In the debate about the appointment of Betsy DeVos, the failure of her brand of reform in Michigan has not gotten enough attention. Would you hire a plumber whose previous jobs were all failures? Would you trust your car to an auto mechanic who was known to be incompetent? Would you go to a doctor who lost his medical license for malpractice?

DeVos’s allies have been beating the drums about a Detroit miracle, but no one else can see it but them. Despite more than 20 years of charters, the Detroit school district is the lowest performing urban district on NAEP. As the Detroit Free Press has repeatedly written, many of the charters in Detroit are failing schools. DeVos fought off legislative efforts to impose accountability on charters.

Most recently, one of the boosters for privatization in Michigan published an article about the miracle of Muskegon Heights, a predominantly African American school district that was taken over by the state and given an emergency manager. The emergency manager turned the entire small district over to a charter operator. If you believe the DeVos PR, this was great for the children.

But Gary Rubinstein looked at the data and found that this charter flack was presenting “alternate facts.” Muskegon Heights is one of the lowest performing districts in the state of Michigan.

Before the takeover, Muskegon Heights had five schools. Now it has two.

Gary writes:

So one school is in the bottom 2% of all schools and the other is in the bottom 0%. Unless the second school once had a ranking with negative numbers, there is no way that being in the 0% can be an improvement over anything.

So this is yet another example of a lie to support the narrative that charter schools are superior to public schools. If this turnaround was supported by Betsy DeVos and it is any indication of her ability to devise real solutions to complex issues, I’m feeling pretty pessimistic about the direction education will take if and when she is confirmed as Secretary of Education.