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Acton Radio show features 3 Billionaires talking about Education

July 13, 2021

The Acton Institute for the Study of Religious and Liberty hosted a discussion on June 30th, for their radio show called Acton line, which included 3 billionaires – Sal Kahn, Jeff Sandefer and Betsy DeVos.

The discussion that these 3 billionaires had about education was what one might expect from people who have tremendous economic privilege. Essentially, what they all were saying is that the traditional approach to education is wrong and that the more we can make education centered on individual students and the more creative we can be with educational approaches, the better off students will be.

Betsy DeVos argues that if parents had the resources to send their children to a school of their choosing, then that would make a huge difference, especially since, “we provide too many resources now in a system that doesn’t work.” When asked about educational models that works, DeVos conveniently cites only private school examples,  including her husband school, the West Michigan Aviation Academy. 

Another example that Betsy cited was Journey Academy, which is located in Ada, Michigan, where 2 of her grand children attend. Journey Academy is a Christian School and is one of the 250 Acton Academies that exist around the world. Acton Academies were founded by the moderator of the Acton radio show, Jeff Sandefer.

Sandefer had made his money from an energy firm he started, Sandefer Capitol. Sandefer also created the Acton School of Business, which features all white educators. Sandefer calls Texas his home, where he acted as an economic advisor for former Governor Rick Perry. Sandefer was also on the board of the Texas Public Policy Forum, which is a Koch-funded entity, that pushes policies that are anti-union, pro-privatization and all of the usual Neo-Liberal economic policies. 

Getting back to the Journey Academy, where Betsy DeVos’ grand children attended, it is worth noting that one of the main educators is Antonio Tendero. Tendero used to be Director of the Middle School at Potter’s House, a school that the Dick & Betsy DeVos Foundation has channel hundreds of thousands of dollars to. In addition, Tendero was also part of the Stockbridge Boiler Room, a westside Conservative Christian entity that has also been the beneficiary of lots of DeVos money. 

As we suspected, even though Betsy DeVos is no longer in Washington, DC, she has continued to push private, charter and faith-based systems of education and to undermine any and all forms of public education, along with attacking public teacher unions. This is what Betsy DeVos did for 30 years prior to being the US Secretary of Education, and this is what she will no doubt continue to promote, now that she is back in the private sector.

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