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States Prepare for 'Reading First' Cuts

While Title I and other NCLB programs did well under the fiscal 2008 budget, Reading First took a gigantic cut. The budget bill, which President Bush signed Dec. 26, reduced funding for the program from nearly $1 billion to $393 million. The Education Gadfly called the cut "the Christmas massacre."

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State officials clearly are unhappy about the cut, Kathleen Kennedy Manzo reports in this story in the current issue of Education Week. But they're optimistic that the program's practices will stay in place, even if the money dries up in some schools. The Department of Education is promising to help schools find creative ways to use other federal funds to support Reading First's goals. (For an estimate of the Reading First cuts in selected states, click on the chart, right.)

Congressional Democrats put Reading First in their cross hairs after the Department of Education's inspector general issued a report saying department officials improperly influenced states' decision over curriculum decisions. But President Bush remains a steadfast supporter of it. I'm guessing the president will propose to restore most, if not all, of the cuts to Reading First when he proposes a fiscal 2009 budget next month. Will the Democrats go along?

Other NCLB Stories in the Jan. 16 issues of the newspaper
Court Ruling in NCLB Suit Fuels Fight Over Costs (See my comments here.)
Bush Presses NCLB Renewal on His Terms (See my comments here.)
Utah School Faces Unusual Challenge Under NCLB Law

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