Betsy DeVos, Education, Video, Women — March 1, 2017 at 7:14 am

(UPDATED) VIDEO: Head of Betsy DeVos’s anti-public education group testifies in Senate hearing that he likes to “shake” indecisive women


“I wanted to shake her, like I like to shake my wife.”

Gary Naeraert is the Executive Director of the Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP). GLEP was founded and largely funded by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to influence policy and law in Michigan with the aim of promoting charter schools and the elimination of traditional public schools. The group consists of a PAC, a foundation, a 501(c)(3) group, and a 501(c)(4) group.

While giving testimony before a Senate Education Committee meeting yesterday, Naeyaert revealed that he likes to “shake” indecisive women, including his wife. It was an astonishing moment:

He was referring to the head of the State School Reform Office, Natasha Baker, a Snyder appointee, someone he’s clearly frustrated with.

“I wanted to shake her, like I like to shake my wife.”

Fortunately for Baker, Naeyaert would go to jail if he assaulted her in this way. Naeyaert’s casual, laughing reference to shaking his wife when she can’t decide which restaurant she wants to go to raises serious questions about his situation with her, however.

Lonnie Scott, Executive Director of Progress Michigan, excoriated Naeyaert, calling on him to publicly apologize:

The head of GLEP will likely say he was making a joke, but in what world is domestic violence funny? He was addressing a committee in the Michigan Senate, but he seemed to think he was with Billy Bush on the Access Hollywood bus. Naeyaert should apologize for his comments and explain why he thought invoking images of domestic violence was relevant in a discussion about education. Also, making decisions about school closures, which will affect students and neighborhoods for years to come, is not the same as deciding which chain restaurant you want to eat at for dinner.

Gary Naeyaert represents and leads a group formed by Betsy DeVos to destroy public schools and reshape them in the image she has for them: for-profit charters and private religious schools that use our tax dollars to enrich the people running them. And it appears, by his own admission, that he is a perpetrator of domestic violence against his wife.

UPDATE: Ironically, GLEP’s twitter account (likely run by Naeyaert himself) tweeted this out yesterday morning before his testimony:

“Character education”??? Sounds like a curriculum Naeyaert himself should be taking.

UPDATE 2: GLEP has officially apologized for Naeyaert’s offensive remarks: