Tuesday, November 29, 2016

DeVos Removes Controversial Twitter Photo But Conflict Of Interest Concerns Continue

Late last week I posted about Betsy DeVos's Twitter header photo, which appeared to show Donald Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education shilling boxed water sold by a company in which she had invested. In the post I posited that, like Trump, DeVos may have her own conflicts of interest to grapple with.

At some point this afternoon, the header photo I challenged was taken off of Betsy DeVos's Twitter account. 

Coincidence? I think not. 

Here's the new photo:

Thanks to some clever cropping, this image seems more appropriate, but it still falls pretty far short for a nominee for a cabinet position. 

You see, I checked out DeVos's website, which is plainly linked on her Twitter account. On the website there is a page for contact and media inquiries. There you will find a line that says:
To download photos of Betsy DeVos for editorial purposes, please click here.

So of course I clicked there, and here's what I found.

The uncropped version of the new header photo is titled "Betsy in a Meeting 3". Here is the entire image, with some commentary from yours truly.

And here are "Betsy in a Meeting 1" and "Betsy in a Meeting 2".

The new photo may be less outwardly problematic, but my goodness, really? With her self reported "28 years involved with education issues" her people can't find one photo of her where she's actually doing something related to, oh, I don't know, educating kids?

Where did I find that fascinating tidbit about 28 years in education, you may ask? On the newly updated Q&A page of DeVos's website! On that page you'll also find this:
Q: What are your thoughts about specific education policies?
I am very excited to get to work and to talk about my thoughts and ideas on making American education great again. The status quo is not acceptable. I am committed to transforming our education system into the best in the world. However, out of respect for the United States Senate, it is most appropriate for me to defer expounding on specifics until they begin their confirmation process.  (emphasis mine)
So not only has DeVos updated her header photo, she's updated her website to reflect the fact that she is Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education. Not much to go on here in terms of her thoughts about the job, though. And the only information offered under the "Education" tab is what you'd expect - just a string of school choice buzz words. It's all about "America’s broken education system" and "children trapped by their zip code in a school that failed to meet their needs."

And there's even a blurb about founding the West Michigan Aviation Academy, a charter high school. 

But not a positive word to say about traditional public schools. 

Not. A. Word.

Maybe there is a contact email address where I could ask her a question about what she plans to do about all of these pesky public schools people seem to like so much? So much so in fact that, as of this writing, over 77,000 people have contacted their Senators to oppose DeVos's appointment.

Lucky for us, there is contact information! If you have a question for the next Secretary of Education, just get in touch with the Windcrest Group!
Other questions? Email contact@windquest.com and we’d be happy to help!
To learn more about the Windcrest Group, just click on the "Entrepreneurship" tab on the same website.
Starting in 1989 along with, Dick, Betsy started the Windquest Group, where she serves as Chairman. The Windquest Group invests in a family of companies that provide innovative solutions, services, and products that make the world better.

DeVos may have taken down the super tacky photo of her selling Boxed Water, but clearly she still doesn't get it. It's simply not OK to offer information regarding her nomination and her entrepreneurial enterprises on the same website.

Which brings me back to the same questions I raised in my last post.
Will she divest from her business interests now that she is poised to become a government employee? Or does Trump believe that the "law is on the side" of the Secretary of Education as well, and she can't have a conflict of interest?
If I was right that the photo needed to come down, then it stands to reason that I'm also right that a wall needs to go up between her and her "family of companies". 

But will Trump and DeVos be willing to build walls between themselves and their business empires? If they are, those walls are going to have to be huge.


  1. You go, girl! Found the link from @dianeravitch.

  2. Keep up the good investigative work; I love your passion for our children's education.

  3. What we call chaos is just patterns we haven’t recognized. What we call random is just patterns we can’t decipher.” ~Chuck Palahniuk
    Lead Contamination Control Act of 1991 The subcommittee heard testimony on H.R. 2840, the Lead Contamination Control Acts of 1991. H.R. 2840 would create programs to prevent lead exposure from water, food, and paint, and would set up testing programs for lead in the nation’s schools. It would also appropriate money for lead screening in children. Subcommittee Chairman Waxman said one of every six children in America have experienced lead poisoning at levels that might retard mental development. In some cities, one of two children have experienced lead poisoning at a level that can cause brain damage. The witnesses included doctors and educators testifying on the damage high lead levels can cause in children, environmental activists testifying on the harm of excess lead levels on plants and wildlife, and representatives of municipal water facilities. A study conducted by Rep. Waxman’s office found high levels of lead in the water supplies around the U.S. Capitol, reflecting the immediate threat of high lead levels everywhere in the United States. https://www.c-span.org/video/?20139-1/lead-contamination-control-act-1991

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