Saturday, May 3, 2008

I Told You So!

In 2004, I wrote an article about President Bush's half-baked ideas regarding reading instruction. Gary Stager on Direct Instruction exposed the Bush Administration's cozy relationship with publishers destined to profit from Reading First. To say that my publisher and owner of District Administration hated the article would be an understatement. He took the unprecedented step of apologizing for the article in the very next issue, before any reader would have had time to object. In fact, the mail received was incredibly supportive of my opinion and the facts were checked prior to publication.

In 2006 I wrote an article, Shocked! Shocked! Reading First Plagued by Corporate Welfare, Cronyism and Demonization, as a response to the revelations that Reading First was indeed a patronage program that had a lot more to do with ideology than helping children learn to read.

A couple of days ago, the Bush Department of Education released the results of a research study (you know how they LOVE research) on the efficacy of Reading First, a cornerstone of No Child Left Behind.

“Reading First did not improve students’ reading comprehension,” concluded the report, which was mandated by Congress and carried out by the Department of Education’s research arm, the Institute of Education Sciences. “The program did not increase the percentages of students in grades one, two or three whose reading comprehension scores were at or above grade level.”

Can you imagine how bad the results truly were if the spinmeisters in D.C. released conclusions this devastating to their phonics fixation?

Secretary Spelling's spokesperson said that the Secretary "planned to look at the study 'to inform our efforts,' and would 'look forward to reviewing the final report.'"

Spellings should resign and the President of the United States should apologize to every teacher and student for the bogus war of terror they reigned on America's public schools.

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  • An apology? I won't hold my breath for that one. I got to listen to Spellings last year at a Q & A session in NY. She was attacked by the teachers for perpetrating this "bogus war of terror". She answered all questions with political rhetoric..saying nothing of substance and actually trying to tell us how good the NCLB program has been for our schools and our students. I would love to hear what she has to say now.

    By Anonymous Lisa Parisi, At May 3, 2008 4:47 PM  

  • The spin masters will turn this report into a victory for how much progress NCLB, the progress students have made with this useless program and how good it is for public education. Apologizing - they will simply ignore use their own statistical interpretations and continue their attempts to ruin public education's image and then institute their agenda of privatizing education.

    By Anonymous Harold Shaw, At May 3, 2008 4:57 PM  

  • Gary - if he can't apologize for NOT finding WMD in Iraq and weaseled around that, do you think this is even on his radar? He has less than a year to go and Spelling is very irrelevant - USDoE is in holding pattern until after November.

    By Anonymous Stuart Ciske, Ph.D., At May 3, 2008 4:57 PM  

  • While I agree with the previous posters and do share their frustrations about the lack of vision with this current administration, I'd like to see or hear how things are going to change if/when the Dems take over. I keep hearing Hillary and Barack talk about taking NCLB out behind the woodshed, but I'm not hearing specifics as to WHAT would replace it. Will it be a specific program?

    If you were crafting a speech for a presidential candidate to be delivered to a national teacher conference, what points would YOU make?

    By Anonymous John Maklary, At May 4, 2008 8:08 AM  

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