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

Friday, September 22, 2006

Reading First Lawbreaking Report Included in this Friday's News Dump

As I have said before, if you really want to know what is beneath the surface of Bush Co., pay attention to the weekly news dumps that occur each Friday afternoon. This week Spellings AP lackey has this story of an ED Inspector General's Report just in time for the weekend. It will no doubt go unreported by most of the corporate media per usual.

We have been waiting now for over a year for the results of this federal investigation into illegal and corrupt practices inside the Reading First program, which has been used to direct federal grants into the chain gang reading programs approved by "scientific reading" quack, Reid Lyon and Doug Carnine. So far Reading First has dumped almost $5 billion into these programs that have primarily benefited contributors, cronies, and insider hacks of the education industry complex.

With Spellings' poodle, Feller, reporting this much, you have to know about that there is much more in the report itself. Stand by.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A scorching internal review of the Bush administration’s reading program says the Education Department ignored the law and ethical standards to steer money how it wanted.

The government audit is unsparing in its review of how Reading First, a billion-dollar program each year, that it says has been beset by conflicts of interest and willful mismanagement. It suggests the department broke the law by trying to dictate which curriculum schools must use.

It also depicts a program in which review panels were stacked with people who shared the director’s views and in which only favored publishers of reading curricula could get money.

In one e-mail, the director told a staff member to come down hard on a company he didn’t support, according to the report released Friday by the department’s inspector general.

“They are trying to crash our party and we need to beat the (expletive deleted) out of them in front of all the other would-be party crashers who are standing on the front lawn waiting to see how we welcome these dirtbags,” the Reading First director wrote, according to the report.

That official, Chris Doherty, is resigning in the coming days, department spokeswoman Katherine McLane said Friday. Asked if his quitting was in response to the report, she said only that Doherty is returning to the private sector after five years at the agency.

Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, in a statement, pledged to swiftly adopt all of the audit’s recommendations. She also pledged a review of every Reading First grant.

“I am concerned about these actions and committed to addressing and resolving them,” she said.

Reading First aims to help young children read through scientifically-proven programs, and the department considers it a jewel of No Child Left Behind, Bush’s education law. Just this week, a separate review found that the effort is helping schools raise achievement.

But from the start, the program has also been dogged by accusations of impropriety, leading to several ongoing audits. The new report from the Office of Inspector General — an independent arm of the Education Department — calls into question basic matters of credibility.

When the department fails to follow the law and its own guidance, the report says, “it can only serve to undermine the public’s confidence in the department.”

The ranking Democrat on the House education committee was furious.

“They should fire everyone who was involved in this,” said Rep. George Miller, D-Calif. “This was not an accident, this was not an oversight. This was an intentional effort to corrupt the process.”

About 1,500 school districts have received $4.8 billion in Reading First grants.

Miller is calling for firings--where are the criminal indictments????

Update: 4:10PM. From the AP:

POSTED: 2:59 pm EDT September 22, 2006
UPDATED: 3:34 pm EDT September 22, 2006
A program that spends $1 billion each year trying to make sure children can read well by the end of third grade has been mismanaged by the Education Department, according to a government audit.The audit found that the Reading First program is chock full of mismanagement and conflicts of interest.They found review panels that steered money to favored publishers. Those panels were also packed with people who shared the proggram director's views.The report also suggests laws were broken by trying to dictate which curriculum schools have to use.Education Department officials said Chris Doherty, director of Reading First, will quit in the coming days.A spokeswoman would not discuss whether it's because of the audit, saying only that he is returning to the private sector.
Will he be getting an orange jumpsuit?? Expect a criminal investigation to be announced next week.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:27 PM

    "It will no doubt go unreported by most of the corporate media per usual."

    Well, considering that it's already on the front page of the New York Times, has been reported on the NBC Nightly news and on local news throughout the country, and has infuriated at least one member of Congress, I'm thinking you might be wrong on this one.