I talk to many education researchers, but none had the passion or conviction of Gerald Bracey, whose e-mails I occasionally shared with you here. He died suddenly in his sleep last week at age 69.
What I admired about Bracey is that he criticized people he once esteemed, including President Obama. His allegiance was not to any political party, but to what he saw as the truth of the matter.
Often, his e-mails to me were stern scoldings about buying the latest “garbage” from Arne Duncan or Kathy Cox. (There would have been a chastising e-mail today from him on my blog entry yesterday on Duncan’s speech here in Atlanta.)
Affable and smart, Bracey was always willing to chat with me and show me the error of my ways.
Here is a wonderful tribute to him in USA Today. The obituary notes Bracey’s take-no- prisoner style, perfected in his annual Rotten Apples in Education award:
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.”
Bracey was a wonderful source. He never ducked questions or tough issues, and he never was cowed by people in power. He was authentic and vital.