Rotten Apples in Education Awards for 2007

01/14/2008 12:57 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

In 1991, I wrote a piece, "Why Can't They Be Like We Were?" providing data to show that schools were doing much better than critics claimed. When I sent in a follow-up a year later, the editors at Phi Delta Kappan changed the title from "The True Crisis in Public Education" to "The Second Bracey Report on the Condition of Public Education" and requested it be an annual document. It always appears in the October issue and Number 17 went out in October 2007.

In addition to reporting and interpreting data, I would comment on what I thought were the dumbest and brightest things that people had done in education in the preceding 12 months. In 1996, I codified these comments as "Golden Apples" and "Rotten Apples" awards. In 2000, Phi Delta Kappa's Board of Directors decided that their house organ was not an appropriate place for the kind of derision the Rottens engaged in. The Rottens had to go. That they decided this shortly after a Rotten recipient threatened to sue is no doubt coincidental. The Goldens will be a bit late this year, but here's a list of Rottens.

Anyone wanting the full exposition and not just the list can contact me at

Earlier editions, and eventually these, too, can be found at the Web site of the Education Disinformation Detection and Reporting Agency.

The Winners:

There's a Sucker Born Every Minute
: Scholastic, Inc.

Don't Let Dick Cheney of Mike Bloomberg Hear About This: Noel Mason (an Australian bureaucrat who wants to curry hooky-playing by rounding up the kids and working them hard picking up trash all day).

Just Doing It for the Money, Part I: Craig Barrett, CEO, Intel.

Draft Walter Williams: Mallard Fillmore (Bruce Tinsley).

Just Doing It for the Money, Part II: U. S. News & World Report.

George Orwell War Is Peace: Center for American Progress.

Policy Mangler and Bungler in Chief: Margaret Spellings.

Most Propagandistic Use of a Discredited Idea: Craig Barrett, Roy Romer, Susan Traiman, John Castellani, Vivien Stewart, Raymond Scheppach, and Bob Wise.

Deja vu All Over Again: Eli Broad and Bill Gates.

Longest Running Pathological Idee Fixe: George W. Bracey

Sloppiness as a Virtue: Center for Public Education (Part of NSBA).

They Can Have Any Color as Long as its Black: Reading First.

We Created Our Own Reality: Sandy Kress.

Don't Trust the Education Trust: Amy Wilkins.

What's Wrong with Texas? Or, Devolution Rocks!: Texas Education Agency and the Texas Higher Education Board.