NEPC Announces 2015 Bunkum Award

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Top prize awarded for shoddy research

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Press release:
Bunkum Award Presentation:

With the Oscar celebration next week, and the Emmys and Pulitzers on the way, the National Education Policy Center announces this year’s winner of its Bunkum Award. NEPC invites its audience to enjoy the 10th annual tongue-in-cheek salute to the most egregiously shoddy think tank reports.

It’s not easy to laugh when data are manipulated and made to fit foregone conclusions or when the research literature is misrepresented or ignored and low-quality or dishonest “evidence” has real impact on policy and on children. As best we can tell, polar bears aren’t laughing at reports from the American Petroleum Institute.

Yet “humor is one of the best ingredients of survival,” according to Aung San Suu Kyi—whose travails have been far weightier than ours. So we will persevere in our commitment to having a bit of fun each year with the evidentiary farce-lympics.

The Think Twice Think Tank Review Project arose as a response to the often-outsized policy influence of glossy, well-publicized reports that have not been vetted by peer-review. These reports regularly wrap themselves in the veneer of research, but they are frequently little more than propaganda masquerading as social science.

This year’s awards announcement, available on the NEPC website, is hosted by Dr. David Berliner, the Regents’ Professor Emeritus and former dean of the College of Education at Arizona State University. Berliner is a member of the National Academy of Education and the International Academy of Education, a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, a past president of the American Educational Research Association, and a widely recognized scholar of educational psychology and policy.

To see the 2015 Bunkum Winner, watch the 2015 Bunkums Awards video presentation, read the Bunkum-worthy report and the review, and learn about past Bunkum winners and the National Education Policy Center’s Think Twice think tank review project, go to

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC) Think Twice Think Tank Review Project ( provides the public, policymakers, and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible in part by support provided by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice:

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at:

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William J. Mathis