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

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Reading First Finding 3: Re-Writing of the Law

FINDING 3 – The Department Included Requirements in the Criteria Used by the Expert Review Panels That Were Not Specifically Addressed in NCLB

That is the polite way to say that the Reading First thugs rewrote the law. The OIG Report shows that the application review panelists reviewed Reading First applications in accordance to the published criteria. The only problem was that Doherty and his Texas and Oregon handlers inserted requirements in the “meets standard” criteria that were not required by the Law. Why? By interjecting criteria that could not be readily achieved without the direct instruction materials/methods and the fraudulent DIBELS assessment system, the state applicants would be effectively funneled into programs that satisfied the illegal criteria:
. . . the ‘Meets Standard’ column of criterion IV(A), Key Reading First Classroom Characteristics, required State applications to meet three conditions that were not included in the statute:
  • Condition 1b required, “Coherent instructional design that includes explicit instructional strategies, coordinated instructional sequences, ample practice opportunities, and aligned student materials[.]”
  • Condition 1d required, “Protected, dedicated block of time for reading instruction[.]”
  • Condition 1f required, “Small group instruction as appropriate to meet student needs, with placement and movement based on ongoing assessment[.]”
Here’s how Doherty’s damning emails explained his illegal actions:
“[i]t’s another example of our aggressive approach because, obviously, very little of this section can be pegged to legislative language. It just makes good sense, of course, to help the States see what we know/want RF [Reading First] classrooms to look like. OGC may not like this entire section, and I wanted to birddog it for you.” He continued: We realize the Meets Standards column is much more fleshed-out than the Exemplary column....What we’ve done – again, extra-legally, really – is push all the characteristics that we originally had in Exemplary and moved them into Meets, because we want all of those (a, b, ...g) characteristics to define ALL RF classrooms, not just the star RF classrooms.
What is the upshot of this illegal manipulation? It means essentially that commitments were made by applicants to spend billions of federal grant dollars to meet reading program requirements that were never written into the NCLB law, but were inserted there by an unwavering cadre of self-serving philistines:
Because the Department included language in the ‘Meets Standard’ column of its Reading First Criteria that was not based on the statute, State applications were reviewed based upon standards that were not required by the statute.

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