News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
Spellings Criticizes ‘Reading First’ Cuts
Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings sent a letter last week to Rep. David R. Obey, D-Wis., the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, asking him to restore the $629 million cut from the $1.03 billion Reading First program in a fiscal 2008 spending bill approved this month by a subcommittee.
The program has been the subject of various federal inquiries that have essentially supported complaints that Department of Education officials appeared to favor the use of some commercial programs, and discouraged others, during the implementation of Reading First. Rep. Obey cited those reports in explaining his spending bill.
Ms. Spellings wrote in her June 13 letter that she had taken steps to correct the problems by implementing the recommendations in a report by her department’s inspector general. She said the 61 percent reduction in funding would ultimately “result in a critical loss of services for our nation’s neediest students, and significant hardships for states.”
Vol. 26, Issue 42, Page 30