Coverage in today’s NYT of yesterday’s Congressional hearing on the Reading First program saw Education Secretary Margaret Spellings defending the program that has been plagued by accusations that states were steered toward a handful of commercial reading programs and testing instruments. Madison was the focus of a recent Times article outlining some of the program’s problems and why our district declined Reading First money.
Money quote from today’s reporting comes from Robert Slavin of Johns Hopkins University, whose Success for All reading program was shut out of many states under Reading First. He said “he did not think the secretary’s promises went far enough. “I haven’t seen the slightest glimmer of even intention to change,” Dr. Slavin said.
Because schools had already chosen their readng curriculums, promises to clean up Reading First now meant little, he said. He compared them to finding eight innings into a baseball game with a score of 23 to 0 that the opposing team had been playing with cork bats.
“Then they say, ‘From now on, we’re using honest bats.’ ” Dr. Slavin said. “I’m sorry, it’s 23 to nothing. You can’t just say, ‘From now on.’ ” “