"In March, a Michigan multi-millionaire named Betsy DeVos announced the formation of a new national group to fight for voucher subsidies for religious schools and other forms of “school choice.”
“Political gamesmanship and special interests should never stand in the way of providing children with access to great schools,” DeVos fulminated in a press release announcing the creation of the American Federation for Children. “We know that it takes smart public policy – and political backbone – to bring about the types of school choice programs that provide families with better educational opportunities. That is why we have created the American Federation for Children.”
But on closer inspection, it turned out that this Washington, D.C.-based organization wasn’t so new after all. As the press release mentioned, the American Federation for Children was just a rebranding effort for a group previously known as Advocates for School Choice.
Why the name change? DeVos, a fundamentalist Christian and far-right political activist, probably wanted to jump-start the pro-voucher drive with at least the appearance of something new. At the same time, the revised moniker was a slap at the American Federation of Teachers, a teachers’ union much loathed by DeVos and her allies.
The real news in the release was the growing prominence of DeVos as a linchpin in the voucher movement. Although hardly a household name, if Betsy DeVos has her way, every American could feel her reach: DeVos’ goal is nothing short of a radical re-creation of education in the United States, with tax-supported religious and other private schools replacing the traditional public school system.
DeVos rarely states it that bluntly. Instead, she crouches behind the euphemism of “school choice” and pretends to be a kindly advocate for downtrodden youngsters trapped in public schools described as “failing.”
Driven by a relentless faith in ultra-conservative religion and the privatization of public services, DeVos and her husband, Dick, who is best known as the former president of Amway, are pouring millions from their personal fortune into a nationwide voucher push."
And now she is Secretary of Education...