Dark money fuels Michigan school privatization campaign

Maurice T. Cunningham

United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos answers some questions from the media as she tours Detroit Edison Public School Academy in Detroit Friday, Sept. 20, 2019.

Michigan is facing two initiatives that would advance the privatization of public education. The campaign is being funded by the DeVos family, one of the state’s richest families, and several dark money groups with unknown check writers. It’s an attack on public schools and an attack on democracy.

I know. I exposed a similar scheme in Massachusetts. 

The Let MI Kids Learn ballot committee is collecting 340,000 signatures to advance two measures, the Michigan Student Opportunity Scholarship Program Initiative and the Michigan Tax Credit for Student Opportunity Scholarship Contributions Initiative.

Critics argue that the measures are a thinly veiled voucher program, a step toward the privatization of public education.

Neither initiative is likely to be voted upon by the people. If proponents get sufficient signatures, they can simply ask the Republican-led Legislature to pass both measures, which will then become law without going before Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Since Whitmer has already vetoed similar measures, Republicans will bypass a vital check and balance of democracy.

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