Friday, May 2, 2008

Child left behind

If you're interested in the much-touted No Child Left Behind program, there's an interim report out from the Department of Education on Reading First.

It didn't work.

Wade through the foreign languages--a mix of Education-speak and Statisticianese--in the first link or try the article in the New York Times. (I know, I know. I'm getting carried away with this liberal rag, but their email headlines are my newest toy.)

From the report's Executive Summary: "On average, across the 18 participating sites, estimated impacts on student reading comprehension test scores were not statistically significant."

Congressional Democrats must agree; they cut funding from a billion to 400 million dollars last year.

A 2006 report (PDF) from John Higgins, DOE's Inspector General, might have influenced them. From the article:
The Reading First director, Chris Doherty, resigned in 2006, days before the release of Mr. Higgins’s report, which disclosed a number of e-mail messages in which Mr. Doherty referred to contractors or educators who favored alternative curriculums seen as competitors to the Reading First approach as “dirtbags” who he said were “trying to crash our party.”
I'm just shocked and amazed that President Bush allows such things on his watch, and on his pet program.

Some excerpts from Doherty emails are in the Comments (No The Pet Goat jokes, please)


KAP said...

The post was getting long, but here's an email taste of Doherty, the real dirtbag:

Page 25: As you may remember, RF got Maine to UNDO its already-made decision to have Rigby be one of their two approved core programs (Ha, ha – Rigby as a CORE program? When pigs fly!) We also as you may recall, got NJ [New Jersey] to stop its districts from using Rigby (and the Wright Group, btw) and are doing the same in Mississippi. This is for your FYI, as I think this program-bashing is best done off or under the major radar screens.

Page 17: Page 19, [Section] F-2, 2 b. [of the Guidance] “Providing expanded opportunities to students in kindergarten through grade 3 who are served by eligible local educational agencies for receiving reading assistance from alternative providers.”

We make absolutely no mention on this opportunity in the application, because we don’t like it and don’t want to open the door to this, but it is in the law and
needs to be addressed somewhere reasonably official – like the Guidance – as a “best” compromise. FYI.

Also, Page 19, [Section] F-3 Are there any required priorities for funds reserved for State use? Yes. A State educational agency shall give priority to carrying out the activities described in Question F-2 for schools that are among the schools served by eligible local educational agencies with the highest percentages…”

Again, my belief is that this is a potential back door though [sic] which some money could flow in unwanted directions, and therefore this required priorities for funds reserved for State use element of the law is NOT NOT [sic] in the
application, but we have to reflect that we know it exists somewhere, so that place is the Guidance. FYI.

Bruce A. Bateman said...

What a surprise, who would have thought a government program wouldn't work?

RE: the NY TImes, I received the following as one of those unsolicited email jokes bears on the issue:


A biker is riding by the zoo, when he sees a little girl leaning into the lion's cage. Suddenly, the lion grabs her by the cuff of her jacket and tries to pull her inside to slaughter her, under the eyes of her screaming parents. The biker jumps off his bike, runs to the cage and hits the lion on the nose with a powerful punch.

Whimpering from the pain the lion jumps back letting go of the girl; the biker brings her to her terrified parents, who thank him endlessly.

A New York Times reporter saw the whole scene. 'Sir, this was the most gallant and brave thing I saw in my whole life!'

'Why, it was nothing, really, the lion was behind bars. I just saw this little kid in danger, and acted as I felt right.'

'Well, I'm from the New York Times; tomorrow's paper will have this on the first page. What do you do for a living and what is you political affiliation'

'I am a U.S. Marine and a Republican.'

The journalist leaves.

The following morning the biker buys The New York Times. Above the fold, on the front page, he reads:


KAP said...

Thanks for swallowing the bait.

I don't trust reporters. I doesn't matter whether they're from the Washington Post or the (Moonie) Washington Times. The Wall Street Journal doesn't deserve any more or less skepticism as it tabloidizes like Murdoch's Post and Fox News.

I've seen them cheat, across the political spectrum, by cherrypicking facts and quotes. So I check their sources if I can and if I've got time. Sometimes I post the links while I've got 'em, in case anyone's interested.

KAP said...

Oh, the point: The NYT is a good paper, better than most.

If her shotgun has a good spread, even a cross-eyed conservative catcaller like Anne Coulter can hit the target with a few pellets.

Saipan Writer said...

Is the "Wright group" the same as Reverend Wright?

Am I reading this correctly--the No Child Left Behind was just a way for certain people to cash in, offering "programs" now mandated by federal law for which they'd get paid--monopoly basis?

This is so sick.

KAP said...

The Wright Group is apparently part of McGraw-Hill>

And yeah, that's how I read the emails.

Funny that old-style conservatives wanted to gut DOE, even eliminate it. And they insisted that the feds couldn't tell states what to teach. Another rule that was apparently broken.