Damned Lies Award for Statistical Subterfuge

To Hoover Institution and Manhattan Institute for Policy Research for Getting Ahead by Staying Behind: An Evaluation of Florida's Program to End Social Promotion
To Manhattan Institute for Policy Research for Getting Farther Ahead by Staying Behind: A Second-Year Evaluation of Florida's Policy to End Social Promotion
To Harvard University Program on Education Policy and Governance for On the Public-Private School Achievement Debate

The Program for Education Policy and Governance at Harvard and the Manhattan Institute share the second runner up honor. The Harvard folks won for their "On the Public-Private School Achievement Debate," while the Manhattan Institute is being recognized for its twin reports "Getting Ahead by Staying Behind: An Evaluation of Florida's Program to End Social Promotion" and "Getting Farther Ahead by Staying Behind: A Second-Year Evaluation of Florida's Policy to end Social Promotion." Each of these reports demonstrated a flair for the resolute use of statistics to achieve a desired outcome. The Harvard report, however, deserves special recognition. Dissatisfied with the work of other researchers who found private schools to have worse academic results than public schools once student characteristics were accounted for, the authors of the Harvard report offered an alternative of, at best, tangentially related statistics that failed to factor in the student demographic differences that were supposedly at the core of the analysis.