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NCLB Outrages

Reading Recovery Receives Top Marks in Federal Research

As always, Jim Horn provides the backdrop to current federal drama, in the case the Feds What Works Clearinghouse research on reading programs.
by Jim Horn

Six years ago when Margaret LaMontagne (Spellings), Reid Lyon, and Doug Carnine loaded the Reading First review panels with their direct instruction stooges and cronies, they set back reading instruction by decades, who knows how many. As ED's own Inspector General's reports have shown, states that applied for Reading First grants were manhandled into choosing reading programs aligned with the Lyon and Carnine back-to-brutality phonics orthodoxy. And if grantees ended up off the direct instruction reservation, Reid Lyon's Reading First Director, Chris Doherty, could simply pull the plug, as he did in Rockford, Illinois:


Mr. Doherty then directed the state to freeze the district’s funding, and ultimately to withdraw the grant. Those actions prompted another e-mail from Mr. Lyon: “wow – Talk about a guy with smarts, integrity AND balls,” he wrote. “I am talking about you Chris.”

The Lyon and Carnine Cabal's most hated reading program was the balanced literacy methodology of Reading Recovery, a holistic and humane literacy approach grounded by empirical research. It is suitably ironic, then, that Ed Week reports that Reading Recovery has emerged in the latest federal research from Spellings's own shop as the only program "found to have positive effects or potentially positive effects across all four of the domains in the review—alphabetics, fluency, comprehension, and general reading achievement:"

A long-awaited review of beginning-reading programs by the federal What Works Clearinghouse found few comprehensive or supplemental programs that have evidence of effectiveness in raising student achievement. But what is missing from the review may be even more telling: None of the most popular commercial reading programs on the market had sufficiently rigorous studies to be included in the review by the clearinghouse.

“Some of the very prominent, full-year reading curricula weren’t prioritized for this review,” said Jill Constantine, the principal director of the review. “They tended not to have studies with randomized-control trials or with experimental designs that met the clearinghouse’s evidence standards.”

Most of the programs deemed to have “positive effects” or “potentially positive effects” in the review were supplemental or intervention programs, not core reading series. Moreover, those results were based on just one or two studies that met the clearinghouse’s standards, and just a handful were found to be effective in several areas studied.

Just one program was found to have positive effects or potentially positive effects across all four of the domains in the review—alphabetics, fluency, comprehension, and general reading achievement. That program, Reading Recovery, an intensive, one-on-one tutoring program, has drawn criticism over the past few years from prominent researchers and federal officials who claimed it was not scientifically based.

Federal officials and contractors tried to discourage states and districts from using Reading Recovery in schools participating in the federal Reading First program, citing a lack of evidence that it helps struggling readers. . . .

How sweet it is!! It's just too bad that so many states are now stuck with the McGraw-Hill Open Court parrot reading system that they were force fed by hacks and crooks in order to get Reading First grants.

— Jim Horn
Schools Matter
2007-08-16
http://schoolsmatter.blogspot.com/2007/08/reading-recovery-receives-top-marks-in.html


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