By LAINA STEBBINS
Capital News Service
LANSING — Michigan lobbyist and business executive Betsy DeVos’ nomination as U.S. secretary of education has been met with criticism from Michigan educators and public school advocates who have been sparring with DeVos for decades. But some educators who have worked in Michigan charter schools, for which DeVos has been an aggressive advocate, argue that school competition has helped the state. Those who have been pushing back against the billionaire GOP donor’s influence on state politics and legislation, including the Michigan Education Association (MEA), say that DeVos’s persistent advocacy for charter schools could prove detrimental to public schooling across the country if her nomination is confirmed. “There has never been in [DeVos’s] history – and you only have to look at her history here in Michigan – much concern at all about the public schools,” said union President Steven Cook. Since legislation authorizing public support for charter schools passed in Michigan in the 1990s, Cook said, the state has been running parallel systems that drain resources from existing public schools.