To the Editor:
Michael L. Kamil’s comments about the cost and effectiveness of Scholastic Inc.’s Read 180 program, in your recent article “Clearinghouse Finds Evidence Reading Program Works” (Oct. 21, 2009), are very misleading.
Mr. Kamil, a professor of education at Stanford University, is quoted as saying that the computerized reading program costs “$30,000 a classroom.” That initial price, however, is for 60 licenses, student and teacher materials, and training. The licenses become the property of the school district, which, if it follows the recommended class size of between 15 and 20 students, can use the program in three to four classrooms.
Moreover, the initial cost of Read 180 is just that, the initial cost. When a school or district purchases any new program, the amount spent is always greater the first year. If one considers that the program can reach 60 learners each year, over a three- to five-year period it becomes a relatively inexpensive intervention.
With the acknowledged high standard that the What Works Clearinghouse adheres to, its finding of “potentially positive effects” is a great testimony that, with fidelity, this program can work for underachieving students. As a practitioner, I have found Read 180 to be both cost-responsible and extremely effective as an intervention for at-risk populations.
Director of Special Education
Paul Bunyan Education Cooperative
A version of this article appeared in the November 18, 2009 edition of Education Week as Setting Record Straight On ‘Read 180' Costs