U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the billionaire who over the years has given millions to groups to promote the privatizing of public education, is speaking at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) States and Nation Policy Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona today.
According to Politico, DeVos “plans to thank the group for supporting her Education Freedom Scholarships proposal.” The proposal, according to information on the Department of Education website, would provide $5 billion annually in tax credits for individuals and businesses, to channel public funds to private education providers.
For decades, ALEC has worked to promote a variety of educational tax credits, and other methods that would funnel public funds to private providers. One long-time funder of ALEC is K12 Inc, the private education company that provides virtual schooling and online courses to public, private and home schooled children, mostly using public funding. Tom Bolvin, the top lobbyist for K12 Inc, chairs the ALEC task force on Education. As Documented revealed, K12 Inc is amongst the corporate sponsors of the ALEC conference.
The DeVos Education Freedom Scholarships proposal would expand the use of so called-virtual (or “online”) learning, where public, private, and homeschooled children learn online rather than in a traditional classroom setting.
This is exactly the market in which K12 Inc operates, and it has long pushed this agenda at ALEC. Indeed, since 2005, ALEC has promoted model legislation – called “The Virtual Public Schools Act” – that promotes expanding the use of virtual schools.