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DeVos money, influence stain key gubernatorial races throughout the nation

by Brian Washington

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You can tell a lot about a person by the company he or she keeps. The same holds true for elected officials who align themselves with Betsy DeVos, who ranks as the most unqualified education secretary in the nation’s history.

DeVos, who is extremely wealthy, has used her millions to cultivate followers at every level of government. Today, Education Votes takes a look at elected officials running for governor in key battleground states who have pledged allegiance to DeVos and her destructive anti-public schools agenda, which includes voucher schemes. Vouchers use your tax dollars to subsidize private school tuition for a small select few. More importantly, they drain hundreds of millions of dollars in critical funding away from public schools and the vast majority of students and families who depend on them. Vouchers are DeVos’ weapon of choice for dismantling public education and represent one of the biggest threats to public education.


Last year, when Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, who is seeking a second term, signed into law legislation expanding vouchers, DeVos sent out a tweet congratulating him for doing so. DeVos and Ducey are members of a mutual admiration society. During DeVos’ confirmation hearings, Ducey publicly endorsed DeVos for education secretary. But it’s more than just praise. In 2014, DeVos and her husband gave Ducey about $3,000 in campaign contributions.


During DeVos’ confirmation hearings, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner told reporters he respected her greatly. That respect may be linked to the $13,000 in campaign contributions Rauner scooped up from DeVos and her family in 2014. Like every other politician who takes DeVos cash, once in office, Rauner tried to push through a voucher scheme, which the state legislature ended up blocking. However, he did manage to get a back-door voucher system in place—a tax credit for individuals and corporations who donate money for private school scholarships.


iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds

Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, along with high-level politicians from all 50 states, signed a letter expressing support for DeVos’ nomination as education secretary. Reynolds took over last year for Governor Terry Branstad after President Trump appointed him United States Ambassador to China. She’s running to get elected to the post in November. Reynolds, in her condition of the state address, proclaimed her dedication to private school advocates by committing to couple with the federal tax reform bill, expanding Iowa’s 529 plans to subsidize k-12 private schools. Reynolds stood by Branstad’s side last year during his unsuccessful bid to get a voucher system in Iowa. State lawmakers are now considering other voucher schemes. If approved, few doubt that Reynolds would sign it into law.


MI Attorney General Bill Schuette

In Michigan, DeVos’ home state, where she’s been called a four-star general in the privatization movement, the field of candidates seeking the governor’s office includes three elected leaders with ties to Betsy DeVos. The state’s current attorney general remains the front-runner on the GOP side. Bill Schuette wrote an editorial in favor of DeVos for education secretary. His editorial followed campaign contributions totaling a whopping $106,800 from the DeVos family dating back to 1997.

The state’s current Lt. Governor, Brian Calley, another declared candidate for governor, signed the same letter supporting DeVos that Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed. Calley also made several public statements supporting DeVos and her agenda.

The third elected official in the GOP field with ties to DeVos, State Senator Patrick Colbeck, took more than $18,000 in campaign contributions from her dating back to 2011. He also co-sponsored the state’s right-to-work law, which stripped educators and other government employees of their right to have a voice in the workplace. The DeVos family threw big dollars behind the bill and the campaign that lead to its successful passage. Colbeck publicly endorsed DeVos following her appointment.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu actually traveled to Washington, D.C., last year to have a private meeting with DeVos—one that was closed to the press.  Sununu leaves little to interpretation when it comes to his support for DeVos. He describes himself as an “enthusiastic supporter.” Meanwhile, state legislators are currently pedaling a bill that would provide private school vouchers to half of the state’s public school population—about 84,500 children. If the legislature approves, Sununu will sign the bill into law. Imagine the drain such a program would have on public schools.

More to come…

You’ll hear more about these and other politicians with DeVos connections running for governor throughout this campaign season. It’s our way of helping you stay informed so you can help your neighbors, family, friends, and coworkers make the best choices for students and public schools.



8 responses to “DeVos money, influence stain key gubernatorial races throughout the nation

  1. As I have stated before, appointing Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education is the equivalent of having a recent student of a 6th. Grade Life Science class perform brain surgery. The prior experience, skill set, & pertinent educational level is approximately the same…non existent.

