MADISON, Wis. — The worst governor for public education in state history, Scott Walker, is hosting the worst Secretary of the Department of Education in American history, Betsy DeVos, today as she visits a technical college and a public middle school in Wisconsin.
“These two deserve each other,” commented One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “No one has done more to undermine public education in Wisconsin than Scott Walker. Meanwhile Betsy DeVos has underwritten it with hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from she and her family and abhorrent policies in her position as Donald Trump’s Education Secretary.”
Ross noted the irony of kicking off her visit with a stop at a state technical college. In his first budget as Governor, Walker cut the state technical college budget by 30 percent. For her part, DeVos has coddled the predatory for profit college industry that time and again has left students deep in debt with worthless degrees.
The tour continues with a stop at a public middle school. Both have teamed up to undermine public education and actively worked to divert public education dollars to support less accountable private schools through private school voucher programs.
In her home state of Michigan, DeVos underwrote a massive campaign to privatize public education. The scheme has been roundly criticized for draining resources from public education and leaving the most vulnerable students in failing schools.
In Wisconsin, Walker has dramatically expanded the voucher program. The data shows that the majority of students participating in the expanded private school voucher program were already attending private schools. But under Walker’s policies, resources are now being diverted directly away from public schools to support less accountable private schools.
Walker and DeVos are quite familiar with each other outside of their official duties. Betsy DeVos and her family have poured nearly $600,000 directly into the campaign coffers of Wisconsin political candidates, including hundreds of thousands of dollars to Scott Walker. The pro-private school voucher group American Federation for Children she led until recently has spent over $5 million more to support voucher-friendly Wisconsin politicians.
Walker returned the favor, wading into federal issues by offering his support for DeVos’ nomination as Donald Trump’s Secretary of Education. During her disastrous confirmation hearings DeVos displayed an unnerving lack of knowledge of education issues and offered bizarre rationales for her views on guns in schools: to offer protection from grizzly bears.