Author/Advocate Gerald W. Bracey Dies at 69

By Debra Viadero — October 21, 2009 1 min read
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SAD NEWS: Gerald W. Bracey, one of the field’s best known and most vocal authors, advocates, and researchers, died quietly in his sleep yesterday at his home in Port Townsend, Wash. Rumors of his death were all over the blogosphere today. His wife, Iris Bracey, confirmed the news for EdWeek this afternoon.

Bracey, 69, penned more than eight books over his long career, dozens of articles, and hundreds of letters to the editor. His specialty was railing against what he saw as misuse of data on education among policymakers, politicians, and the media. Fellow author Alfie Kohn, in a Tweet sent out late yesterday, describes him as a “spirited crusader for accuracy, integrity; denounced false claims, misuse of stats; made the right enemies.”

As an education reporter, I’m well acquainted with the Stanford-educated researcher’s frequent, and biting, critiques, a few of which were directed at Education Week. He was, to put it bluntly, a thorn in our side. Once in a while, though, he had a point and I was awed by his tireless persistence and his willingness to heap criticism on government leaders from both sides of the political aisle, from Margaret Spellings to Arne Duncan.

Here’s his bio at “The Huffington Post,” where he was a frequent contributor. One honor it doesn’t mention: Bracey won the American Educational Research Association’s “Relating Research to Practice” award in 2003 for his interpretive scholarship of education research.

Ms. Bracey said her husband showed no acute signs of illness prior to his death. He was active to the end, spending his last day, somewhat fittingly, writing his annual report on education and presumably deliberating over who would get one of his “rotten apple” awards this year.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Inside School Research blog.