  2. What makes you think that someone who never went to a public school, or had her kids go to a public school knows anything about public education. So we have someone running the Department of Education whose biggest qualification is that her family gave Trump millions of dollars. This makes no sense, unless you are trying to screw up education.

    Trying to fix education is not an easy thing, there are so many variables that go into a kids education. The teacher only has the kid for about an hour a day. If the child lives in the inner city there might not be any books in the house or a newspaper. There might not be a father living in the home. They might not have enough food to eat, or enough money to pay for proper healthcare. These kids have other things that they have to deal with that sometimes have a more immediate impact on their life than doing well in school. I know that is sad but it is true.

    Another thing that a classroom teacher has to deal with is getting the kids to pass standardized tests. That has become more and more the measuring stick of whether a teacher is a good teacher or not. I know that we have to hold teachers accountable, but what if that kid doesn’t really care that much how he does on the test. If the child doesn’t care you could Albert Einstein teaching his Science class and he could still fail. There is an old saying that goes something like this “If it is to be it is up to me”. We seem to have lost sight of this belief. In the school system that I taught in for 47 years we could not have a kid flunk a grade if the parents didn’t agree. I understand that sometimes failing a grade can hurt a kid’s self-esteem but if he knows that he’s going to pass no matter what he does where’s his incentive to work hard?

    Trump and a lot of people want to harden schools and that might be a good thing, but they talk about having security guards at the schools, that sounds like good, but where is the money for that going to come from? Are they going to take it from the current budget that they have allotted to education? If they do then there will be less money to actually educate the kids. I think this money has to come from somewhere else and is probably not in Mr Trumps current budget. People keep asking the schools to do more and more with less and less. If you think education is expensive, try the cost of ignorance.

    By the way, if you read this thank the teacher who taught you how to read. What I’m trying to say is that fixing education is not easy and I don’t think that his lady is the right person to do it!

  3. DeVos and followers, including our governor, are bad for Education. Private and charter schools have no accountability, fewer qualified teachers, and misuse public funds and then fold, leaving children and families stranded. I have taught in a few that changed into corporate agendas as soon as the school year started, breaking promises to teachers and students. After teaching for 40 years in a variety of settings and grade levels, I find the current state of education dismal.

  4. Brian Washington…..the article you wrote is ONLY YOUR OPINION………And, as we all know, is a long ways from……REFLECTING Any other person’s OPINION……!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Kathy, please take your meds and cool down before you blow a gasket. What you wrote is ALSO opinion only. So are you the only person allowed to make a public opinion? And just how is writing this article “pushing” on the rest of America? No one, including yourself, has been or will be forced to read or agree with it. If you truly don’t want to hear it, DON’T read it!

  5. It’s too bad that left wing liberals, like the ones directing Education Votes organization, can only BASH AND SCREAM about Betsy DeVos who has insight into the Education System in the U. S.
    As a former educator for over 30 years, I want all of you left wing liberals to know that the education system in America is BROKEN!!!!!!!!!
    Because, from listening to all of your NEGATIVE OVERTONES, none of you have been smart enough to figure that out as of yet…..!!!!!!!! And, to no avail, have any of you liberals done anything to FIX IT……!!!!!!!! All you LIBERAL BASHERS want to do…… is give Ms. DeVos H______!!!! ….for all the effort she is making to UPLIFT AND IMPROVE
    So STOP YOUR BASHING & SCREAMING, And, for once DO SOMETHING POSITIVE with your time………!!!!!!!!!!!!! And, by the way, TRUMP is doing A GREAT JOB FOR AMERICA………!!!!!!!!!!!
    MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN……..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    One more thing…….the Seattle teacher who wrote DeVos is not welcome in Washington appears to be a Small-Minded Liberal who forgot to get the opinion of the rest of Washington….!!!!!!!!!!

    1. I think your definition of a “true patriotic American” is much different than mine. I’d love to hear your comments about why you think our educational system is broken. I sure hope you don’t blame educators because we aren’t the people in charge.

  6. This woman has no idea what education is about. She should be removed as soon as possible. All children should be educated equally. As a public school teacher who tutored hundreds of students some of whom went to private schools, I know their math education in private schools was far inferior to public schools.

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