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US Ed Sec Nominee Betsy DeVos Has More Firsthand Experience Selecting Carpet Swatches

January 9, 2017

On January 09, 2017, founder of the Center for Education Reform (CER), Jeanne Allen, issued a press release stating (warning: worn-out phrase coming), “But charter schools are public schools” and adding, “they’re just not the kinds of public schools that the AFT likes.” Allen was responding to American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten’s statement about US secretary of education nominee Betsy DeVos’ being “anti-public-education.”

Allen maintains that Weingarten is wrong since DeVos supports charter schools.

At best, charter schools are only partially public schools: They often take public money without answering to the public via elected boards.

CER’s email notification of its press release included the following statement:

Union’s language and rhetoric should be rebuffed by every American teacher

That will not be happening. In order for The Rebuff to occur, *every American teacher* would have to buy into the idea that there really is no distinction between charter schools and actual public schools– with “public schools” being defined as those that enroll any student at any point in the school year, and that are operated by elected school boards, and that cannot refuse a board-determined audit of their finances or other operations.

Still, those occupying the soft seats of ed reform like Allen continue to try to press-release charter schools as being unequivocally “public.”

The lucrative side of ed reform to be on is Allen’s side. That noted, I wonder how CER stays in ed reform business. CER’s “latest” news release listing jumps from January 09, 2017, listed first to January 22, 2013, listed second, to January 13, 2013, listed third, to November 07, 2012, listed fourth.

As CER was offering its press release (apparently the first n four years) about DeVos’ charter support equaling DeVos’ being pro-“public school,” ed reformer nest, Ed Next, produced this article in an effort to paint DeVos as “a relatively mainstream reformer.”

One of the less convincing components of the Ed Next piece is its inclusion of a huge photo of DeVos selecting carpet swatches.

ednext_xvii_2_mcshane_img01 DeVos engrossed with carpet. (Click to enlarge.)

The picture is actually a publicity photo one is able to download at The photo above is entitled, “Betsy in a meeting1-2016.”

A meeting to select carpet and to review floor plans.

The only picture of DeVos with a school-aged student is this one, given the file name, “Betsy tutoring at Potters House”:

betsy-tutoring-at-potters-house One Betsy, one student, two products conspicuously placed. (Click to enlarge.)

The photo is a product placement pic for boxed water produced by the Windquest Group, an organization that DeVos chaired.

For a pretty good idea about DeVos’ background in, uh, education, read this 2013 interview that DeVos gave for Philanthropy Roundtable. Her view of school choice does not even mention traditional public schools.

Her favorite is the “publicly funded, private-choice program.”Too, the quasi-public-private charter school will do.

However, when it comes to traditional public schools, to quote Allen with a twist: *They’re just not the kind of public schools DeVos likes.”


Released July 2016– Book Three:

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of both A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

  1. DeVos is (Cathy Black)squared. I give her 6 months.

  2. Reblogged this on patthaleblog.

  3. Christine Langhoff permalink

    Jeanne Allen is to be forgiven for neglecting to update press releases. Much of her time has been spent on Twitter excoriating public school parents in Massachusetts who organized to defeat the charter giveaway known as Question 2.

  4. May she be defeated …. may she go back to Amway …. may she never again be considered for anything that has to do with our children in public schools. #DefendtheVulnerable

  5. homelesseducator permalink

    For many years, I tutored children and I taught kids, of different ages in a wide variety of settings, and that did not look like what is pictured at “Potters House.” What I see in the picture looks like the child’s lunch time or snack time, not tutoring, unless DeVos was supposed to be tutoring a school-age child on how to eat. In my experience, such personal skills are only taught to school-age kids at meal times when children have severe cognitive or behavioral deficits, but even then, it’s typically skilled practitioners who teach that; this is not something that is usually outsourced to volunteer tutors.

    Most likely, what’s pictured is a staged advertisement for the boxed water.

  6. Charter schools are better characterized as government contractors. They are little different than a private paving company that resurfaces streets. Charters and paving companies receive public dollars to produce a public benefit, but the companies are private companies. Their employees aren’t public employees either.

    That said, the accountability to the public in terms of how the dollars are managed and spent is much higher in the case of the paving company.

    That must change.

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