Washington D.C. – Trump Education Secretary Betsy DeVos reportedly had a front row seat today as Supreme Court justices considered a key case on the constitutionality of so-called school choice programs. The plaintiffs in the case were represented by “The Institute for Justice [IJ]”, which has received more than $20,000 from the DeVos Family Foundation just since 2017.
Salon recently reported on disclosure documents obtained by Allied Progress showing the foundation headed by billionaire Secretary DeVos and her billionaire husband gave more than $1 million in 2018 alone to purportedly “independent” right-wing groups like IJ that have acted as an outside propaganda machine to carry out her assault on public education.
“For years, Betsy DeVos has been obsessed with the idea of robbing cash-strapped public schools to pay for voucher schemes and diverting critical resources to unaccountable private schools,” said Derek Martin, Director of Allied Progress. “To make her dream a reality, DeVos has made massive “charitable” donations to right-wing groups willing to smear teachers’ unions and push discredited policies that undermine public education. And her investment just paid major dividends as one of her pet groups helped elevate the anti-public education cause all the way to the Supreme Court. Worst – Education Secretary – ever.”
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Since Betsy DeVos Became Education Secretary, The Dick And Betsy DeVos Family Foundation Contributed $20,000 To The “Institute For Justice,” Which “Files And Funds” Lawsuits That Defend Voucher Programs And Has Offered To “Help” DeVos In Her “‘School Choice Efforts.’”
In 2018, The Dick And Betsy DeVos Family Foundation Contributed $10,000 To The “Institute For Justice.”
In 2018, The Dick And Betsy DeVos Family Foundation Contributed $10,000 To The “Institute For Justice.” [Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation 2018 990 Form, Internal Revenue Service, 2018]
In 2017, The Dick And Betsy DeVos Family Foundation Contributed $10,000 To The “Institute For Justice.”
In 2017, The Dick And Betsy DeVos Family Foundation Contributed $10,000 To The “Institute For Justice.” [Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation 2017 990 Form, Internal Revenue Service, 2018]
In February 2017, Betsy DeVos Became The Secretary Of Education.
Betsy DeVos Began Her Position As “U.S. Secretary Of Education” In February 2017. “U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos began her first day in office by thanking and praising the Department’s career employees for ensuring a smooth and professional transition.” [Press Release, U.S. Department of Education, 02/08/17]
The Institute For Justice “Files And Funds” Lawsuits That Defend “School Voucher And Tax Credit Programs.”
The Institute For Justice “Files And Funds” Lawsuits “Defending School Voucher And Tax Credit Programs That Help Fund Private School Tuition.” “The institute files and funds a variety of civil liberties lawsuits, including several defending school voucher and tax credit programs that help fund private school tuition.” [Erica L. Green, “The DeVos ‘Nice List,’” The New York Times, 12/23/17]
Representatives From The Institute For Justice Met With DeVos To Offer “‘Help’” To The Secretary In “‘Areas Where The Department Could Facilitate School Choice Efforts’” And Said They Would Like ED To “‘Promote Parent Choice And Parent Power To Choose.’”
DeVos “Met With Tim Keller And Richard Komer Of The Institute For Justice” So They Could “‘Suggest A Few Areas Where The Department Could Facilitate School Choice Efforts And Offer The Sec. Help In Those Areas’” And “‘Would Like To See Them Promote Parent Choice And Parent Power To Choose.’” “According to the calendar, Ms. DeVos also met with Tim Keller and Richard Komer of the Institute for Justice, a conservative nonprofit that has joined lawsuits in Montana, Nevada and additional states to defend the ability of parents to use taxpayer-funded vouchers to cover tuition for their children to attend private religious schools. The goal of the meeting: ‘suggest a few areas where the Department could facilitate school choice efforts and offer the Sec. help in those areas.’ Mr. Komer said he had known Ms. DeVos for a decade and was glad to see her maintain her commitment to school choice. ‘We would like to see them promote parent choice and parent power to choose,’ Mr. Komer said of the 30-minute meeting he had with Ms. DeVos.” [Eric Lipton, “Betsy DeVos’s Schedule Shows Focus on Religious and Nontraditional Schools,” The New York Times, 10/27/17]
Separately, An Institute For Justice Representative Was Given A Platform To Promote The Organization And Its Message On The Department Of Education’s Official Website.
In January 2019, Tim Keller Of The Institute For Justice Penned A Blog Post—Hosted On ED’s Official Website—Promoting His Organization And Its School Choice Efforts. “As the nation’s leading law firm defending school choice program, the Institute for Justice (IJ), has a desire to ensure that the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, is understood when it comes to school choice. This is why we published 12 Myths and Realities about Private Educational Choice Programs. The report identifies, examines, and debunks many of the myths surrounding private educational choice programs – including the myths detailed above.” [Tim Keller,” US Department of Education HomeRoom Blog, 01/23/19]
- The HomeRoom Blog Is The “Official Blog Of The US Department Of Education.” “The Department engages with the education community, interested developers, and entrepreneurs using Department websites and social media outlets,” specifying “Homeroom – Official blog of the U.S. Department of Education” as one of the Department websites. [“Digital Government Strategy Report,” US Department of Education, accessed 12/17/19]