Remembering Gerald Bracey
Staunch defender of public education dies at 69
By Kevin Hart
Thursday, October 22, 2009 -- Supporters of public education are mourning the death of noted author, speaker and education advocate Gerald Bracey, who spent his career fighting to ensure all students have access to a quality public education. Bracey, who passed away in his sleep on October 20, was 69 years old.
Bracey, a Stanford-trained psychologist, held numerous positions in academia and education policy. He began his career with the Educational Testing Service, before becoming Associate Director of the Institute for Child Study at Indiana University in Bloomington. He later served as Director of Research, Evaluation and Testing for the Virginia Department of Education.
Bracey also was a staff member for the National Education Association during the early 1990s.
Most recently, Bracey was serving as a fellow at the Education Policy Studies Laboratory at Arizona State University and at the Education and the Public Interest Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and as an associate at the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation.
But, for most educators, Bracey will be best remembered as an author whose biting but practical style made him a respected defender of public education. He ran the online Education Disinformation Detection and Reporting Agency, where he issued reports debunking myths about public education and attacking the self-serving research of its opponents.
For 25 years, he authored monthly research columns for Phi Delta Kappan, a journal for public educators, and also issued an annual report on public education. He wrote columns for the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the Huffington Post, and his articles appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, and other prominent publications.
Bracey wrote several books on public education, including the groundbreaking Setting the Record Straight: Responses to Misconceptions About Public Education in America. The book debunks 20 myths about education in America, shedding light on how our students really stack up globally, why voucher programs are ineffective, and the important role funding plays in student learning.