Betsy DeVos is a conservative Christian from Detroit, Michigan who is now the United States’ Education Secretary. She is known for her support of charter schools and school vouchers. She is a known longtime ally of Jeb Bush, Florida’s former governor.
Her family has close ties to the state of Florida, also. Her husband is the heir to the Amway fortune and owns a home in Florida. A variety of other relatives of her husband also own homes in Florida. Her father-in-law brought the Orlando Magic basketball in 1991. The DeVos family still owns it today.
With this information it is no surprise, she headed to Florida, recently, to look at what she considers to be the national model for school choice.
While visiting Florida, she visited CARE Elementary School. This school was previously called the Christian Academy for Reaching Excellence. CARE is included in the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship program.
This program gives tax incentives to those people who donate to organizations which provide scholarships for private or religious school tuition. During this same visit to Florida, DeVos also visited the SLAM Charter School.
SLAM stands for sports leadership and management. This charter school helps students in grades 6th through 12th. The singer, Pitbull, has opened a wide array of charter schools in the Miami, Florida area. Mater Academy is a nonprofit that operates charter schools in Florida.
SLAM and other specific charter schools are in this network that is managed by a for-profit company named Academica. In 2016, this network was named one of the largest charter school management firms in the state of Florida.
Academica was founded by Fernando Zulueta who is the brother-in-law of former Florida state legislator, Erik Fresen. Fresen recently stopped being the chair for the state House education budget subcommittee.
Over the past few years, charter schools in Florida have received a proportionally higher share of the state’s capital funding. These schools have fewer students than the traditional school but receive more money.
Many individuals believe this funding comes from Fresen’s support of online virtual charter schools and other aspects of the charter school industry including schools like SLAM. In a recent round of grades assigned to schools based on test scores and other criteria set by the state of Florida, SLAM received a C.
Pitbull’s connection to charter schools in Florida has made the world outside of Florida take notice. These individuals include Besty DeVos and John Oliver.
Visit www.betsydevos.com to learn more