Reading First Update: Who Is Edward Kame’enui?

To me, the Reading First scandal seems pretty outrageous and remains curiously under-reported given its key ingredients: billions in federal contracts, conflicts of interests, and little kids. A big part of the probelm is that no one seems to have found anyone who was "hurt" by the misuse of the program except vendors who were frozen out. Sympathetic as they may be, it's not the same as a school or classroom of children who were denied access to an effective program. (Hint, hint.)

Until that happens, at at least there are some more potential villains shaping up. According to this NYT column, Ed Kame’enui is a former Reading First advisor who had major conflicts of interest that may have prevented him from giving small, homegrown reading programs a chance (She Found Abuses in U.S. Plan for Reading).


Blogger KDeRosa said...

I still have yet to see any valid evidence that any reading program, other than whole language programs, were frozen out of RF funding. Many programs were voluntarily not chosen by states as was their perogative, but this is not freezing out.

There are three problems with the Kame’enui as villian meme:

1. The Oig report found no financial interest conflicts for Kame’enui or any othe panelist. The only conflicts founds were the nebulous "associations with specific reading programs" which, of course, almost every panelist had because authors of reading programs tend also to author reading reading programs.

2. Bob Sweet has clarfied that most if not all of the conflicts Kame’enui is accused of aren't legitimate conflicts.

3. DoE was under no obligation to check for any conflicts of any kind under the statute because RF is not a discretionary grant program.

I'm not saying that some scandal can't be found in the RF program somewhere, but none of the theories set forth so far, either by OIG or interested third parties, stand up to even the slightest scrutiny.

10:10 AM  

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