"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

More Investigations at US DOE

The Reading Recovery Council of North America (RRCNA), which offers a truly balanced reading alternative to the drill and kill phonics approach favored by the current regime in Washington, has requested a federal investigation into the implementation practices of Reading First. Reading First is part of the NCLB reading improvement initiative that shovels out a billion dollars a year to raise reading scores, most of it going to test prep and scripted teaching programs developed by McGraw-Hill (click here for an interesting article on the Bush/McGraw Hill connection), Harcourt, and other friends and large contributors.

Cited in RRCNA's letter to the Inspector General are these points:
1. State and local control. The implementation of Reading First has restricted state and local control in the selection of scientifically based reading programs.

2. One-to-one instruction. The Department has excluded one-to-one instruction in the Reading First program, contradicting the authorizing statute, congressional intent, and scientific research findings of effectiveness for the lowest-achieving children.

3. Selective application of scientifically based research criteria. In the implementation of Reading First, the Department has systematically favored some programs while excluding other programs with a scientific research base.

4. Misinformation about Reading Recovery. The Department has supported a quiet yet pervasive misinformation campaign against Reading Recovery despite a large body of research demonstrating Reading Recovery’s effectiveness and long-term results.
Complaint #4 focuses on an administration that has perfected the art of sliming its opponents, and the hacks running the show at US DOE are no different. The sham of "scientifically-based research" has been made clear by Gerald Coles (reviewed here) and others who have examined the propaganda piece, the National Reading Panel Report, that provides the foundation for all this fanatical phonics phenomenon that dismisses any study that does not echo the party line--and eventually disregards excellent well-documented strategies that improve literacy and thinking.

1 comment:

  1. If RR is as good as its proponents claim, why does it have to rely almost exclusively on tax dollars to stay afloat.