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[Susan notes: All of us must write similar letters to our local press, most of whom have, likewise, ignored the Inspector General's report.]

Submitted to Arizona Republic but not published

To the editor

It has been over a month since the Office of the Inspector General

report came out showing mismanagement and outright fraud in Reading

First. Despite the enormous effect of Reading First (and associated

NCLB programs) on students, teachers and administrators throughout

Arizona, the Arizona Republic has devoted very little space to

reporting on the OIG expose, to encouraging conversations about this

report in its opinion pages, or to documenting the impact of Reading

First on classrooms in Arizona.

The OIG report documented conflicts of interest, no-bid contracting,

stacking of panels and witnesses, misrepresentations, and pressures on

states to use questionable materials in order to receive Reading First

funds. Arizona's Reading First proposal (Arizona Reads) is one of

those suffering from just these problems; indeed, it was mentioned in

the OIG report. Given such systematic problems, a moratorium should be

placed on Arizona Reads, in particular on its requirements for

instruction via scripted programs and assessment via DIBELS. Moreover,

Arizona should demand that, in light of the OIG report, the content of

its proposal be revised to avoid what directly contradicts Reading

First legislation. The public needs to become knowledgeable about the

kinds of unethical--and even illegal--activities forced on schools by

Reading First and other programs associated with NCLB. The Arizona

Republic is not meeting its obligation to sufficiently inform the

public in this regard.

Carole Edelsky

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