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NCLB Outrages

Inspector General's Report Jeopardizes Reading First Program

Ken Goodman Comment:
letter to Alan Farstrup:

I'm stunned at the ofifcial response of IRA to the Inspector General's report and your own statement about the good that Reading First has done and the importance of continuing to fund it . Nothing in the report wasn't known to all of us (other than the foul language and the outrageous email exchanges.) IRA members and other are suffering terribly while these criminals are getting rich forcing absurd programs and assessments on schools. Hopefully some of them will go to jail for their crimes. IRA will lose all crediblity among reading professionals if it continues to defend Reading First. Margaret Spellings could have written the official IRA statement. NCLB and Reading First are sinking ships- there are more reports in the wings and it is now clear that the stupidity of the ideologues in charage of Reading First is only exceeded by their arrogance.

I sincerely hope that IRA doesn't go down with Reading First.

Kenneth Goodman

Inspector General's Report Jeopardizes Reading First Program

To: National Desk, Education Reporter

Contact: Cathy Roller of the International Reading Association, 202-624-8800 or croller@reading.org

WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The U.S. Department of Education Office of the Inspector General's (IG) report on Reading First outlines unethical actions by several individuals who violated the intent and spirit of the Reading First statute in an ongoing and systematic manner. These actions have damaged the integrity of the department. It is to its credit that they have issued this report. Now it is time to implement its findings.

The IG's report directly quotes individual communications to establish that there was a plan to direct the outcomes of independent panels, stack those panels with those who already had formed a bias, and promote specific reading programs while eliminating others. Specifically the report finds that the department:

-- Developed an application package that obscured the requirements of the statute

-- Took action with respect to the expert review panel process that was contrary to the balanced panel composition envisioned by Congress

-- Intervened to release an assessment review document without the permission of the entity that contracted for its development

-- Intervened to influence a state's selection of reading programs and

-- Intervened to influence reading programs being used by local education agencies after the application process was complete.

Alan Farstrup, executive director of the International Reading Association, said, "In the wake of these damaging revelations, we must not lose sight of the needs Reading First addresses." Recently, US ED released a report: "Reading First Implementation Evaluation: Interim Report," which indicates that the program is having a positive impact with many states and localities. In addition, the independent Center for Education Policy report, "Keeping Watch on Reading First," concluded that many states have found that Reading First funding has been critical to their progress.

Farstrup added that it will be important for the Department of Education to review what they have done wrong and change their procedures, to rectify damage done, and for Congress to continue to provide the resources needed to help schools close the achievement gap.


— Cathy Roller, with Ken Goodman comment
International Reading Association


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