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Reading First Positions Getting Cut

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One of the more visible benefits of the federal Reading First program was that the $1 billion-a-year funding provided for reading coaches in each participating school. Those coaches were assigned to work with teachers to improve practice and expand their understanding of the research on literacy development.

Now, with the funding stream dried up and the growing economic woes across the country, schools are starting to abandon some of the basic tenets of the Reading First program, particularly when it comes to the additional staffing it required.

See these news reports out of Florida and New York. The extensive professional development provided under the program is not likely to last either. I wonder if teachers will get to keep those nifty hand-held computers either.

Of course, the bigger question is how will schools and districts sustain the changes they've made under Reading First given the lack of resources?

2 Comments

"Of course, the bigger question is how will schools and districts sustain the changes they've made under Reading First given the lack of resources"

What changes? The $40 million "Impact Study" concluded:

“The study finds, on average, that after several years of funding the
Reading First program, it has a consistent positive effect on reading
instruction yet no statistically significant impact on student reading
comprehension”

Thats analogous to saying, “The program had a consistent positive effect on medical practice but no significant impact on patients.”

The report was buried deep in the Federal archives:

http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20094038.asp

The study used what Bush Ed officials touted as the "gold standard" of research methodology. Live by the sword; die by the sword.

As a parent it sounds to me like Reading First was one of those efforts by the corporate "Educational-Industrial" complex to make money off of grand expensive schemes to teach kids to read. I think it is appropriate that it is defunded.

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