The Think Tank Review Project (for Education Policy Research) gave a 2006 Bunkum Award to a paper I lambasted last August. We both point out the model the Harvard paper chose was weaker than the one the NCES used.
Yes, a "bunkum award" goes to Harvard. That said, it was probably a great manipulative ploy, and it effectively discouraged NCES from doing further research in the topic -- whether private schools were actually more effective than public ones, when controlling for differences in the clientele. Obviously this is a key area of investigation for those who are trying to improve public school efficacy.
Activist academics: people who push the results of inferior research over superior research to influence policy makers or curtail support of valid areas of inquiry.