Betsy DeVos likes to point with pride to her husband’s charter school. See, she implies, I know what I am talking about. My husband started a charter school called the West Michigan Aviation Academy, located at the Gerald Ford Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where the DeVos family lives.

 

Jersey Jazzman found that there is another side to the story. 

 

Dick DeVos’s charter school has one of the lowest shares of special education students in its county.

 

Understand that Betsy DeVos is absolutely fine with this. In her opinion, we would be better off segregating children who “struggle” from those who do not….

 

Dick DeVos’s charter school enrolls relatively few Limited English Proficient students….

 

We can debate whether it’s a good idea to isolate many of these students from the rest of the community. But we all have to agree — unless we’re totally ignorant of the realities of school finance — that schools serving more students with special needs must have more resources. One would think, therefore, that a school like WMAA, with its relatively small special education and LEP populations, wouldn’t be spending nearly as much as the other high schools in the area.

 

One would be wrong….

 

Dick DeVos’s charter school spends more on salaries for all employees per pupil than almost every other high school in its county. Hmm… well, Betsy DeVos says she wants to pay “good” teachers more. Maybe all that extra money is going into instructional salaries…

 

Or not….

 

Despite its high spending on total salaries, Dick DeVos’s charter school spending on instructional salaries is fairly typical. Which leads me to wonder: where is all that extra money going?

 

It is not going to pay highly experienced teachers. Like other charter schools in Michigan, DeVos’s charter school has a large proportion of inexperienced teachers.

 

Teachers gain the most in effectiveness over the first few years of their careers; yet nearly half of the teachers at Dick DeVos’s charter school have less than three years of experience. 

 

The takeaway:

 

High spending schools, enrolling proportionally fewer students with special needs, taught by inexperienced teachers. That’s Betsy DeVos’s vision for American education — just ask her husband.