DeVos Reacts to Whitmer Vetoes of GOP-Backed Education Bills

Photo: Caroline Brehman / CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty

LANSING, November 9, 2021 ~ Friday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer vetoed two bills which would have created an education scholarship program giving donors tax breaks they could put towards education services and private school tuition.  

Whitmer promised she would veto the bills when they passed through the state Legislature last month. When she cut down the bills Friday, she said the state could not afford to divert public tax funds to private schools through donor tax credit.

November 9, 2021 ~ Former US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos talks to Paul W. about Governor Whitmer‘s decision to veto two education bills that would have created an education scholarship program designed to give contributors a tax break on donations and she says the fight is not over.

Simply put, our schools cannot provide the high-quality education our kids deserve if we turn private schools into tax shelters for the wealthy,” said Whitmer. “The movement to privatize education in this state has been a catastrophic failure, causing Michigan students to fall behind the rest of the nation.”

Advocate group Great Lakes Education Project called out Whitmer’s decision, saying the veto would take away money disadvantaged students could use for tutoring, textbooks, reading support, and mental health help. They also started a petition effort aimed at overturning the Governor’s veto and making the two bills law. 

Families, and thankfully policymakers, are noting that parents have got to have not only the intellectual control over where their kids learn and how they learn, but the financial control,” said Former US Secretary of Education Betsy Devos to 760 WJR’s Paul W. Smith. “We spend tens of millions of dollars every year, billions of dollars, every year in Michigan for kids in K-12 education. And yet the result for kids — particularly the ones at the lowest ends of the spectrum — continues to be extremely challenged, and that is just a crime, thinking about each of those kids and their futures.”

It’s time to make a distinct pivot and empower the families to make these choices and decisions, just like families who have the economic means already do.”

Opponents of the bill said the program would violate Michigan’s Blaine Amendment, which prohibits use of public dollars for private schools. However, sponsors of the bills maintain the bills do not conflict with the amendment, as no direct state aid is sent to private entities.