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A report



For those interested, I attach a draft of the "Ninth Bracey Report on the Condition of Public Education." At 38 single-spaced Word pages (19,000 words), it's the longest ever and no wonder Kappan editors trimmed it (it still rolls out at 20 pages in the magazine). Do not cite or quote this version. The published version will be in the October edition of Phi Delta Kappan which will likely start arriving on October 4. Sorry, but I don't have the wherewithal to copy and mail it. Would that I did. I will send the list of references to anyone who needs them--they're not a part of the body of the text.

There are several items in this version that did not make the final cut. The editors deleted the Rotten Apple award to Penn Jillette (half of Penn and Teller) because "you can't go after comedians; it's what they do." I will see that Penn gets a personal copy. They also deleted the Rotten Apple to Jeanne Allen on the grounds that it would look like we were actually taking her seriously. They shortened greatly the Rotten Apple to Willard Daggett(it still takes 3/4 of a page). For instance, we dropped the section on what he says about his daughter, feeling that, while it is a doozy, the sins of the father should not be visited upon her. Daggett, sensing something was coming his way, tried to pre-empt the award by writing to a member of Phi Delta Kappa's Board of Directors saying that the Rotten Apples were really a bad idea, blah, blah, blah. George Kersey, the new Executive Director of PDK, senth a copy of the award and said that PDK had the video tapes to back it up. Daggett's lawyer suggested some aspects of the award might be actionable. Some aspects were then changed, some were not (I concurred with the proposed changes; for instance, it was originally called "The Pinocchio Nasal Envy Award").

The sections of this year's report:

Rotten Apple Awards: Willard Daggett; selected Grosse Pointe, MI school administrators; virtually every national education organization; the Virginia Board of

Education; Paul Peterson; Andrew Coulson; Thomas Boysen and Thomas Sobol; Stephan Thernstrom, and....Gerald W. Bracey.

Golden Apple Awards: Richard Rothstein, Jack Jennings, Gary Adams and Jan Hartleben, Linda Wertheimer

Testing, a Brief Chronicle of the Madness

Tests and Accountability (testing flaws generally and flaws in the Tennessee Value-Added scheme specifically)

Public Schools Compared to Private Schools by Case Study (Richard Rothstein (Economic Policy Institute), Martin Carnoy (Stanford) and Luis Ben Veniste (a Carnoy doctoral student, now at The World Bank), find that six hypotheses about the superiority of private schools don't hold up).

Public Schools Compared to Private Schools by NAEP (lookin' good).

NAEP Trends and Simpson's Paradox (although all ethnic groups show much improvement on NAEP, changing demographics over time attenuates the aggregate average, and yes, it's all explained in English in the text).

Vouchers: Chile Chills Out (Martin Carnoy and Patrick McEwan of Stanford find that Chile's 20-year voucher program failed to accomplish what advocates hoped for and did precisely what critics in this country have argued it would).

A Dispatch from the Privatization Front (My account of attending a CEO-America conference-cum-revival-meeting on the wonders of privatization).

The Class-Size Controversy (mostly results from the first look at California--the summer issue of Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, entirely dedicated to CSR data and issues, arrived too late for inclusion. It will constitute the entirety of the November "Research" Column).

Charters (summary of 6 evaluation studies in MI, CA and AZ).

Vouchers (mostly wait'll next year since data are so scarce; does contain a critique of the voucher plan put forth in the July, 1999 issue of The Atlantic Monthly).

The Neurotic Need To Believe the Worst (discussion of that obsession in the context of articles by Ethan Bronner in the NYT and email correspondence (the latter deleted in the published version)).

Columbine (the take on the shooting and its aftermath by Washington Post columnists Courtland Milloy and William Raspberry--the event seen from the "parallel universe" of the African American community).