Ron DeSantis cozying up to far-right anti-public education extremist Besty DeVos comes as no surprise given DeSantis’s record of signing laws allowing books to be banned from schools, attacking LGBTQ+ youth, and arguing in favor of new Florida education standards that will require schools to teach children that some enslaved people benefited from slavery. 

New reporting shows that the far-right conservative DeVos family appears to be backing DeSantis in the 2024 Republican primary. 

CNBC: “The billionaire DeVos family, whose matriarch, Betsy DeVos, served in Donald Trump’s Cabinet, appears to be backing a Trump rival in the 2024 Republican presidential contest: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.”

The DeVos family and DeSantis go way back: The family has cheered the governor on for years as he’s pushed an extreme MAGA education agenda in Florida. 

CNBC: “The DeVos family has a longstanding alliance with DeSantis, one that dates back to his first run for governor in 2018, according to records reviewed by CNBC. Underpinning this alliance is a shared vision for deeply conservative education policy.

“As DeSantis campaigns for president in part on his work to remake Florida’s public education system to eliminate what he calls ‘wokeness,’ the DeVos-DeSantis alliance offers a window into how the governor has nurtured allies on some of his most controversial positions.

“To understand how closely DeVos and DeSantis align on education policy, consider this recording, obtained by CNBC, of a virtual town hall from April 2022 that features Betsy DeVos and the governor. On the recording, DeVos can be heard raving about how DeSantis, in her view, has ‘greatly expanded and improved Florida’s student and parent first approach to education.’”

This comes on the heels of DeSantis doubling down on his support for new Florida curriculum that claims some enslaved people benefited from slavery.

Washington Post: “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is intensifying his efforts to de-emphasize racism in his state’s public school curriculum by arguing that some Black people benefited from being enslaved and defending his state’s new African American history standards that civil rights leaders and scholars say misrepresents centuries of U.S. reality.

“‘They’re probably going to show that some of the folks that eventually parlayed, you know, being a blacksmith into doing things later in life,’ DeSantis said on Friday in response to reporters’ questions while standing in front of a nearly all-White crowd of supporters.”

Much like DeSantis, DeVos has worked to undermine America’s public education system. 

The Guardian: “Since taking office, [DeVos] has proposed billions of dollars in cuts to her own department, hitting class size reductions, after-school programmes, full-service community schools and student loan forgiveness.”

Washington Post: “More than $1 billion would be spent on private school vouchers and other school choice plans under the budget proposal released Monday by President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. The proposal also calls for slashing the Education Department’s budget and devoting more resources to career training, at the expense of four-year colleges and universities. The proposal would cut $3.6 billion — about 5 percent — from the Education Department by eliminating several discretionary programs, including one that funds after-school activities for needy children and another that covers teacher training.”

USA Today: “Betsy DeVos, secretary of education under President Donald Trump, said over the weekend to a conservative group that the department she led should be abolished. ‘I personally think the Department of Education should not exist,’ she said Saturday during a Moms for Liberty event , in Tampa, Florida, according to Florida Phoenix. DeVos said educational decisions should be left up to states and local boards.”

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