Isle of Wight residents have reacted with anger to the chairman of Ofsted describing the island as a "ghetto".
David Hoare has since apologised for his comments, in which he also said "there has been inbreeding".
The island's MP, Andrew Turner, said he was "appalled". Isle of Wight Council called the comments "truly offensive".
The remarks were made at a recent teaching conference and highlighted in the Times Educational Supplement.
Users of social media poured scorn on them, posting pictures of island's beauty spots, with the hashtag #nicestghetto.
Simon Perry, of OnTheWight website, said it showed residents trying to "redress the bad exposure".
"No-one denies there have been problems with education, but when the island feels like it's being attacked, the community pulls together," he said.
Mr Hoare, who made the remarks last week, said he had been trying to highlight the unacceptably poor performance of schools on the island over many years.
The chairman, who has a home on the mainland near the island, said education on the Isle of Wight was often a topic of conversation with his dinner party guests.
"They think of it as holiday land. But it is shocking," he said. "It's a ghetto; there has been inbreeding.
"Seven state schools were all less than good. There is a mass of crime, drug problems, huge unemployment."
The leader of the independent council, Jonathan Bacon, said the comments were "ridiculous, offensive and wholly factually misplaced".
"We've had our problems with education in the past but there has been a massive turnaround with standards on the island.
"It shows a complete lack of judgement," he said.
Conservative MP Andrew Turner said: "The role of Ofsted is to help improve teaching, not insult people."
Ofsted's chief inspector of schools Sir Michael Wilshaw distanced the inspectorate from the comments but said Mr Hoare should not resign.