The Bunkum Awards highlight shoddy, non-peer-reviewed education reports. Each year, NEPC Reviews editors award the Bunkum to the institution that published the non-peer-reviewed report judged to have most egregiously undermined informed discussion and sound policy making.
According to the MacMillan English Dictionary Magazine, the word bunkum became synonymous with "nonsense" around 1820. It was originally spelled "buncombe," after Buncombe County, North Carolina, home of Representative Felix Walker, who delivered a seemingly endless speech which many in his audience felt to be meaningless and irrelevant. Walker refused to stop talking, declaring himself to be determined to deliver a speech "for Buncombe." Thus, bunkum became a term for long-winded nonsense of the kind often seen in politics, and from there progressed to the more general meaning of just plain "nonsense."
Learn more about the NEPC Reviews project and the history of the Bunkum Awards by reading these Education Week Commentaries:
View prior years' awards videos: