AFT Michigan and MEA Presidents respond to selection of Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education

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LANSING — The selection of Betsy DeVos to serve as U.S. Secretary of Education is an affront to students and education professionals in Michigan, according to the leaders of Michigan’s school employee unions, the American Federation of Teachers Michigan and the Michigan Education Association

DeVos brings no credible experience or expertise in education, but rather has pushed for the privatization and dismantling of public education at every turn. She rejects evidence, research and the experiences of front-line educators in pursuit of policy changes that only serve to profit billionaires.

“In Michigan, we know firsthand how disastrous DeVos’ ideology is, as she has spent decades wielding her family’s money and influence to destroy public education and turn our schools and students over to for-profit corporations,” said MEA PresidentSteven Cook.

In 2000, DeVos led a failed effort to use public funding for private schools, which was soundly rejected by Michigan voters. Since then, she has pushed to eliminate restrictions on the growth of for-profit charter schools and has resisted every attempt to hold these corporations accountable for the tax dollars they take from public schools.

“Policies she’s supported – increasing standardized testing and punishing teachers, students, and families – have done nothing to improve education,” said AFT Michigan President David Hecker.  “In fact, DeVos policies have consistently left our most vulnerable students behind."

The DeVos family’s billions have bought their influence in Michigan politics and Michigan school policy for decades. Donald Trump’s appointment of Betsy DeVos signals he is not actually interested in changing politics as usual, but is instead perpetuating a pay-to-play scheme. Students, educators, and families across the country will be paying the price.

 AFT Michigan and MEA have fought corporate-backed education reform and the DeVos family’s ideology and money for decades. We will continue to stand up for Michigan’s education professionals and the students they serve.