The Michigan Family Buying Indiana Education

Art by Clyde Gaw
Art by Clyde Gaw

By Doug Martin,  the author of Hoosier School Heist (find it on Facebook)

(cross-posted at Schools Matter)

If you haven’t read my book Hoosier School Heist, chances are you don’t know Betsy DeVos.  Without a doubt, Betsy DeVos and her family members are some of the biggest players behind school privatization in Indiana (and several other states).

Betsy DeVos is the wife of Richard (Dick) DeVos, Jr., the Christian Right leader of Amway and Right-to-Work  supporter who ran for governor of Michigan in 2006 and almost won.   As I explain in my book, Richard, in a video a few years back, detailed the family plan for Indiana public education and school privatization across the country.

Betsy DeVos’ brother Erik Prince founded the Christian military force Blackwater, known for its massacre, threats to a U.S. investigator, and big government payouts in the War on Terror.

Along with Walmart’s Walton family, Betsy DeVos heads the American Federation for Children, a front-group operating in several states, which funneled money into the Hoosiers for Economic Growth PAC which in turn handed tons of campaign donations to Indiana Republicans to pass anti-public education bills to benefit for-profit charter operators and rightwing free-market-promoting Christian schools.

Besides giving Tony Bennett $10,000 directly, the DeVos family has handed $940,000 to the American Federation for Children.

Mike Pence has received just $20,000 in campaign donations from the DeVos family.

In 2014, the group gave the Hoosiers for Economic Growth PAC (now the Hoosiers for Quality Education PAC) $175,000.

The American Federation for Children is still very actively raising money in Indiana through Citizens United lawyer James Bopp, Jr.’s Terre Haute office, with Jim Walton giving close to $40,000 this year alone.  So far, the school privatization money is flowing into Florida and Oklahoma, but it’s a sure bet it will find its way to the Indiana statehouse doorsteps soon, too.


Doug Martin is the author of Hoosier School Heist : How Corporations and Theocrats Stole Democracy From Public Education, a book being read in over 130 cities and towns and 78 Indiana counties, 23 states, and the District of Columbia.  A regular guest on national and Indiana radio talk shows such as Justin Oakley’s Just Let Me Teach and Amos Brown’s Afternoons with Amos, Dr. Martin’s research has been or will soon be featured in the Washington Post Answer Sheet , ABC’s Nightline, and the Associated Press