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> DEVOS FAMILY DECLARES OPEN SEASON ON KIDS & THEIR SCHOOLS
> The prime mover behind the petition drive to amend the state
> constitution to allow private school vouchers in Michigan is Dick
> DeVos, President of the Amway Corporation. DeVos has vowed to spend
> at least $5 million to make the Religious Right's dream of public
> funding for religious schools a reality.
> The name chosen for the ballot initiative campaign - "Kids First!
> Yes!" - uses PR appeal to try to paper over the far right agenda it
> promotes. For the DeVos family and their billions, that agenda is
> what has always come first. Public schools have long been a favored
> target for Dick DeVos; as a member of the State Board of Education in
> the early '90s, he pushed for vouchers and other programs to defund
> the schools. Like his father before him, Dick DeVos sits on the
> Council for National Policy, a secretive organization whose meetings
> the far right uses to plan and coordinate state and local strategies
> A brief glance at where the DeVos family dollars - including funding
> by Dick DeVos and his father, Richard DeVos - have been invested
> makes it clear that the attempt to "sell" Michigan voters on the idea
> of religious and private school vouchers isn't about kids, it's about
> right-wing ideology. (All dollar figures are for 1996 unless
> otherwise noted.*)
> - Focus on the Family: James Dobson's multi-million-dollar Religious
> Right empire and its state affiliate, the Michigan Family Forum,
> received $150,000 from DeVos sources.
> - Family Research Council: Dick DeVos's wife Betsey sits on the
> board of this Religious Right organization, which was Gary Bauer's
> home base until he left to run for President. In total, DeVos
> dollars added up to $25,000.
> - Right to Life of Michigan Education Fund and other anti-
> reproductive choice organizations received $173,750 from DeVos.
> - The Mackinac Center for Public Policy Research, which drafted the
> constitutional amendment on private and religious school vouchers
> for the 2000 ballot, also opposes the Americans with Disabilities
> Act, living wage ordinances, arts funding, and even wants to
> privatize public zoos. Support from the DeVos family totaled
> - The Heritage Foundation, whose monthly luncheons have become the
> meeting ground for opponents of affirmative action across the
> nation, including at the University of Michigan, received over
> $200,000 from DeVos and Amway in 1998.**
> - The Federalist Society, whose board of trustees includes such
> hard right conservatives as Robert Bork, Donald Hodel, Orrin Hatch,
> and Edwin Meese, has its work supported by DeVos dollars totaling
> - 'Of The People' authored a controversial Parental Rights Amendment,
> which was denounced by child welfare agencies, teachers,
> psychologists, and PTAs across the country. DeVos funding
> totaled $60,000.
> - Anti-public education organizations like the Friedman Foundation
> in Indiana, the National Center for Policy Analysis in Texas,
> Partners Advancing Values in Education in Milwaukee all support
> efforts to reroute money from public schools into private and
> religious schools and all receive DeVos funding -- $35,000 for
> these three organizations.
> - The Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, a
> Religious Right organization that opposes welfare and favors
> using tax money to pay churches and other religious institutions
> to provide social services, received $70,000 from the DeVos
> * Financial information from The Richard and Helen DeVos
> Foundation, IRS Form 990-PF, FY 1996; and The Dick and Betsey
> DeVos Foundation, IRS Form 990-PF, FY 1996.
> ** From The Heritage Foundation, 1998 Annual Report, "1998 Income
> and Expenses."
> --------- End forwarded message ----------
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