Published Online: December 12, 2006
Published in Print: December 13, 2006, as ‘Reading First’ Criteria: Which Quote Is Right?

Letter

‘Reading First’ Criteria: Which Quote Is Right?

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To the Editor:

G. Reid Lyon's Nov. 15, 2006, letter to the editor describes a process of altering the federal No Child Left Behind Act’s efficacy criteria for materials that is somewhat different from what he described that process to be earlier this year. Compare the two versions of how Reading First criteria for curriculum materials were weakened, as described by Mr. Lyon first in an interview on Jan. 18, 2006, with EducationNews.org, and second in his letter:

“What we originally wanted in Reading First was that if you want to buy a program with federal money, it should have gone through clinical trials to be sure it is effective. But there weren’t enough programs that went through that level of rigor; so many programs would be screened out, and only a limited number of programs would be available. The [U.S.] Department of Education made the decision to make the criteria more general." [emphasis added]

In his letter, he writes, “The effectiveness criteria were changed to the lower standard through the process of congressional negotiation and compromise, not by the Education Department.”

So which version is accurate?

Richard Allington
Professor of Education
University of Tennessee
Knoxville, Tenn.

Vol. 26, Issue 15, Page 34

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