Politico: Where Betsy gives her money.


Reposted from Politico’s Morning Education:

By Michael Stratford | 12/05/2016 10:00 AM EDT

With help from Caitlin Emma and Benjamin Wermund

WHERE BETSY AND DICK DEVOS HAVE FUNNELED THEIR PHILANTHROPY: Beyond the millions of dollars that the DeVos family has spent bankrolling Republican candidates across the country, Betsy DeVos and her husband, Dick, also have given away tens of millions of dollars of their fortune through a philanthropic foundation they started in 1989.

Much of the billionaire couple’s charitable giving reflects their conservative political views and Christian beliefs – and looking at where they’ve chosen to funnel money may also offer some clues about the causes that Betsy DeVos may seek to champion as Donald Trump’s education secretary.

The foundation’s most recent tax forms, which were completed several weeks ago and obtained by POLITICO after a request, show that the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation in 2015 doled out more than $10 million to a wide range of organizations – and pledged an additional $3.2 million in grants to be paid out in future years. Here are some of the highlights:

The Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation approved $400,000 in funding for Loudspeaker Media Inc., helping former CNN anchor Campbell Brown launch her education site, The 74. Brown said recently that she’d recuse herself from editorial involvement of her site’s coverage of DeVos. A couple of days before that decision, however, Brown authored an op-ed for The 74 that praised DeVos. The foundation also gave $400,000 to Brown’s nonprofit, The Partnership for Educational Justice.

Success Academy Charter Schools received $150,000 from the foundation in 2015, with another $150,000 approved for future payment. The New York City charter school chain’s founder, Eva Moskowitz, who was also considered for Trump’s Education secretary, tweeted that she was “thrilled” about DeVos as the pick. The DeVos Family Foundation also donated $5,000 to GREAAT Schools, Inc., a non-profit charter school management company.

The Potter’s House, a Christian school in Grand Rapids, Mich., received $200,000 from the foundation in 2015. In an interview with Philanthropy Roundtable, Betsy DeVos, who hails from Michigan, credited her visit to the school several decades ago as helping to spark her interest in school choice advocacy.

– The couple gave $100,000 to the nonprofit Alliance for School Choice, which works closely with the American Federation for Children, of which DeVos recently stepped down as chair. DeVos has also sat on the board of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, which was founded by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. The foundation gave the group $50,000.

Conservative organizations: Betsy DeVos sits on the board of the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy. In 2015 her family foundation donated $750,000 to the Washington, D.C.-based think tank – and approved another $1 million in future funding for it. In addition, the DeVos’ foundation donated $10,000 to Institute for Justice, a nonprofit libertarian law firm that has funded school choice lawsuits across the country, and $6,500 to the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Inc., a group that promotes conservative viewpoints on college campuses.

– Colleges and universities: University of Maryland College Park Foundation, which has an arts management institute named after the DeVoses, received $500,000. The School of Missionary Aviation Technology, which offers undergraduate certificates in aircraft maintenance and flight and whose goal “is to equip men and women to serve God in mission aviation,” received $150,000, with another $100,000 approved. Ferris State University, a public school in Michigan, received $113,500. Davenport University , a private nonprofit school in Michigan, got $55,000, with another $100,000 approved. In addition: Rollins College ($50,000); Calvin College, Betsy DeVos’ undergraduate alma mater ($35,000); Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University ($10,000); the University of Michigan’s Food Allergy Center ($10,000); Grand Rapids Community College Foundation ($5,000); Cornell University’s Weill Cornell Medical Center ($500); and Wake Forest University ($250).

The couple donated to a wide range of Christian-related education groups, such as the Grand Rapids Christian School Association ($350,000); the Ada Christian School Society ($50,000), the Rehoboth Christian School Association ($10,000), and Christian Schools International ($1,000).

The DeVos’ foundation also donated to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts ($250,000), where Betsy DeVos previously served on the board; ArtPrize Grand Rapids ($400,000), an art festival found by the family; the Boy Scouts of America ($305,000); the Xprize Foundation ($1.8 million) and a number of Christian ministries, churches and pro-life groups. Read the full list here.

Chicago’s retiree health care crisis for those the Mayor calls “entrenched interests.”


Last November I posted Jeff Johnson’s letter to the Mayor. He represents those the Mayor calls “entrenched interests.”

In less than a month 10,000 Chicago retired workers will have their health care insurance terminated by the City of Chicago.

Rahm calls it a blow against entrenched interests.

During his Oct. 11 budget address to the City Council, Emanuel lumped the phaseout of the retiree health care subsidy into the pot of “tough decisions” he has made to cut the city’s structural deficit by 80 percent.

“How did we get this done? We took on entrenched interests in some cases and inertia in the system in others that were preventing us from making some tough decisions and common sense choices,” the mayor said on that day. “We saved $100 million in health care costs, and our employee health care budget is level with 2011.”

Me? I call the City’s one-percent the entrenched interests. The Zells, the Pritzkers, Christopher Kennedy – people like that for whom health insurance isn’t really a problem.

Not a 75-year old retiree who worked for 30 years at Streets and San and isn’t Medicare eligible.

