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[Susan notes: We can be grateful when researchers take the time to remind the media of the terrible falseness of politicians' claims.]

Submitted to New York Times but not published
01/03/2004

To the editor



Re "Some School Districts Challenge Bush's Signature Education Law"(front page, Jan. 2):



Add Reading First, a core portion of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), to the reasons why the law has failed to raise academic achievement.

Purportedly based on scientific evidence, NCLB mandates pre-packaged, building blocks,

skills-heavy, "teacher-proof" reading instruction as the sole method for schools seeking NCLB funds. However, several analyses, including my

own, have revealed the vacuousness of the research used to justify Reading First teaching.



The instruction is not superior for teaching skills and comprehension. It provides no advantages for poor children, at-risk children, or disabled readers. It is one more fiction undercutting public schools, driven by

a political ideology that substitutes simplistic bootstrap answers for comprehensive social policy. Most grievously, it creates false

expectations in parents whose children will never achieve the glowing academic success the Bush administration assures them will be theirs.



Gerald Coles


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