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K-12Lead of the Week

Florida Creates a Market-Based Reading Intervention Program for Failing Schools

From the October 1 issue of K-12Leads and Youth Services Markets Report

Announcement: Reading Intervention Instructional Materials And Technology Programs Due October 11 (Sep 26), Florida Department of Education

Their Description: On Line Item #99A, the 2007 General Appropriations Act states, “From the funds in Specific Appropriation 99A, $2,000,000 shall be for intensive reading instruction programs for children in failing schools for the purpose of improving student reading skills.” After review of programs received by the Department, a list of recommended programs will be provided to the Commissioner of Education, who will then approve programs for purchase by failing schools with the $2,000,000 appropriated for this purpose. Selected school districts will choose one of the approved programs for implementation. It is the Department’s goal to have selected programs in place during the 2007-08 school year....

The (proposed) content must thoroughly cover the major tool being proposed. The proposed tool must include the following, at a minimum:

• Alignment with curriculum – The content must align with the Florida Sunshine State Standards for the subject, grade level, and learning outcomes.

• Level of Treatment – The level (complexity or difficulty) of the treatment of content must match the standard, student abilities and grade level, and time periods allowed for teaching. Content must be developmentally appropriate for the age and maturity level of the intended students.

• Alignment with Specifications - The content must align with the Reading Specifications for this program type published by the Just Read, Florida! Office for the 2007 General Appropriation Line Item #99A....

• Record of Proven Success - Proposers are required to include documentation that will demonstrate a record of proven success in improving student reading achievement. A “record of proven success” is defined as research that indicates accelerated growth in reading for students using the program.

• Accuracy of Content - The content must be presented accurately. The content must remain factual and objective....

• Currency of Content - The content must be up-to-date for the academic discipline and the context in which the content is presented. The copyright dates for photographs and other materials and editions must be current. The proposed edition must reflect more up-to-date information than earlier editions. The text or narrative, visuals, photographs, and other features must reflect the time period appropriate for the objectives and intended learners.

• Authenticity of Content - The content must include problem-centered connections to life in a context that is meaningful to students. The content must make connections to the student’s life situations in order to make it more meaningful. There must be interdisciplinary connections made within the content.

Multicultural Representation - Gender, ethnicity, age, work situations, and various social groups portrayed, must be fair and unbiased. The representation of cultures and groups in multiple settings, occupations, careers, and lifestyles must be balanced. There must also be an integration of social diversity throughout the instructional materials.

• Humanity and Compassion - In the portrayal of people and animals, the content must demonstrate compassion, sympathy, and consideration of their needs and values....

Our Thoughts:
For providers interested in diversifying away from federal funding streams, especially small providers, this kind of program is a “must pursue.” Moreover, the best way to encourage a focused market approach to federal and state school improvement policy is to file for participation in those that exist. ••••

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