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The New York Times reports that billionaire Betsy DeVos refuses to sell her interest in Neurocore, a company that uses biofeedback to enhance brain functioning. She has a direct conflict of interest. Will that stop her nomination? I wouldn’t bet on it. It didn’t faze Republicans that she knows nothing about federal law regarding children with disabilities. Why should they care that she will use her position to enrich herself? When is enough enough?
The committee vote on DeVos will take place on January 31. Call your Senators’ offices. Speak to his or her aides. Urge them to vote NO on this unqualified, uninformed party debutante. She is not entitled to be Secretary of Education as payback for hundreds of millions of donations to the Republican Party.
“Betsy DeVos, the billionaire school choice advocate selected by President Donald J. Trump to serve as education secretary, is a strong supporter of using biofeedback technology to help children and teenagers enhance their performance in school.
“Ms. DeVos and her husband, Richard DeVos Jr., are major financial backers of Neurocore, a Michigan company that operates drug-free “brain performance centers” that claim to have worked with 10,000 children and adults to overcome problems with attention deficit disorder, autism, sleeplessness and stress.
“In an agreement with the Office of Government Ethics made public Friday, Ms. DeVos said that she had stepped down from the Neurocore board but that she would retain her financial interest in the company. She valued that stake at $5 million to $25 million in her financial disclosure statement.
“On Friday evening, Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the Republican chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said he would delay the initial vote on Ms. DeVos’s nomination by a week, until Jan. 31, as Democrats argued that the process had been rushed through, without enough time to answer remaining questions about her financial disclosures.
“Ms. DeVos and her husband promote Neurocore heavily on the website for Windquest Group, a family office the couple use to manage some of their many investments. The website, for instance, includes a link to a Washington Post article about Kirk Cousins, a Washington Redskins quarterback who describes how he “retrained” his brain to better perform on the field by going to a Neurocore center.
“But the claims that Neurocore’s methods can help children improve their performance in school could present a conflict for Ms. DeVos if she is confirmed as education secretary — especially given that the company is moving to expand its national reach.
“Neurocore, founded about a decade ago, operates seven of the brain performance centers in Michigan and recently opened two in Florida. It has said it has plans to open as many as seven other centers across the country this year. Ms. DeVos’s financial disclosure shows that she and her husband have an indirect interest in the company through a family partnership.
“Richard W. Painter, a White House ethics adviser under President George W. Bush, said he was familiar with Neurocore and applauded the business and education concepts behind it — but he said the DeVoses would be better off selling their interests in the company.”
California teacher Jack Covey sent the following comment on this news story:
“I am very sensitive to the needs of students
— Betsy Devos, at her confirmation hearing,
in response to a question from Senator Murray.
I think we now may have a little clarity as to what
she meant by that remark … as in when such needs
benefit her investment portfolio.
Neurocore — a totally unscientific, quack medical
“bio-feedback” company that claims to cure autism, ADHD, etc.
where it operates nine “brain performance centers,” where
the controversial “drug free” cures offered there are not recognized by
any entity or anyone in the mainstream medical establishment.
Despite its grandiose claims of success, Neurocore has never consented
to have these practices tested or investigated in peer-reviewed
… “snake oil” is how Jennifer “Edushyster” Berkshire
referred to it in a recent tweet:
Indeed, the Michigan Dept. of Insurance has upheld
insurance company denials of coverage for any Neurocore
“cures” on the grounds that there is zero evidence supporting
the efficacy of any of their treatments. These repeated
denials and upholding of these denials contradict
Neurocore’s website, which claims that their treatments
are covered by insurance carriers.
Betsy and her husband are two of Neurocore’s main investors
via their umbrella company Windcrest, which also is the
main backer of that Boxed Water being peddled to
the struggling citizens of Flint, Michigan. (a photo
of Betsy at a school site, included a product placement
for this “Boxed Water.”)
Her stock ownership and membership on Neurocore board of directors
was discovered two days ago — alas, after her confirmation