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Betsy DeVos Invited to Speak at DeVos-funded MSU Research Center; Petition Against Already Circulating

August 31, 2017

It seems that US ed sec Betsy DeVos just can’t seem to advocate for the privatization of public education without also fueling public protest.

The August 31, 2017, State News reports that Michigan State University (MSU) is opening a new research center, and the university invited homegrown billionaire and US ed sec Betsy DeVos as its keynote speaker for ceremonies scheduled for September 20, 2017.

The State News adds that MSU PhD student, Sarah Kelly, has started a petition imploring MSU President Lou Anna Simon and MSU College of Human Medicine Dean, Norman Beauchamp, to rescind the invitation.

The text of the petition, which appears to have been drafted on August 31, 2017– and which appears to rapidly be gaining signatures– is as follows:

To:      

Dr. Lou Anna Simon, President, Michigan State University

Dr. Norman Beauchamp, Dean, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine

We, the faculty, students, staff and alumni of Michigan State University, and other interested citizens, sincerely request that you rescind the invitation to Betsy DeVos, Education Secretary in the Trump Administration, to speak at the grand opening of the MSU Grand Rapids Research Center (GRRC) on September 20, 2017.

Secretary DeVos’ past activities have included:

·      Lobbying for the privatization of the US public education system under the guise of “school choice.”

·      Support for political candidates in Michigan who worked to implement her privatization plans and in the process, have slashed millions from the public education budget.

As Education Secretary, Secretary DeVos:

·      Recommends a $9 billion cut in federal education funding, including cuts to higher education, training and after-school programs.

·      Supports cutting financial aid to low-income college students making it easier for private loan servicers to prey on Michigan families. The MSU College of Human Medicine already has some of the highest per student debt in the nation.

·      Rolled back regulations on for-profit colleges and has made it easier for low performing for-profit colleges to defraud students.

·      Refuses to limit federal education funding for schools who actively discriminate against LGBTQ students.

The undersigned believe that Secretary DeVos’ agenda is diametrically opposed to the education and inclusion mission of Michigan State University.  While her father-in-law’s gift in support of the GRRC is welcomed and appreciated, giving Secretary DeVos an MSU-sponsored platform to speak sends a message to the public, alumni, faculty, staff, students and their families, that the compromising of MSU’s standards can be easily purchased.

Further, the undersigned are very concerned that planned protests of Mrs. DeVos’ visit will disrupt the GRRC Ribbon Cutting and distract media focus away from the celebration of MSU’s newest state-of-the-art research facility in Grand Rapids.

Betsy DeVos’ in-laws, Rich and Helen DeVos, donated $10 million to MSU in 2016 for the construction of the research center. Rich DeVos made his fortune through Amway.

It seems that Rich DeVos’ donation to MSU has in effect purchased an opportunity for daughter-in-law Betsy to promote her rock-solid platform of school choice.

State News also reports that if MSU’s invitation to DeVos is not rescinded, petitioners plan to organize a protest.

Betsy DeVos is already well on her way to going down in history as by far the most publicly-resisted US secretary of education– and possibly the most publicly-protested Cabinet member– in our nation’s history.

It’s pretty clear that America did not get her *by choice.*

betsy devos 5  Betsy DeVos

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Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

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 two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

both books

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

2 Comments
  1. Laura H. Chapman permalink

    An interesting development. It is unlikely to trump the $10 million the DeVos family has paid for the facility and expects to be praised for. I wonder if the university’s new medical center will be enlisted to give credibility to Betsy Devos’s Neurocore treatment for whatever.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Mercedes Schneider: Students, Faculty, and Alumni at Michigan State Protest DeVos as Speaker at Research Center Her Family Paid For! | Diane Ravitch's blog

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