But that’s the difference between Rahm and me.

Fran Spielman lays it out in today’s Sun-Times.

Standing Rock Tribe’s Chairman David Archambault II statement on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decision to not grant easement.



“Today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it will not be granting the easement to cross Lake Oahe for the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline. Instead, the Corps will be undertaking an environmental impact statement to look at possible alternative routes. We wholeheartedly support the decision of the administration and commend with the utmost gratitude the courage it took on the part of President Obama, the Army Corps, the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior to take steps to correct the course of history and to do the right thing.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and all of Indian Country will be forever grateful to the Obama Administration for this historic decision.

We want to thank everyone who played a role in advocating for this cause. We thank the tribal youth who initiated this movement. We thank the millions of people around the globe who expressed support for our cause. We thank the thousands of people who came to the camps to support us, and the tens of thousands who donated time, talent, and money to our efforts to stand against this pipeline in the name of protecting our water. We especially thank all of the other tribal nations and jurisdictions who stood in solidarity with us, and we stand ready to stand with you if and when your people are in need.

Throughout this effort I have stressed the importance of acting at all times in a peaceful and prayerful manner – and that is how we will respond to this decision. With this decision we look forward to being able to return home and spend the winter with our families and loved ones, many of whom have sacrificed as well. We look forward to celebrating in wopila, in thanks, in the coming days.

We hope that Kelcey Warren, Governor Dalrymple, and the incoming Trump administration respect this decision and understand the complex process that led us to this point. When it comes to infrastructure development in Indian Country and with respect to treaty lands, we must strive to work together to reach decisions that reflect the multifaceted considerations of tribes.

Treaties are paramount law and must be respected, and we welcome dialogue on how to continue to honor that moving forward. We are not opposed to energy independence, economic development, or national security concerns but we must ensure that these decisions are made with the considerations of our Indigenous peoples.

To our local law enforcement, I hope that we can work together to heal our relationship as we all work to protect the lives and safety of our people. I recognize the extreme stress that the situation caused and look forward to a future that reflects more mutual understanding and respect.

Again, we are deeply appreciative that the Obama Administration took the time and effort to genuinely consider the broad spectrum of tribal concerns. In a system that has continuously been stacked against us from every angle, it took tremendous courage to take a new approach to our nation-to-nation relationship, and we will be forever grateful.”

Sunday mishmosh.


2000 U.S. veterans arrive in Standing Rock.

Matthew Crane, a 32-year-old Navy veteran who arrived three days ago, said the veterans joining the protest were “standing on the shoulders of Martin Luther King Jr and Gandhi” with the their plans to shield protesters.

“I bought a one-way ticket,” he told Reuters as he worked to build a wooden shelter at the main camp. “Hopefully we can shut this down before Christmas.”

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday said for the first time that he supports the completion of the pipeline. Reuters.



Chicago Tribune,

I find it ironic that one of your arguments for support of Betsy DeVos as the new secretary of education is that her support of charter schools and vouchers will counteract the evils of public schools that resist accountability. DeVos has been an ardent supporter of legislation that would sharply curb accountability of charter schools in Michigan, this in a state where 80 percent of existing charters are for-profit. The expenditure of public funds in a manner that is completely unregulated should give any citizen, liberal or conservative, pause, particularly when the lives of vulnerable children hang in the balance.

I speak as the founding director of a Chicago charter school, which was established at a time when charters were understood to be beacons of innovation intended to help improve public education. DeVos’ agenda is something far different, nothing less than the dismantling of public education which would lead to a Wild West of unregulated schooling options. We only need to look to Detroit to see the fruits of what Devos’ policies have wrought.



Ever since he announced his candidacy to lead the Democratic National Committee, Keith Ellison, the first American Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress, has been the target of a defamation campaign that is deceitful, repugnant, and yet quite predictable. At first expressed in whispers, but now being yelled from the rooftops by some of the party’s most influential figures, Ellison is being smeared as both an anti-Semite and enemy of Israel – the same smears virtually any critic of the Israeli government reflexively encounters, rendered far worse if the critic is a prominent American Muslim.

Three days ago, the now-ironically-named Anti-Defamation League pronounced Ellison’s 2010 comments about Israel “deeply disturbing and disqualifying.” What was Ellison’s “disqualifying” sin? He said in a 2010 speech that while he “wanted the U.S. to be friends with Israel,” the U.S. “can’t allow another country to treat us like we’re their ATM.” Glenn Greenwald.


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Illinois Black Panther Chairman Fred Hampton. Murdered in his sleep in his apartment on Chicago’s west side by the U.S. government, December 4th, 1969.

Peace through fear.


-By anonymous

It’s totally labor fear.

It has been going on for some time now.

In Chicago and many districts in the collar counties, teachers have had to fight and sometimes strike just to keep what they have, or at least keep their losses to a minimum. Once outside of the collar counties, teachers in many districts have much lower pay scales, their raises have been 1% or so for many years, and a lot of districts never offered the 6% retirement incentives. In the last few years medical insurance premium percentages paid by these teachers have gone up substantially.

