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Senate Takes Aim at 'Reading First'

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Reading First wouldn't get any money from the Senate, Alyson Klein reports in from the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee markup.

The program also has a '0' in its column in the bill awaiting action in House Appropriations Committee on Thursday.

Just two years ago, Reading First received $1 billion. Now, with no money in either chamber's bill, the program's future looks grim.

Alyson is hard at work on a story that will appear on edweek.org later today.

2 Comments

The program's future may look grim now, but I wonder the prognosis of the future education of the children more. Regardless what happens with Reading First, I would like congress to decide if it expects the the US DOE to come up with education methodology to produce the scientific outcome: cause and affect, or should a positive correlation be utilized, and at what level of proficiency is acceptable?
This tax-payer, constituent, parent, and USAF veteran is absolutely weary of any "fad" that claims to be the silver bullet in education. If Reading First is the best tool on the market there is nothing stopping school districts to allocate public, state, and federal funds to purchase the Reading First program for its district, right? Makes you wonder why the focus is on those tax dollars, as least it does me.

Kathy--my understanding, which could be wrong, is that Reading First is less a program or tool than it is a funding stream. Like all funding streams it has rules about what the $ can be spent for. In the case of Reading First the controversy seems to come from rules that required that the $ be spent on well researched methodology, but then selected research that seemed to favor some programs and disfavor others.

Now, there are some inherent difficulties in evaluating the success of "funding streams" when the desired outcomes have to do with academic achievement. There is always a high degree of variance between how the $ are actually used--whether they combine with other $, whether they are continuing something that was already going on or starting something new, etc.

I am certain that even critics of Reading First as it existed will be upset at the loss of the funding. I think most critics preferred to keep the $ and spend them in the way that they wanted to.

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