Monday, September 01, 2008

If they win an award, they must be good--right?

Here are two stories about awards.

The first award is for a school district, and the second is for a restaurant. I learned a few years ago that awards are very often based on political connections rather than merit.

But there is another way of choosing winners: awards are sometimes based simply on what the applicants claim about themselves.

The award in story #2 below may have been a result of a combination of these two strategies. Maybe there was a deadlock regarding the real restaurants, so the secretly fake one was chosen because the judges wanted to escape a difficult choice.



Apparently CVESD didn't tell the NSBA about the millions the board has spent covering up wrongdoing. Or maybe they did--and NSBA, which is connected to the Council for School Attorneys--thought it was a terrific accomplishment.

From CVESD's website:
"...National School Boards Association to honor District as a role model for excellence in Board governance

"The National School Boards Association’s Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) has named Chula Vista as one of three finalists for the association's Annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence.

"The Chula Vista Elementary School District, the Brownsville Independent School District in Texas, and the School District of Omaha in Nebraska are each candidates for CUBE’s prestigious annual award. The prize honors urban school districts that demonstrate progress in educating children and that serve as role models in school board governance...

“These finalists illustrate how essential successful board governance is for urban achievement, and we are proud to recognize these districts for their exemplary leadership,” said Anne. L Bryant, executive director of NSBA...

"A panel of judges selected finalists based on the school districts’ submissions and independent research..."(emphasis added).

[Blogger's note: CVESD got (or gave to itself?) an NSBA/CUBE award in 2004.]



By Stanley Fish
August 31, 2008
Fooled Again

Last week the New York Post’s Page Six picked up on a story that had been widely circulated on the blogosphere. The magazine Wine Spectator was the victim of a hoax when it came out that its “award of excellence” had been given to a restaurant that did not exist. Robin Goldstein, a wine critic who said that he wanted to expose the lack of any foundation for many food and wine awards, had submitted an application that included the menu and wine list of a fictitious restaurant he named Osteria L’Intrepido. Goldstein revealed the hoax within a week or so of the announced award and declared that what he had done proved that “the level of scrutiny” that accompanies such awards is “insufficient.”

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