Press Release

Betsy DeVos’ Support for Paul Vallas’ Chicago Mayoral Campaign Exposed

Unpopular Trump Education Secretary and Failed Former Schools Chief Are ‘Two Peas in a Pod’

For Release:


James Hill

CHICAGO—Today, it was revealed that a group supporting Paul Vallas, the far-right candidate running to be the next mayor of Chicago, received tens of thousands of dollars from the Illinois Federation for Children—a super PAC founded by Donald Trump’s disgraced former secretary of education, Betsy DeVos. 

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said: “Paul Vallas’ goal of defunding public schools and dividing parents against teachers makes him precisely the kind of candidate who would appeal to a fellow wrecker like Betsy DeVos—a person who’s devoted her life to ending public education as we know it.

“From Chicago to Philadelphia to New Orleans, Vallas waged a craven campaign to voucherize and pauperize, just like DeVos tried—and failed—to do when she served as Donald Trump’s education secretary.

“There’s a reason Vallas’ talking points about public safety, schools, election integrity and unions sound like national Republicans’: He’s being funded by them—Ken Griffin, Bruce Rauner, Charlie Kirk and now DeVos.

“It’s little wonder that teachers and congressmen in the cities hurt by Vallas are standing alongside Chicago parents to support Brandon Johnson’s campaign instead. They know the grave risk to kids’ learning that Vallas represents and the passion for classroom instruction and leadership embodied by Johnson."

In 2021, Vallas publicly mourned DeVos’ departure from Washington, and last year wrote of his vision to privatize Chicago Public Schools through a voucher system funded by teacher pensions. He also proposed that religious schools could be considered charter schools that would be paid for by taxpayers.

AFT Michigan President David Hecker said: "It is no surprise that Betsy DeVos supports Vallas because both are clearly committed to eliminating public education. DeVos' track record is one of advancing vouchers, fighting against legislation to save Detroit Public Schools and strongly opposing organized labor, not to mention her atrocious years as education secretary.

“From city to city, Vallas has strived to undercut public education. He and DeVos are two peas in a pod." 

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.