TIM SKUBICK: Betsy DeVos’ Perpetual Private Education Drive

When the Founding Fathers (there was no Founding Mother) wrote the Constitution, they inserted a nifty little restriction known as the “separation of church and state” clause.

And about two days after the document was signed, Betsy DeVos was looking for a way around the issue so that tax dollars would go to religious and private schools.

all right. This is a bit of an exaggeration, as the billionaire West Michigan Republican isn’t all that old, but so far without showing anything, just how long it will take her to reach that goal. We are emphasizing what we have been working on.

You may remember that when John Engler was governor and Ms. DeVos was the state’s Republican leader, she advanced a statewide ballot proposal and created a voucher system for schools. Below, the state issues checks to families who want private education without question.

The only problem is that in 1970 Michigan voters joined 35 other states and adopted the so-called Parochiad Amendment to maintain the concept of separation of church and state, so Mr. Engler didn’t want this abomination to go up in smoke. I knew that. Prohibits the direct and indirect use of state tax dollars to nonpublic schools. period.

To say the least, DeVos wasn’t too happy about the governor cursing her efforts. There was a messy and highly public exchange between the two that the political media wonderfully enjoyed, and she eventually resigned from her post, and of course Mr. I laughed at the end.

Mr. DeVos, who holds the current Republican Congress, helped create “vouchers” with generous donations to lawmakers who love them, and acquired this House and Senate so that citizens could fund them with funds allocated to religious and private schools. created a scholarship fund that can raise itself is very benign.

Oh, but the collateral measures, and here’s the problem, create a state tax credit these families can apply for, and indirectly the taxes go where Ms. DeVos wants.

DeVos’s supporters say he is doing this so that families can provide private education to underprivileged children who cannot afford tuition. But her detractors believe there are other, more sinister motives. Behind all her efforts, she has depleted the resources of public education and degraded the quality of learning, with more and more families moving to private schools, and the public schools that DeVos people have so far not admired. They want to undermine the political power of teachers’ unions.

Either way, the new package survived with only public education and was opposed by most Democrats.

But the Democratic governor refused to do so, so he sent DeVos and others again. Return to the drawing board.

The next maneuver was to launch a petition. If enough signatures were collected, the same bill would go to the same Congress, and Congress would pass the bill again, this time with the governor sitting in her veto pen because by law she couldn’t erase this. increase.

Last week, a petition funded by DeVos said it had garnered over 500,000 signatures. That’s enough numbers to move this to Congress. But while Mr. DeVos always seems to have a “but,” the name was submitted after the deadline, so we were watching the proposal go to Congress now.

Depending on when the name is certified by the state elections office, it could be pushed into the new legislative year with a brand-new legislature, whether heavily influenced by DeVos-funded candidates or not.

In fact, should lightning strike Democrats control either the House or the Senate, DeVos’ proposal is toast…again.

You may not like Mr. DeVos. According to poll data, she’s less popular here than Donald Trump. This is why if you pull out your thesaurus and look up her tenacity, you’ll find this synonym, “Betsy DeVos.”

Tim Skvik is a columnist for political newspapers, anchor and producer of the weekly PBS show Off the Record.


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