FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
News from Progress Michigan
February 24, 2016
Bought and Paid for Ed Committee Plan for DPS Still Not Extreme Enough for DeVos
DeVos family and cronies have greased palms of House Republicans in attempt to dismantle DPS
LANSING –The DeVos family bought and paid for the House Republicans’ Detroit Public Schools (DPS) plan in an attempt to further dismantle Detroit’s public schools, but that’s not enough for Betsy Devos, who is now advocating for eliminating DPS and further expanding charter schools.
According to the Sunshine Squad, the DeVos family has donated $43,250 and the Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP), the DeVos family’s charter school lobby group, has donated $4,650 to representatives in the House Education Committee. According to the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, the DeVos family maxed out their individual campaign contributions to Michigan House Republicans in 2015.
“Instead of doing what they were elected to do and working directly with the people of Detroit to restore democracy and ensure that all children in the city have the opportunity to receive a quality public education, Republicans in the legislature have chosen to stack the deck against parents, students, and teachers in favor of their top campaign contributors – the DeVoses,”said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan. “If House Republicans were really interested in representing the people of Michigan, they would be working to reverse the cuts they made to revenue sharing and education funding over the last decade that led to financial hardships in Detroit Public Schools in the first place.”
On February 18, House Republicans introduced a package of bills to reform DPS, partially sponsored by Rep. Daniela Garcia, member of the House Education Committee, who has received a combined $9,500 from the DeVos family and GLEP. The bills would put restrictions on teachers’ ability to negotiate fair wages and working conditions, drastically slow the restoration of democracy to the DPS elected school board and punish teachers who have worked to call attention to the rodents and mold in Detroit Public Schools.
Other representatives on the House Education Committee who have received contributions from the DeVoses and/or GLEP include Rep. Lisa Lyons, $13,150; Rep. Ed McBroom, $4,500; Rep. Pat Sommerville, $9,000; Rep. Ken Yonker, $10,250; Rep. Jim Tedder, $250, Rep. Lee Chatfield, $1,000; and Rep. Tim Kelly, $250.
Additionally, over the years, the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation has made six-figure contributions to the Mackinac Center, a think-tank that advocates for emergency management laws and charter schools. Recommendations in favor of emergency managers made by the Mackinac Center were included in Snyder and Republican legislators’ emergency manager bill in 2011.