Thursday, April 19, 2007

Reading First says In Your Face!

Reading First Paying Off, Education Dept. Says - washingtonpost.com

That's the irony," said John F. Jennings, president of the Center on Education Policy. "The program was poorly -- even unethically -- administered at the federal level, yet it seems to be having a positive effect in schools.

...

A department official said the data show that the number of students in Reading First programs who were proficient on fluency tests increased on average over the past five years by 16 percent for first-graders, 14 percent for second-graders and 15 percent for third-graders. On comprehension tests, it increased 15 percent for first-graders, 6 percent for second-graders and 12 percent for third-graders. The official said the analysis is based on results from 16 states that have the most complete data.
I bet this upsets more than a few people.
Critics said the results were not so impressive, considering how much money has been spent on the program. They said the test scores are meaningless because they are not compared with the performance of other students, who nationwide are doing better in reading.
It would be nice to see these numbers, but I am willing to bet that a lot these other schools were influenced by Reading First.

Its also pretty ironic that the same people who would argue for more money to be poured into education on things like teachers pay, now decide to complain about the money. And just how expensive is the program?

According to the Reading First website, the program helps 1.7 million children. The annual budget for Reading First in 2006 was $1,029,234,000. By my calculation this works out to around $605 per kid per year. Obviously, this is way to much money to spend on low income children to teach them how to read.

The most disturbing thing though, is as far as I can tell, Reading First is nothing more than a bribe to use effective programs. What does it say that states just didn't adopt scientifically based programs by themselves?

4 comments:

Independent George said...

The program was poorly -- even unethically -- administered at the federal level, yet it seems to be having a positive effect in schools.

That just kills me. The program was not administered unethically. The controversy surrounding RF was that it 'unfairly' favored programs like DI and SFA - which is precisely the reason it succeeded.

Must... control... fist of death...

Lauren said...

In my district we spend about $7000 per student, total. Adding another $600 or what every you estimate RF provided is a significant chunk of change. With that much money they could hire some anybody off the street to sit and listen to the kids read, and that alone will improve the test scores. So yes, simply spending an extra $600 per kid will certainly improve reading scores no matter what curriculum is used.

Parentalcation said...

"hire some anybody off the street to sit and listen to the kids read, and that alone will improve the test scores"

Pretty naive...

"spending an extra $600 per kid will certainly improve reading scores no matter what curriculum is used"

Tell that to the underperforming, overfunded schools in Washington D.C.

CrypticLife said...

"So yes, simply spending an extra $600 per kid will certainly improve reading scores no matter what curriculum is used."

Best bet might be to promise each kid a Nintendo DS if they raise their reading score by a certain amount.