Lawmaker Asks Criminal Probe of
U.S. Program Reading
By Paul Basken
Sept. 25 (Bloomberg) -- A Democratic congressman called for a criminal investigation after an audit found that a $1 billion federal program to improve reading among grade-school children was run by staff who steered contracts to favored publishers.
The Education Department's inspector-general last week recommended an overhaul of the ``Reading First'' program, part of the ``No Child Left Behind'' law, including removing directors and reviewing the propriety of their contract awards.
``The inspector-general's report raises serious questions about whether Education Department officials violated criminal law, and those questions must be pursued by the Justice Department,'' said Representative George Miller of California, the top-ranking Democrat on the House Education Committee.
Miller, in his statement, called the audit part of pattern in which the Education Department under President George W. Bush ``has repeatedly run afoul of ethical standards.''
Miller's office also cited an independent analysis published last year by the Washington-based American Institutes for Research that found the program favored by Reading First directors, a product of the McGraw-Hill Companies Inc., was one of only two programs to receive AIR's highest rating.
Billion-Dollar ProgramReading First distributes about $1 billion a year to states to spend on reading programs that the government agrees have scientifically proven effectiveness.. . . The rest here
"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972