Ad claims James supports DeVos’ agenda to cut public school funding: Here’s a fact check

This is one in a series of fact checks the Detroit Free Press is doing on public issues in conjunction with PolitiFact, a nonprofit national news organization. Suggest a fact-check here.



a man wearing a suit and tie: Senate candidate John James speaks during a President Donald Trump rally at the MBS International Airport in Freeland, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020.


© Mandi Wright, Detroit Free Press
Senate candidate John James speaks during a President Donald Trump rally at the MBS International Airport in Freeland, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020.

Claim: “John James supported Betsy DeVos’ agenda to cut public school funding and put it into wealthy private schools instead.”

A Facebook ad from the Senate Majority PAC — which helps elect Democratic candidates to the Senate — attacks Michigan Republican Senate candidate John James, claiming that he “backed Betsy DeVos’ agenda to take money away from public schools and give it to wealthy private schools instead.”

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DeVos has long been a proponent in Michigan

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Education Secretary Betsy DeVos under investigation for potential Hatch Act violation: report

The Office of the Special Counsel has started investigating Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for potentially violating the Hatch Act for her comments during an interview with FOX News’ Martha MacCallum, according to Politico.

During the interview on “The Story”, DeVos had been asked about Biden’s promise to roll back her school choice policies.

“Today he’s turned his back on the kids that we’re talking about and he’s turned his face in favor of the teachers union and what they have to say and what they have to demand and it’s really shameful,” DeVos said.

The interview was then promoted through the official channels of the Department of Education, according to an email shared by the outlet.

EDUCATION SECRETARY DEVOS WARNS ABOUT WAVE OF PRIVATE SCHOOL CLOSINGS: ‘THAT’S A CRISIS IN THE MAKING’

The complaint, shared by Politico, alleges that DeVos’ comment “attacked Democratic Presidential Candidate Vice President Joe Biden and

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Betsy DeVos’ Big Idea: Funding students, rather than systems for school choice

The Big Idea is a series that asks top lawmakers and figures to discuss their moonshot — what’s the one proposal, if politics and polls and even price tag were not an issue, they’d implement to change the country for the better?  

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has been a longtime champion for school choice, but the coronavirus pandemic that shuttered schools nationwide put her vision to give students more education options into greater focus.

“This period of time with the pandemic is really helping encourage a lot of new thinking about the way we’ve always done things,” DeVos said in an interview with Fox News.

As DeVos and the Trump administration insisted schools reopen this fall for in-person instruction, she also backed school choice funding within the pandemic relief response she says could help students stuck with closed schools find new opportunities.

The $300 billion Senate Republican coronavirus relief proposal

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Secretary of Education DeVos meets with families, officials at Bedford school

Secretary of Education DeVos meets with families, officials at Bedford school


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BEDFORD SCHOOLS TODAY, BUT PLANS FOR ONE OF THOSE EVENTS WAS CANCELED AFTER A NEW CORONAVIRUS CASE WAS CONFIRMED. U.S. SECRETARY OF EDUCATION BETSY DEVOS MAKING A TRIP TO BEDFORD’S RIDDLE BROOK ELEMENTARY TO MEET WITH SCHOOL DISTRICT LEADERS, TEACHERS, AND FAMILIES TO DISCUSS REOPENING DURING COVID-19. SEC. DEVOS: IT IS REALLY ENCOURAGING TO HEAR ABOUT HO THEY WORKED NON-STOP, SINCE THE SCHOOLS CLOSED DOWN IN MARCH, TO BE BACK TO WHERE WE ARE TODAY, WHERE KIDS ARE IN THE CLASSROOM. TYLER: DEVOS HAS PUSHED FOR SCHOOL DISTRICTS ACROSS AMERIC TO FULLY REOPEN, WITH IN-PERSON LEARNING, AND THREATENED TO PULL FEDERAL FUNDING FROM THOSE THAT DON’T, SUPPORTING SCHOOL CHOICE OPTIONS INSTEAD. SEC. DEVOS: THERE’S MORE EVIDENCE TODAY THAN SIX MONTHS AGO EVEN THAT GIVING FAMILIES AND PARENTS AND

