The Reading First program has led to changes and improvements in reading instruction, but the U.S. Department of Education failed to guard against federal officials’ “mandating or directing states’ decisions about reading programs and assessments, which is prohibited by [law],” the Government Accountability Office has found.
The report by the investigative arm of Congress, released March 23, substantiates the findings of a broad review of the reading initiative by the department’s inspector general.
The report plowed little new ground in describing problems with the oversight of the $1 billion-a-year program authorized under the No Child Left Behind Act. But its tone is decidedly more positive than the scathing reports released by the inspector general over the past five months. It highlights the positive impact Reading First has had on instruction in underachieving schools.
“The report demonstrates that states were satisfied with the forms of guidance and technical assistance they received,” Deputy Secretary of Education Raymond J. Simon wrote in a response letter to the GAO.
A version of this article appeared in the March 28, 2007 edition of Education Week