Betsy DeVos, America’s eleventh education secretary since the cabinet post was first created by Jimmy Carter in 1979, is a devout Christian committed to privatizing America’s schools. Ever since she took the post, she’s also been quietly going about “neutering her own department’s civil rights office,” reports David Smith, and “along with attorney general Jeff Sessions, she is said to be at the tip of the spear of Trump’s illiberal agenda.”
“There’s been inadequate attention paid to the ways in which DeVos is rolling back civil rights protections. There would be more outcry if there wasn’t so much to be outraged about on a million other issues every day as well,” Richard Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation told the Guardian.
The 59-year-old philanthropist and former chair of the Michigan Republican party and her billionaire family have been donating to Republican candidates for decades but DeVos is best known for “defunding and destabilizing public education in Michigan by bankrolling school choice initiatives,” says Smith.
Now, she’d like to do the same to the nation’s public school system, by supporting voucher programs that allow families to use tax dollars from the public education system to pay for private schools of their choice.
This two-tiered education system has been tried before in America, in the Jim Crow era, after the supreme court ruled against racial segregation in Brown v. Board of Education. At that time, white communities used public funds, in the form of vouchers, to remove and relocate their children, once again, away from schools with blacks and other minorities.