MADISON, Wis. — In an ironic twist, a candidate running to oversee the operations of Wisconsin’s public schools is praising Michigan billionaire heiress Betsy DeVos, who has doled out millions of dollars to support taking money from public schools to fund private schools. In response to DeVos being announced as Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of Education, John Humphries issued a statement praising the billionaire who has no formal, professional experience in education, no record of even attending a public school herself and who sent her four children to private schools.
“John Humphries has wasted no time in pledging his allegiance to the private school voucher cartel,” commented One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “He’s obviously more interested in the campaign cash of the special interests who want to push more tax dollars to less accountable private schools than what’s best for Wisconsin public schools and students.”
DeVos has spent millions of dollars of her family fortune to buy-off Republican politicians like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and to fund her American Federation for Children (AFC), which has spent nearly $5 million in Wisconsin elections since 2010. Led by disgraced former Republican Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen, AFC has flooded TV airwaves and mailboxes with misleading campaign advertising that never mentions private school vouchers to try to elect politicians willing to spend tax dollars on private schools.
In her home state of Michigan, DeVos has been the driving force behind a vast expansion of charter schools that are overwhelmingly run by private, for-profit operators. The results have been disastrous as the state rankings on math and reading scores have cratered. An “unreasonably high” number of these publicly-funded, privately-run schools were found to be among the state’s lowest performing, according to news reports of a 2015 federal review. DeVos also worked to kill legislation that would have cracked down on failing privately-run charter schools.
Ross concluded, “Betsy DeVos underwriting campaigns to steal our public school dollars and send them to unaccountable private schools disqualifies her from being our Secretary of Education. And Humphries shameless pandering for a share of her fortune for his campaign exposes his willingness to put political expediency before public education.”