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Reading First Heats Up: Criminal Investigation, DI Wife


I guess I dozed off a little too early during Friday's Reading First hearings, since this Washington Post story suggests that things have heated up -- a lot.

Some of the best nuggets include: (1) Justice Department officials are conducting their own interviews, (2) former RF head Chris Doherty repeatedly failed to disclose that wife has been a paid consultant for Direct Instruction (now that's a power couple), (3) Voyager, one of the favored programs is a company owned by Randy Best (a big Bush financial supporter), (4) Reid Lyon now says things seem much worse than he "was told," and (5) Doherty continues to insist that the program was closely managed from the start (ie, by Spellings).

It's still hard to imagine this story breaking through to the political or massive media coverage level, given everything else that's going on. But the comparisons to Gonzalez-gate continue to emerge, and the Post story did make it to the Huffington Post.


I was a Reading First Literacy Coach the first year of the reading grant in Oregon. We were aware from the very beginning that the whole thing was being manipulated. The heads of Reading First Oregon WROTE the criteria that judged the programs. How hard is it to get your own programs on the list when you wrote criteria that favored only those programs. We were only allowed to review programs that Ed K and Debrah Simmons favored. Many publishers weren't even looked at, despite the illegality of refusing to even consider them for federal grant expenditure. There was never any question that you had to put DIBELS in your grant as the assessment system - and that it would make Roland Goode a rich man. As a 25-year Reading Specialist, I could see it wasn't even a good assessment. Many of us spoke up at that time - such clear anti-trust type violations were happening - and no one was listening. We were even told who our staff development had to be - take a guess...an organization from Texas. Somebody - probably Ed K - needs to go to jail over this.

Kimberly; Did you report any of this to the newspapers or TV news? I'm an Oregonian, and a long time personal critic of the NCLB program, and no fan of Bush. I would have loved to have heard about this on the news here. I'm curious, if you did, which papers or stations you spoke to, and what their reactions were?
Feel free to drop me a line at ag_hopkins at yahoo dot com.

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