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Connecting the dots on the School Choice Week event and the DeVos family obsession with destroying Public Education

February 13, 2022

A couple of weeks ago, we wrote an article about an event organized by the group Let MI Kids Learn. The event was a panel discussion, featuring Betsy DeVos, which also included several carefully selected guests, some of which were directly connected to Betsy DeVos and her family. One such guest was Cameron Pickford, who is the Communications Director for the DeVos-created and DeVos funded Michigan Freedom Fund.

During the previous week, on Thursday, January 27th, the group Parent Advocates for Choice in Education (PACE), held an event inside the Lansing State Capital for what they called National School Choice Week. The DeVos-created group, the Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP) stated:

Last week hundreds of teachers, students, parents and activists swarmed the state Capital in Lansing to celebrate National School Choice Week and to celebrate the brighter futures, the hope, and the opportunities that can happen when we prioritize students in our schools, not bloated bureaucracies.

People did not swarm the State Capital, since they had a permit for inside the Capital, with a podium and a PA system for their speakers. 

The first speaker at the National School Choice Week event was Amy Dunlap, who teaches with the Michigan Connections Academy.  The Michigan Connections Academy is an online charter school, even though Dunlap was identified as a public school educator. There was also a Catholic School Student talking about the benefits of attended a private school and Jessie Bagos, a mother who is part of a lawsuit filed by the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation against the State of Michigan.  

The featured speaker at the event was Corey DeAngelis, who is the national director of research at the American Federation for Children. The American Federation of Children is a national group that was started in part by Dick & Betsy DeVos, with several million dollars coming from the DeVos family over the years, as the American Federation of Children is somewhat of a clearing house for the so-called school choice movement.

The National School Choice Week event was co-hosted by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a far right Think Tank that has also received millions in contributions from the DeVos family, along with several DeVos family members serving on the Board of Directors over the years.  

There was also a representative from Let MI Kids Learn at the National School Choice Week event. The representative used the opportunity to talk about their ballot initiative, a ballot initiative, which has received at least $300,000 from the DeVos family, according to data from the most recent campaign finance deadline.

The Let MI Kids Learn group also shares something else in common with the Parent Advocates for Choice in Education. They share the same address. Both the Parent Advocates for Choice in Education and Let MI Kids Learn groups have as their address, 2145 Commons Parkway, Okemos, MI 48864. 

Interestingly enough, this is the exact same address for the Unlock Michigan campaign, which was a GOP campaign designed to oppose the early Stay at Home orders from Gov. Whitmer. But wait, there is still more at the 2145 Commons Parkway, Okemos address. That address is also the location for Doster Law Offices, PLLC. Doster Law Officers was founded by Eric Doster, who was longest-serving General Counsel in the history of the Michigan Republican Party, having served in this position from 1992 to 2017. This was the same time period that Betsy DeVos was the Michigan Republican Party Chair. Doster’s wife, Mary Doster, is a GOP insider who is treasurer of the nonprofit Michigan Redistricting Resource Institute. Mary Doster is also listed as the Principle Officer with the group Parent Advocates for Choice in Education.

So it seems that there are several groups that not only share the same address, they share the same ideological framework, they all receive lots of funding from the DeVos family and they have clear connections to Michigan GOP insiders. Plus, all of these groups are committed to dismantling Public Eduction as we know it.

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