numerous school districts going back to online learning. The same goes with Michigan High School sports, where athletes who have contracted COVID is also on the rise. Again, the Bridge Magazine wrote:

More than 100 boys and girls high school basketball teams — about one in 12 in the state tournaments —  had to drop out of the first round because of positive COVID tests or quarantines, according to the Michigan High School Athletic Association.

The Great Lakes Education Project can complain all they want, but to claim that sending children back to school is what they deserve, just doesn’t sync with the recent data about the increase of school age COVID cases, nor the fact that Michigan in the worst in the country over the last month regarding COVID infection rates. Leave it to a DeVos created and funded entity to make life worst for students and families across the state. 

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