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

Friday, February 23, 2007

New OIG Report Exposes DIBELS, DI, and Open Court Corruption Links

Photos (Roland, Doug, Reid, and Chris) from the Know Your Reading First Offender Series.

The Reading First story just gets slimier and slimier. Now ED's own OIG comes with, yet, a new report (MS Word) detailing how the U. of Oregon's Carnine Cabal, Roland Good's DIBELS, and McGraw-Hill's Open Cult, er, Court were installed as the weapons of choice in the Reading First war on children's learning and thinking abilities.

After Lyon, the White House (Spellings), Paige's ED, and the Oregon Mafia put together the Reading First Program so that their expertise and products would be clearly advantaged in meeting program requirements they had just written (background here), the phonics phonies set about calling leaders and education officials from all fifty states to Washington for Reading Leadership Academies (RLAs). The cabal selected presenters, then, whose use of the Direct Instruction, DIBELS, and Open Court served as models for reading officials across America. Here are some clips from the Report. First, the agendas for the the 3 RLAs:
Reading Leadership Academy (RLA)
Panel Member - Position at the time of the RLA Reading Programs Discussed

RLA 1, Jan. 23-25, 2002 Principal, City Springs Elementary, Baltimore, MD Direct Instruction
Reading Facilitator, Parham School, Cincinnati, OH Direct Instruction
Principal, Parham School, Cincinnati, OH Direct Instruction
Teacher, Tovashal Elementary School, Murrieta, CA Open Court

RLA 2, Feb. 13-15, 2002
Principal, City Springs Elementary, Baltimore, MD Direct Instruction
Asst. Administrator, Washington Reads, WA Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Olympia, WA Open Court, Read Well
Principal, Weaver Elementary School, Weaver, AL Soar to Success, Houghton-Mifflin,8

RLA 3, Feb. 20-22, 2002 Principal, City Springs Elementary, Baltimore, MD Direct Instruction
Principal, Parham School, Cincinnati, OH Direct Instruction
Asst. Superintendent, L.A. Unified School District, CA Open Court
Here are some of the comments from feedback forms of those attending the RLAs:

RLA Participant Comments

As a result of the Department not having controls to ensure compliance with the DEOA, and the NCLB Act prohibitions against endorsing or promoting programs of instruction, some attendees at the RLAs felt that the Department was endorsing the Direct Instruction and Open Court reading programs. The comments expressed on the evaluation forms from the first and third RLAs included--

· “The . . . Theory to Practice Panel – was very poor. It sounded like a sales job for a program as opposed to a description of enabling teachers to teach reading.”

· “I felt like it was simply a push for a national curriculum. I think I’ll go buy shares in Open Court!”

· “Panel was a sales job for Direct Instruction and Open Court.”

· “Please do not promote a program (Open Court) (Direct Instruction). This is not the Department of Education’s place to do.

· “I felt like I was in a Direct Instruction sales pitch all day. Thanks for including at least one other program.”

· “I felt it was wrong to showcase one specific program (D.I.) excessively . . ..”

· “Today’s sessions may have given an excessive government endorsement to Direct Instruction.”

From the OIG's Executive Summary:
With regard to the RLAs, we concluded that the Department did not have controls in place to ensure compliance with the Department of Education Organization Act (DEOA) and NCLB Act curriculum provisions. Specifically, we found that: 1) the “Theory to Practice” sessions at the RLAs focused on a select number of reading programs; and 2) the RLA Handbook and Guidebook appeared to promote the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) Assessment Test. With regard to RMC Research Corporation’s (RMC) technical proposal for the NCRFTA contract, we concluded that the Department did not adequately assess issues of bias and lack of objectivity when approving individuals to be technical assistance providers before and after the NCRFTA contract was awarded.

We recommend that the Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education –

*Establish controls to ensure compliance with, and avoid the appearance of violating the DEOA and the NCLB Act curriculum provisions, especially when organizing conferences where specific programs of instruction are likely to be formally discussed or presented at Department sponsored events;
*Establish controls to ensure it does not promote curriculum or create the appearance that it is endorsing or approving curriculum in its conference materials and related publications; and
*In coordination with the Chief Financial Officer, establish controls to ensure adequate assessments of bias and lack of objectivity for individuals proposed to perform Department contract work are conducted by the Department and its contractors.

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