Report: In 2018, The DeVos Family Funded $1M Of Attacks On Public Education
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and her billionaire husband, Dick, gave more than $1 million to “independent” right-wing organizations that boosted her attacks on public education through their family foundation in 2018, according to Raw Story.
“Secretary DeVos is effectively funding an outside propaganda operation to help her bash teachers’ unions and promote private voucher schemes that undermine public education,” said Jeremy Funk, communications director for Allied Progress, a nonpartisan watchdog organization.
The DeVos Foundation contributed $500,000 to the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) for public policy research last year. AEI is a libertarian think tank, whose officials have repeatedly publicly praised DeVos and her policies, specifically on restricting student debt relief and her controversial changes to Title IX, which made it harder to report sexual abuse on campus.
The foundation additionally made a $350,000 contribution to the Mackinac Center, a longtime opponent of teacher unions that urged teachers to opt out of their unions. Secretary DeVos herself made a $125,000 donation to a Michigan group that opposed collective-bargaining rights.
Along with contributions to right-wing groups that promote DeVos’ education policy, the foundation has also contributed to numerous advocacy groups that oppose abortion and deny climate change.
“I think what we see overall is really the purchasing of political power that crosses the spectrum of political and foundation giving,” said Lonnie Scott, the head of progressive advocacy group Progress Michigan. “The right is very quick to use foundation funding in a way that the left does not in supporting specific policies.”