Peter Greene fact-checked Betsy DeVos’s “back to school” speech at a religious school in Milwaukee and discovered that all of her facts were wrong. But facts, in DeVos’s worldview, are tiresome and unnecessary.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/petergreene/2019/09/17/betsy-devos-polly-williams-vouchers-and-selective-facts/

Perhaps most egregious was her paean of praise to Polly Williams, an African American state legislator who supported school choice until she realized she had been duped. DeVos ignores Williams’ change of heart and pretends that she was a true believer until the end. The reality in Milwaukee was that the voucher program was bankrolled by the far-right Bradley Foundation, which used Polly Williams. She eventually became disillusioned.

Peter Greene writes:

DeVos…chose to invoke Annette “Polly” Williams, the mother of school choice in Wisconsin. The Democratic politician and activist wrote the first school choice legislation in the country (adopted in 1989) and became a popular speaker on the issue, particularly to conservative audiences.

But Williams became disenchanted with the school choice movement. Her original legislation did not include religious schools, but was expanded to do so five years later. Williams took to calling the voucher program a “Catholic movement.” She expressed displeasure with some of the folks, like Lamar Alexander and Bill Bennett, who swooped in to speak. She accused leaders of exploiting black and poor families, and of leaving poor families behind with the program expansion. 75% of voucher recipients were not escaping the public system, because they had never been in it. She was critical of education measures taken by Governor Scott Walker, whose supporters have included the DeVos family.

Williams told an interviewer, “Our intent was never to destroy the public schools.” When accused of drifting away from the movement, she would reply, “I haven’t changed. The people around me have changed.”

It’s an odd choice for DeVos to invoke Williams, who seems to have viewed folks like DeVos as having hijacked the charter movement. But DeVos seems determined to launch, or at least lay a foundation for,a national voucher program, and she’s going to paint a favorable picture with whatever brush she has handy.