At the same time, co-pays, deductibles, and the list of things “not covered” have also increased, all coming out of the teacher’s pay.

These teachers can’t put up a big fight, and don’t dare strike because they can be SB7ed later at the whim of administration. The economy of rural and downstate Illinois is already bad, and ex-teachers can have a difficult time finding other employment.

At least up here in the Chicago/collar county area, ex-teachers usually can find other employment.

So, labor peace is here only because most workers and unions (especially outlying and downstate) are very fearful of losing even more if they go on strike then if they “negotiate” cuts in pay and benefits.

There is little or no sympathy from the general public for us, one store worker I talked to said “the state is spending $14 for every $10 it takes in, it can’t go on like this. Rauner is trying to do something about it, but the Democrats are holding everything up.”

This is going to be a rough 4 years (or more), and we have targets on out backs.

Get it in writing? It is in writing. It’s called the pension protection clause of the Illinois Constitution.


Senate President John Cullerton.

Michael Madigan’s veto-proof majority in the Illinois House could not override a Rauner veto of the CPS budget bill that would have put $215 million into the hands of the unelected Chicago school board and relieve – at least briefly – the CPS pension debt.

Crain’s Greg Hinz purports to give the inside scoop of what happened last week. He portrays Senate President John Cullerton as the good guy, the honest broker between Madigan and Rauner.

That is arguable.

Everybody is pointing fingers at everybody for the veto and failure to override.

The truth is that Rauner owns this.

As CTU President Karen Lewis told me last week, Rauner cannot be trusted to keep his word about anything

In bargaining a contract with the teachers, the unelected board had cashed a $215 million check before the money was in the bank.

The truth is that Cullerton’s pension reform plan was never going to fly even if the legislature passed it. it would die in the chambers of the Illinois Supreme Court.

It is an attempt to change for the worse the pension obligation that the state has towards current state employees.

Cullerton may truly believe that he could renegotiate the conditions of a pension contract by limiting or diminishing benefits. He may truly believe it would result in a court decision different than Kanerva or SB1.

It wouldn’t.

Some think the problem with all the different versions of what happened last week would have been fixed by having the deal put in writing.

It is in writing.

It’s called the Illinois Constitution.

Keeping retirement weird. How not to fight back in the Trump era.


Fighting back in a time of Rauner and Trump. Low-paid workers strike at O’Hare last week.

Teachers in Skokie District 65 voted to ratify their collective bargaining agreement yesterday. They have been without a contract since August. The vote was 579 in favor and 101 against, according to Paula Zelinski, DEC president.

The details of the CBA will be released to the public following another ratification vote by the District 65 board of education.

I don’t know anything about the results. No matter. I never comment on the results of somebody else’s bargained agreement. I have bargained plenty of them. It is difficult stuff.  These are difficult times. I hope the teachers did okay.

And teacher contracts are mainly about local stuff.


It is getting close to Winter break and to my knowledge there has not been a single teachers strike in the state of Illinois where there are roughly 600 school districts with way more than that many contracts. I would guess maybe a third expired and had to be bargained this past year.

I follow this stuff pretty closely and I can’t recall a year in recent history without at least a couple of teacher strikes in Illinois in the Fall.

No strikes.

Is that a sign of labor peace or labor fear?

Every situation has its own particularities. Nobody likes a teachers’ strike. Certainly not teachers. But it is a part of the process and once in a while a strike is needed.

Maybe just not this year.

Or maybe it is a sign of fear and playing defense in the era of Rauner and Trump.

Like the Carrier deal, which allows hundred of jobs to get sent to Mexico, but maybe keeps the Indiana plant open for a while.

Sarah Palin called it crony capitalism. I don’t even know what the hell she is talking about. What kind of capitalism isn’t crony capitalism these days?

Bernie Sanders was way more accurate when he wrote that it gives permission for every corporation to demand a bribe to keep from moving to cheaper labor.

The United Steelworkers Union, which represents the Carrier workers, applauded the deal even though they weren’t consulted and hadn’t seen the details. Democrats called for 800 more deals just like it. And the national media got played by Trump once again.

I’m thinking about the last week in the Illinois legislature where on consecutive days the House failed to override a veto by Rauner, our little Trump, of a budget agreement for CPS but passed a bailout for ComEd.

Progressive friends – and they are friends – tell me that the bill contains money for green technologies and needed changes to regulations which we wouldn’t have gotten if we didn’t give ComEd the bailout.

What I know is that in a state that can’t pay its bills, that doesn’t begin to raise enough revenue to keep its public schools from being last in the nation in state school funding, where retired public employees have had to spend hundred of thousands of dollars for legal fees to protect our contractual and constitutionally guaranteed pensions, which hasn’t had a budget in two years, legislators just gave ComEd a bailout.

I’m sure there were good intentions. But the road to hell may well be lit by by the solar power of good intentions.

Some of this is just old news. Same old same old.

Or maybe we are seeing a trend in fighting Raunerism and Trumpism.

I don’t believe we can win this way.

Resisting Trumpism is going to be difficult but all the more necessary at a time when union leaders and Democrats are saying we should give Trump a chance and corporate bailouts are called wins by even progressive legislators.