At some point folks ought to realize that there was nothing magical about the particular programs foisted on the Reading First program by unethical bureaucrats. The "magic" comes from giving teachers the resources they need to raise achievement, which Reading First did. These were BIG grants. Had a balanced literacy approach been advocated, I have no doubt the results would have been as great - or greater.
This from Amit R. Paley, Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 19, 2007; Page A19
Students in the Bush administration's embattled $1 billion-a-year reading program have improved an average of about 15 percent on tests measuring fluency over the past five years, according to an analysis of data by the Education Department.
The Reading First program, a central part of the No Child Left Behind law, has been criticized by congressional Democrats who say it has been riddled with conflicts of interests and mismanagement. The House education committee is holding an oversight hearing on the matter Friday.
The data, scheduled to be released today, indicate that students have benefited from the program, which provides grants to improve reading in kindergarten through third grade.
"That's the irony," said John F. Jennings, president of the Center on Education Policy. "The program was poorly -- even unethically -- administered at the federal level, yet it seems to be having a positive effect in schools."