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Obama education secretary on Trump and DeVos

Arne Duncan makes his last speech as the U.S. Secretary of Education on Dec. 30, 2015 in the basement of St. Sabina Church in Chicago, Ill. (Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
Arne Duncan makes his last speech as the U.S. Secretary of Education on Dec. 30, 2015 in the basement of St. Sabina Church in Chicago, Ill. (Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Arne Duncan served as secretary of education under President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2015. Today Duncan is advocating for #BackToSchoolSolutions, a new community-oriented campaign founded by Arianna Huffington aimed at sourcing first-hand stories and ideas for how communities can help U.S. children this back-to-school season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Duncan tells Yahoo Finance that the burden of finding solutions for schools amid the pandemic is falling to those at the local level as a result of a “lack of leadership” from the federal government. 

“I think the innovation, the creativity, the solutions, or the answers are all going to come at the local level, and it shouldn’t have to be that way. Frankly, this pandemic

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Trump, DeVos raise school choice in appeal to vexed parents

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Betsy DeVos Weakens Protections For Online Learning In Higher Education

Yesterday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos released her final regulations for online education, otherwise known as “distance learning.” In a press release, DeVos said, “These regulations are a true ‘rethink’ of what is possible for students so that they can learn in the ways and places that work best for them.”

But many worry these regulations put innovation and institutional burden reduction interests ahead of quality and consumer protection needs. In fact, some version of the word ‘burden’ appears 52 times in the final rule; the word ‘safeguard’ only appears 9 times.

Federal higher education law requires distance education programs to provide “regular and substantive interaction” between instructors and students, so students aren’t left on their own to learn – they’re paying to learn from experts

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Open letter to Biden and Harris: How to undo damage DeVos did to public education

In some bit of irony, Trump and DeVos pushed the public schools that they have disparaged to open for the 2020-2021 school year, and at one point threatened to withhold federal funding from those that did not. (They didn’t have the power to withhold funding already approved by Congress.)

Biden, vice president under President Barack Obama and now the Democratic presidential nominee, and his running mate, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), have both savaged the Trump-DeVos education agenda. And they have said they would try to make the education system more equitable for underserved students.

This post is an open letter to Biden and DeVos from Chris Reykdal, the Washington state superintendent of public instruction, offering 10 steps that Reykdal said would help set a foundation for a more equitable school system.

An Open Letter to the Biden-Harris Ticket:

Mr. Vice President and Senator Harris, there is so much at

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Michigan Argues In Court Devos Pulled A ‘reverse Robin Hood’ On COVID-19 School Funding

Oral arguments took place Tuesday for a lawsuit led by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, with attorneys for the former arguing the latter’s requirement for K-12 public schools to split CARES Act relief funding with private schools is unlawful.

The CARES Act passed in March by Congress stipulates that public school districts share coronavirus relief funding with low-income students at private schools within the same district. In June, DeVos issued a rule that says aid can’t be restricted to only poor private school students — all are eligible.

“There is nothing in the law Congress passed that would allow districts to discriminate against children and teachers based on private school attendance and employment,” DeVos said of the rule.

But in July, Nessel brought litigation against DeVos, saying the rule diverts $16 million from Michigan public schools to private institutions in violation of Congress’ requirements, the

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Betsy DeVos loses first round against Michigan in coronavirus school funding suit

jhon yudha

A federal judge late Wednesday granted the state of Michigan a preliminary injunction in its lawsuit against U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos over the distribution of funding to schools under a federal coronavirus relief package.

The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES, Act allocated $13 billion in emergency education funding to states to support school districts, according to a document from the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor. The funding was allocated for things like sanitizing schools, purchasing educational technology and training teachers to use online tools.

But state officials sued, arguing the guidance the U.S. Department of Education issued on how to actually distribute those funds runs contrary to the law and pushes money toward private schools.

Judge James Donato of the U.S. District Court Northern District of California agreed with the state and others who have joined the suit, writing that “allowing the

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