Several current and former federal officials are expected to testify at an investigative hearing on the Reading First program before the House Education and Labor committee this week.
The hearing, scheduled for April 20, will explore charges of mismanagement and conflict of interest in the $1 billion-a-year federal program. Department of Education Inspector General John P. Higgins Jr., who has issued a series of reports detailing problems with the program, is slated to appear. Christopher J. Doherty, a former director of the Reading First program, is also expected to testify, along with Edward J. Kame’enui, the commissioner for the Education Department’s center for special education research and an adviser to the reading program.
Deborah C. Simmons, a professor of special education at the Texas A&M University, in College Station, Texas, and a co-author with Mr. Kame’enui of a commercial reading program, was issued a subpoena to appear at the hearing. The committee issued the subpoena after Ms. Simmons’ lawyer failed to respond promptly to an invitation to appear, according to a press release issued by Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., the committee’s chairman.
The six IG reports issued over the last six months found that the Education Department and its contractors may have overstepped their authority in advising states on their Reading First plans. (“Reading Probe Will Continue on Capitol Hill,” April 4, 2007.)
A version of this article appeared in the April 18, 2007 edition of Education Week