Michigan Education Advocates Have Polarizing Views on Monday’s DeVos Vote

The confirmation vote for DeVos is scheduled for the full Senate early this week.

U.S. Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos will either be a blessing or a curse if she is confirmed, depending on who you ask. 

After narrowly making it out of a U.S. Senate committee, the confirmation vote for DeVos is scheduled for the full Senate early this week.

The billionaire has fought hard for the expansion of charter schools and school choice.

Gary Naeyaert is the executive director of the Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP). That’s an organization founded by the DeVos family that works to expand and support of charter schools. He says her advocacy for charter schools has helped students across the state.     

“To those hundreds of thousands of students, their academic lives are in their own hands more so than they were in the past. So that’s a positive,” says Naeyaert. “The only ones advocating against charter public schools are the left-leaning extremists and the teacher’s unions who actually just think they know better as to where parents should be sending their kids.”

But critics of DeVos say the billionaire has used her money to influence a policy that is dismantling public schools. And they say she has no experience as an educator.

“It would essentially give a billionaire family that has spent their fortune attacking public education, pushing their own vision, of what private, parochial education should look like and enforcing that on the rest of the country,” said Sam Inglot, deputy communications director for the group Progress Michigan.

Senate rules require additional debate hours before the final confirmation vote. This could potentially delay the vote.


  • Cheyna Roth
    Cheyna has interned with Michigan Radio and freelanced for WKAR public radio in Lansing. She's also done some online freelancing and worked on documentary films.