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Nancy Flanagan is retired from a distinguished career as a teacher in Michigan. She sent the following comment accompanied by this article about how school choice has increased segregation in the public schools of Holland, Michigan.
“This is the best, most accurate and representative piece on what the DeVos family–over 25 years–has done to public education in Michigan. Slowly, subtly, they have damaged the Holland public school system, trading on racism and fear to chip away at a once-highly respected and functional system. Please understand: Holland used to be an all-white, all-Christian, largely Dutch town. When diversity arrived, DeVos & Co. planted one of their first “innovative” charters there, Black River. Holland’s white enrollment has plummeted 60 percent. The linked article explains how DeVos used charters (because vouchers necessitated a change in state legislation, which they could not get through) as a strategy to bust integration and bust teachers unions, in the place where they had the most success: western Michigan.
“My best friend was a teacher for many years in Holland. As Hispanic (and it’s mostly Hispanic) families moved in, white families moved out. The dis-integration of a sturdy, well-run public district–the kind of district you wouldn’t expect to go under, because it once had considerable public support… This is not “low-hanging fruit”–a chronically stressed urban or rural district in poverty. This is the next phase…