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Monday, May 29, 2017
Betsy DeVos Wants to Use America's Schools to Build "God's Kingdom"
More than 150 years ago, Dutch immigrants from a conservative Protestant sect chose western Michigan as the setting for this idealized replica of Holland, in part because of its isolation. They wanted to keep American influences away from their orthodox community. Until recently, Holland restaurants couldn't sell alcohol on Sundays. Residents are still not allowed to yell or whistle between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. If city officials decide that a fence or a shed signals decay, they can tear it down and mail the owner a bill. Grass clippings longer than eight inches have to be removed and composted, and snow must be shoveled soon after it lands on the streets. Most locals say rules like these help keep Holland prosperous, with low unemployment, little crime, good city services, and Republicans at almost every government post. It's also where President Donald Trump's pick for education secretary, billionaire philanthropist Betsy DeVos, grew up.