Today's Washington Post reports on a Reading Program in Need of Improvement. The article "Study of Reading Program Finds a Lack of Progress" by Maria Glod takes to task the $6 billion Reading First program after a congressionally mandated study determined that students have made no greater improvements or scored no better than students in similar schools who did not use the Reading First program. Of course Reading First is a program funded by the No Child Left Behind law. Here is a sad comment from the article:
"It is a program that needs to be improved," said Grover J. "Russ" Whitehurst,director of the Institute of Education Sciences, the department's research arm."I don't think anyone should be celebrating that the federal government has spent $6 billion on a reading program that has had no impact on reading comprehension."
Of course the article also mentions that not so new allegations that some of the people who had oversight over the Reading First program also had financial ties to the publishers of Reading First materials. Did I mention that this is a $6 billion program? I think I smell a program in need of some corrective action.
There are some really useful things in the Reading First program and there are some dreadful things. However when will the politicians learn that it is not a program that works with students, it is the teachers. Hire good teachers and support them as much as possible so that they can do their job, but don't expect a $6 billion program to be the answer. It sounds like a lot of wasted money.