Former House Staffer Takes On WPost Reading First Story

I remember reading Michael Grunwald's piece on Reading First and thinking that it was pretty aggressive stuff for a news story in a mainstream publication, and didn't seem particularly balanced in its assessment of the program or its implementation. But I didn't have time to dissect it -- and was at the time mostly glad that the story was getting covered at all. (See here for more on that.)

Now, Bob Sweet, a former House education committee staffer, has written a long letter to the Post decrying various mis-statements and inaccuracies: Significant errors and misconceptions - “Billions for an Inside Game on Reading” by WP's Michael Grunwald via EdNews.org.

Did Grunwald over-state the case, or miss some key facts? Some, including Reading Panel member Tim Shanahan and former USDE staffer Mike Petrilli, have suggested that Reading First wasn't getting a fair shake in the press. Maybe they were right.

UPDATES: EdWeek points to the ongoing political (criminal?) fallout (‘Reading First’ Details Sought by Lawmakers). Eduwonk splits the difference and says that just because Grunwald "overshot" doesn't mean that RF isn't messed up.


Blogger MassParent said...

Well, maybe. Reading First is, after all, the best part of NCLB, so if it is totally corrupt and without any redeeming features, then lord help us.

But the thing that scares me - if this sort of corruption happened with the $1B a year of Reading First, what happens when overzealous bureaucrats linked up with K-Street start interpreting the clause "or turning over school operations either to the state or to a private company with a demonstrated record of effectiveness".

And my god. How many bureaucrats will it take to award contracts to run 25,000 different schools between the years 2008 and 2014? And what of the interum period after they've fired all or most of the staff, but before contracts are awarded?

12:22 AM  

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