JAMES ROBERTS: Betsy: “We expect something in return …”

To the Editor,

Ben DeGrow of the Mackinac Policy Center stated in Wednesday’s Pioneer that Betsy Devos’ confirmation hearing would be her “most significant test.”

It should be, but it won’t be.

It should be, because Devos, Mr Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education, is one of America’s most well-known advocates for school privatization. The notion that she is one of the best possible persons to oversee PUBLIC education in our country would be mystifying, not to say ludicrous, if there weren’t so many other foxes nominated to head most of the other federal henhouses.

It won’t be, because Betsy Devos is a right-wing billionaire extremist with name recognition. That weighs heavy in the balance, unlike her complete absence of ANY experience in the field of education. Weighing even more heavily will be the millions of dollars given to right-wing PACs and candidates over several decades of Devos family “lobbying.”

Indeed, 8 of the 12 Republicans that constitute the majority of the committee that will be voting on her nomination have been beneficiaries of their largess, receiving “campaign contributions” from 5 PACs the Devoses have helped to fund — Alticor, the Senate Leadership Committee, the Freedom Partners Action Fund, the ESA Fund, and the Conservative Solutions PAC.

The Devos family has also contributed nearly $400,000 directly to 5 members of the GOP majority on the Committee. If you think those 8 votes aren’t already in the bag, I’ve got a bridge for sale that you may be interested in.

Remarkably, Betsy Devos herself has pointedly acknowledged the purpose of all this generosity, stating: “I have decided to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying influence. Now I simply concede the point … we do expect something in return.”

It’s time to collect, I guess.

The effects her appointment would likely have on education are foreshadowed by the disastrous consequences brought about in our own state by the Devos advocacy of “school choice.”

These are much too far-reaching for a letter of this length. I refer interested readers to Stephen Henderson’s revealing articles in the Sept. 3 and Dec. 3 editions of the Detroit Free Press.

Finally, as is ever the case, whenever the Mackinac Policy Center weighs in, you can bet it’s got something to do with moving public dollars [our taxes] into private pockets [usually already full of money].

Privatizing public education is, of course, no exception, and it would be beyond shocking if the MPC had any reservations about the nomination of Billionaire Betsy. Especially since the MPC itself has received major funding through the Devos Foundation.

James Roberts

Big Rapids

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