COLUMBUS — Last week when Betsy DeVos paid a virtual visit to Ohio, public school leaders slammed the secretary’s reckless threats to defund schools as “callous and clueless” — but today she’s back in Ohio, touting vouchers, which take funds away from public schools and divert them to private and religious schools.
“For years, Ohio Republicans — with the backing of big-money donors like Betsy DeVos — have been pushing a privatization agenda, designed to take away resources from our public schools to fund private school vouchers and charter schools like the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper. “Led by privatization cheerleader Matt Huffman, the Ohio GOP included a provision in last year’s budget that put the state voucher program on steroids, leading to a massive diversion of taxpayer dollars to private schools. This hurts our public schools — and there is little evidence it helps students because research has found in state after state, including in Ohio, that voucher recipients often underperform on standardized tests.
“Betsy’s visit serves as a reminder to Ohioans — who are this week learning of a huge scandal in state government — that Ohio’s last big scandal involved politicians helping to funnel hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into the pockets of a fat-cat donor who founded a for-profit online charter school that turned out to be a scam. One of the men arrested this week was at the center of the ECOT controversy, as well.
“When it comes to the coronavirus crisis, Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos have no idea what they’re doing and no real plan to reopen our schools safely. Betsy has dismissed legitimate concerns about keeping our kids safe as ‘fearmongering.’ She has dismissed the guidance of public health experts at the CDC. She has spread misinformation by saying things like, ‘There’s nothing in the data that suggests that kids being in school is in any way dangerous.’ Betsy DeVos has been a disaster for public education and removing her as education secretary is one more reason we have to defeat Trump this November.”
DeVos’s meddling in Ohio education politics goes back to 2006 when her political action committee illegally laundered hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from a charter school operator to candidates including Jon Husted, Keith Faber, Matt Dolan and Tom Brinkman. Her PAC was fined more than $5 million for its illegal campaign finance activities, and the PAC never paid a dime to Ohio taxpayers.
COVERAGE FROM LAST WEEK:
Spectrum News 1: Ohio Educators Sound Off on DeVos’s Virtual Visit to Ohio
WCMH: Back-to-school debate