Sunday, November 1, 2009

Gerald Bracey

An amazing educator and critic unexpectedly passed away last week in his sleep. Bracey was an incredible human being, who always put students first. He didn't care whose feathers he ruffled - he told it like it was. Brutal honesty is hard to come by these days, and finding those brave enough to speak it even harder. Gerald Bracey has had and will continue to have a huge impact on my career. Thank you Gerald Bracey. You will be missed. Below is something reposted on Susan Ohanian's site:

    RIP Gerald Bracey: Another Good Man Gone Down

    Gerald Bracey, one of the foremost scholarly critics of the horrible hash made of USer education by the corpoRats and the edu-fascists, died last week, at age 69. Damn, damn, damn. I knew him. A good man, scholar, and advocate for democratic education. He's one of those whose voice will be sorely missed.

    From an obituary at schoolmatters blog, which was on USAToday, written by Greg Toppo:

    (Bracey wrote) Setting the Record Straight: Responses to Misconceptions About Public Education in America, tackled 20 "myths" about U.S. public schools, giving advocates ammunition to rebut critics. For instance, one chapter begins, "What do I say when people say, 'Schools won't improve until they're taken over by private companies and run like businesses'?"

    But it was likely Bracey's annual Rotten Apples in Education, an over-the-top mock awards newsletter, that made him the most fans and the most enemies.

    It took no prisoners and pulled no punches. In 2006, after then-Education Secretary Margaret Spellings compared the No Child Left Behind education reform law to Ivory Soap, saying it was "99.9% pure — there's not much needed in the way of change," Bracey awarded Spellings "The 99 and 44/100ths Pure Crap Award."

    While he held President George W. Bush and No Child Left Behind in especially low esteem, Bracey was bipartisan in his loathing, most recently calling out President Obama and his Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, on what Bracey called "test abuse," quipping at one point, "These guys don't have a clue."

    He took Obama to task earlier this year on the President's assertions that three-fourths of the fastest-growing occupations require more than a high school diploma.

    Not really, Bracey said. Look it up.

    Last August, when the topic on the EDDRA listserv turned to Obama's proposed education reforms, an angry Bracey wrote, "How long will it take for people to realize that the education 'reform' proposed by Obama-Duncan is no different from the Weapons of Mass Destruction from Bush (I say this as a depressed person who canvassed for Obama, campaigned for him, donated for him, and voted for him — with my entire family — in Virginia before moving to the blue-secure state of Washington.)"

    "He wasn't afraid, but sometimes I know that got him into terrible trouble," Iris said. "He just wanted the truth to come out."

    Posted by Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!)

    — Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!)
    The Well-Armed Lamb

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