Amit Paley has a nice piece in WaPo today of the Reading First law breakers (comments interspersed):
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The Justice Department is conducting a probe of a $6 billion reading initiative at the center of President Bush's No Child Left Behind law, another blow to a program besieged by allegations of financial conflicts of interest and cronyism, people familiar with the matter said yesterday.
The disclosure came as a congressional hearing revealed how people implementing the $1 billion-a-year Reading First program made at least $1 million off textbooks and tests toward which the federal government steered states.
"That sounds like a criminal enterprise to me," said Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), chairman of the House education committee, which held a five-hour investigative hearing. "You don't get to override the law," he angrily told a panel of Reading First officials. "But the fact of the matter is that you did."
The intricate financial connections between Reading First products and program officials extend beyond issues the committee explored yesterday.
Another researcher, Sharon Vaughn, worked with Kame'enui, Simmons and Good to design Voyager Universal Literacy, a program that Reading First officials urged states to use. Vaughn was director of a center at the University of Texas that was hired to provide states advice on selecting Reading First tests and books.
The publisher of that product, Voyager Expanded Learning, was founded and run by Randy Best, a major Bush campaign contributor, who sold the company in 2005 for more than $350 million. Now Best runs Higher Ed Holdings, a company that develops colleges of education, where former education secretary Roderick R. Paige is a senior adviser and G. Reid Lyon, Bush's former reading adviser, is an executive vice president.
"I'm very disappointed and saddened by the information that was provided at the hearing today," said Lyon, who had been a strong defender of Reading First, which he said had nothing to do with his new job. "The issues appear much more serious than I had been led to understand."
Lyon, of course, is now trying to dissociate himself from an operation that he, Carnine, and Spellings ran. Chris Doherty, in fact, was a protege of the two kingpin ideologues (Carnine and Lyon), and, of course, he is one being thrown under the bus here, just as Brownie was after Katrina. Their code-breaking junk science approach to reading instruction amounts to a socially-engineered and scientized form of brainwashing that turns low-income children into passive drones at an early age. See video clips here of this neo-eugenics system of cognitive decapitation in operation.
Now it seems that Lyon, Carnine, Best, and Paige have even bigger plans at Higher Ed Holdings and the online American College of Education: they want to prepare the next generation of teachers with Masters degrees in Lyon's and Carnine's neo-eugenics teaching methods. Here is a Lyon quote from the introductory ACE Video, which introduced by Rod Paige, by the way:
What I learned at NIH and what guides our course development at American College of Education is that children's brains can literally be molded, changed, by the teaching they receive. Our goal now is to close the gap between our science tells us about learning and what our teachers apply in the classroom. A graduate degree from American College of Education means that teachers know the science behind how children learn . . .
Obviously, Lyon has decided that his desire to blow up the colleges of education is not practical. The next best thing, then, is to replace those Dewey-spouting, inquiry-based education professors with his own pre-screened canned lectures in how to intellectually sterilize millions of American children every year. If you think I am kidding, I am not. More from WaPo:
Despite the controversy surrounding Reading First's management, the percentage of students in the program who are proficient on fluency tests has risen about 15 percent, Education Department officials said. School districts across the country praise the program.
Yes, very interesting data, indeed. And it was released on April 19, the day before yesterday. Hmm. Also interesting is the fact that the data is from state tests that ED has castigated as unreliable for the past five years. It seems that state tests may be reliable if they can be manipulated to show the original desired outcome for the larger ideological purpose. Most telling, however, is that this data purporting to show that Reading First is working is not compared to any data from any schools not receiving Reading First programs and money. So, compared to what, asks Dick Allington at UT in an Ed Week article: “There are some small gains, yes. But are they larger than gains in non-Reading First schools?” said Richard A. Allington, a professor of education at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. “We don’t know whether improvements are related to the Reading First model or to general improvement trends across all schools.”
This last statement by Doherty is one of the rare truths to be uttered by him yesterday. It should, in fact, be a clear signal to Miller and the other Congressmen that Doherty was getting his marching orders by the generals in the White House. Will Miller go there???
Members of both parties continue to support the goals of Reading First even as they attack its management. Miller and Senate education committee Chairman Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) joined Republicans yesterday in pledging to tighten restrictions on conflicts of interest in No Child Left Behind.
Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, who declined to comment yesterday, has said management problems with Reading First "reflect individual mistakes." But Doherty said nearly every aspect of the program was carefully monitored by the department and the White House, where Spelling was Bush's top education adviser.
"This program was always firmly under the watch and control of the highest levels of the government," Doherty said.