Betsy DeVos and the Introduction of the White, Christian Supremacist Education System

During Betsy DeVos’s interview to become Trump’s Secretary of Education, she lied about her connection to her mother’s foundation, the Prince Foundation (formerly known as the Edgar and Elsa Prince Foundation) that gave millions of dollars to right wing think tank, the anti-LGBTQ rights organizations such as “Focus on the Family” and others. Newly elected Democratic Sen. Margaret Hassan pressed DeVos on her connections (legally listed as vice president) in which DeVos replied that her name on ten years worth of tax documents was a “clerical error.”

Her long public record indicates she is a religious Christian zealot who does not believe in the actual separation of church and state, wants public monies funneled into religious schools, and has contributed through family foundations to bigoted groups with a militant anti-gay agenda

Mother Jones clarifies the history of the donations:

“The Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation gave $275,000 to Focus on the Family from 1999 to 2001 but hasn’t donated since; it gave an additional $35,760 to the group’s Michigan and D.C. affiliates from 2001 to 2010. The Prince Foundation donated $5.2 million to Focus on the Family and $275,000 to its Michigan affiliate from 2001 to 2014. (It also gave $6.1 million to the Family Research Council, which has fought against same-sex marriage and anti-bullying programs — and is listed as an “anti-LGBT hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The FRC used to be a division of Focus on the Family before it became an independent nonprofit, with Dobson serving on its board, in 1992.)”

In a 2001 interview for The Gathering, a group focused on advancing Christian faith through philanthropy, she and her husband offered a rare public glimpse of their views. Asked whether Christian schools should continue to rely on philanthropic dollars—rather than pushing for taxpayer money through vouchers—Betsy DeVos replied, “There are not enough philanthropic dollars in America to fund what is currently the need in education…[versus] what is currently being spent every year on education in this country… Our desire is to confront the culture in ways that will continue to advance God’s kingdom.”

The family political activism against organized labor. The DeVoses have invested at least $200 million in various right-wing causes: think tanks, media outlets, political committees, and advocacy groups. Since 2007, the DeVoses have focused their advocacy and philanthropy on controversial right-to-work legislation that outlawed contracts requiring all employees in unionized workplaces to pay dues for union representation. Through aggressive strategy and funding, the bill became law by 2012.

Jeremy Scahill from Democracy now states more plainly:
“While, Betsy DeVos can try to separate herself from what her mother, Elsa Prince, does, such as giving $450,000 in one month alone to try to defeat a ballot initiative over gay marriage—or, to support a ballot initiative that would ban gay marriage in the state of California—she lives in Michigan—but she was the vice president, along with her brother, Erik Prince, the mercenary kingpin, of that foundation at the height of its funding of these hate groups. The idea that we’re going to have someone that has supported gay conversion therapy through a foundation that she was the vice president of—even though she said to Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay woman in the Senate, “Oh, no, no, no, I view the intrinsic value of every life,” she looked like she wanted to vomit, having to speak to an openly gay senator, because they hate gay people.

Let’s just be clear about it: The Prince family and the DeVos family, their public record suggests they hate anyone who is not straight, white and Christian.”

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