by David Safier
Here on his home turf, Goldwater Institute's Matthew Ladner is treated by the media as a reliable source, a paragon of intellectual virtue. Even when he earns a Bunkum Award from the National Education Policy Center and I give the media all the information it needs, no one seems to think it's news.
But Tim Carpenter, a reporter at the Kansas paper, the Topeka Capital-Journal, thinks it's important enough to write about.
NEPC puts dunce cap on Kansas lecturer
The Kansas Policy Institute's visiting expert on education — Matthew Ladner – touted miracle student achievement gains in reform-minded Florida.
Ladner, vice president of research for the Goldwater Institute in Phoenix, was on institute's guest for a series of talks on education policy.
Ladner's work caught notice of folks at the National Education Policy Center in Boulder, Colo.
NEPC decided to award Ladner one of its Bunkum Awards for 2010.
The prize-winning work, according to the education group, was Ladner's interpretion of Florida fourth-grade reading test scores and a conclusion school vouchers, prohibiting "social" promotion of students from one grade to the next and expanding opportunities for alternative teacher certification were keys to success.
Come on, Arizona media guys and gals. You can write about this story too, giving Ladner a chance to respond and calling the NEPC folks for a comment as well. Or you can put the NEPC on your speed dial and call them the next time Ladner or someone else at G.I. feeds you one of those too-good-to-pass-up stories. Or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org, if you don't have my phone number. If I don't have an immediate response to the current snake oil Ladner is selling, I can get one for you pretty quickly.