"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was and never will be...nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe." – Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

In Reading, a Scandel Without Consequences

Published: March 21, 2007

LETTER

In Reading, a Scandal Without Consequences

To the Editor:

It seems that in Washington there are scandals, and
then there are scandals.

In February, The Washington Post ran a series of
articles on the neglect and mistreatment of wounded
soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan at Walter
Reed Army Medical Center. Generals have been fired and
heads have rolled. And that’s as it should be.

We’ve now had a series of reports from the U.S.
Department of Education’s inspector general on the
implementation of the multibillion-dollar Reading
First program, part of the No Child Left Behind Act.
Not one congressional hearing has yet been held.
Despite the recommendations of the inspector general’s
reports, only one scapegoat has been permitted to
resign. No investigations of violations of the law
have been initiated by the attorney general. No grand
juries have been convened. And the national press and
media have virtually ignored the whole scandal.
When Education Week went through the mountain of
e-mails released by the Education Department under the
Freedom of Information Act ("E-Mails Reveal Federal
Reach Over Reading?" Feb. 21, 2007), it found numerous
messages that seem to involve conspiracies by
Education Department and Nation Institute of Child
Health and Human Development functionaries and their
paid consultants to violate and misrepresent the law.
And yet those very violations were excused by ranking
authorities as being necessary to force teachers and
administrators to use reading programs and tests
labeled “scientific” by their own authors, with no
supporting evidence for the particular programs and
tests.

We need to insist that those responsible for
mistreating our returning servicemen and -women be
punished. And we must also insist that those abusing
the children of these returning servicepeople—and the
rest of the children in American schools—also be
punished.

We need to fully air the impact of Reading First, and
NCLB as a whole, before the No Child Left Behind Act
is reauthorized for another, even more disastrous five
years. Thanks to Education Week for its full reporting
of the Reading First scandals.

Kenneth S. Goodman
Professor Emeritus
Department of Language,
Reading, and Culture
College of Education
University of Arizona
Tucson, Ariz.

Vol. 26, Issue 28, Page 32