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Spellings Tries to Rescue 'Reading First'

Maybe the hidden budget data are right.

The mysterious spreadsheet with a covert column listing FY09 numbers suggested that President Bush would propose $1 billion for the Reading First program. It's no surprise that the president would want to rescue one of his prized NCLB programs. Congress whacked it down to $393 million for fiscal 2008.

Today in Alabama, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings confirmed that the president's budget proposal would restore Reading First's funding to $1 billion in fiscal 2009.

"The president is going to work hard and ask for that billion dollars and get the Congress to restore the cuts that have been made," Spellings said in a news conference, which I listened to via telephone.

We'll see about the veracity of the rest of the data when the Bush administration releases its budget plan on Monday morning.

Also this week, Spellings sent a letter to chief state school officers explaining that schools could tap their grants from other NCLB programs to continue professional development and activities previously financed through Reading First.

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