July 26, 2022

Smiley counts Rick Scott and the DeVos family as major donors and supporters even as they push a radical agenda to defund Department of Education

Senator Rick Scott (R-FL), Chair of the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee and a vocal booster and funder of Tiffany Smiley’s campaign, has made defunding the Department of Education a centerpiece of the Senate Republican campaign agenda–and a look at Smiley’s recent donors makes it clear that she would be all-in on defunding the Department of Education. Smiley counts Dick DeVos–husband to former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos–as a major campaign donor. As if the DeVos family’s regular donations to anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ+ groups for years wasn’t enough, Betsy Devos recently said that she thinks the Department of Education should be abolished

The Center for American Progress Action recently published a new report showing that Senate Republicans’ education plan would cut the funding equivalent of 433,000 public school teachers, eliminate Pell Grants, and zero out programs for students with disabilities.

Washington state Democratic Party spokesperson Caitlin Harrington issued the following statement in response:

“Tiffany Smiley’s campaign is being backed loudly and proudly by Rick Scott who is fighting hard to defund the Department of Education–and Smiley’s campaign is also being bankrolled by the Devos family, America’s number one enemy of public schools. It’s clear that Tiffany Smiley would take a wrecking ball to our public schools. Washington state can’t afford to send someone to Congress whose views on education line up with anti-teacher, anti-public school extremists like Rick Scott and DeVos family.”

Washington state can’t afford to elect someone like Tiffany Smiley who would proudly accept the support and funding of the extremist and radical DeVos family. DeVos’s public call to defund the Department of Education shouldn’t be surprising, as her track record as Trump’s education secretary is littered with attacks against the American public school system and its students: 

  • DeVos called the public school system – where more than 80% of U.S. schoolchildren attend – a “dead end” and a “monopoly”
  • Along with Trump, DeVos proposed slashing $10.6 billion in federal education funding.
  • She subsequently introduced a program that would have used those public funds to expand “school choice”, undermining the traditional public school system for a system that has been used to avoid racial integration in schools.
  • DeVos attempted to protect predatory for-profit colleges that defrauded students, as well as to make it harder for defrauded students to access debt relief. 
  • DeVos suggested guns belong in schools and proposed using federal grant money to purchase firearms for teachers to keep in their classrooms. 
  • She reversed Obama-era guidance on Title IX that protected trans students.
  • She attempted to change how sexual assault and harassment charges were handled on college campuses and in K-12 schools by requiring cross-examination of victims of sexual assault and setting a higher bar for victims reporting complaints. 
  • DeVos said she wanted to “advance God’s kingdom” in school classrooms and believes that Creationism should be taught in school. 
  • When she was Vice President of her parents’ Edgar and Elsa Prince Foundation, the organization supported Focus on the Family, a group that supports abstinence-only sex education and believes in conversion therapy.