Readers interested in either the i3 grant program or in literacy instruction should check out Nick Anderson’s Washington Post article from the weekend on Success for All, as well as this excellent and interesting follow-up blog post that reminds me why I so like Jay Mathews. I think that the awarding of major i3 “scale-up” grants to two long-running literacy interventions--Success for All and Reading Recovery--that had previously been largely shut out of the federal Reading First program remains one of the most interesting and overlooked stories of 2010. (overlooked largely, I’d guess, because too few folks in the education media or reform crowds are really all that interested in instruction, and those who are, are sick of the “reading wars."--but Anderson’s and Mathews’ articles offer good steps to address that oversight) The real outcome of this story and the i3 grants generally is of course only just starting to be seen, so saavy ed-watchers should stay tuned to this story in 2011.
One other note: At the time the i3 grants were announced, some critics snarked about the “old school"-ness of scale-up grantees SFA and Reading Recovery, a sentiment that gets echoed a bit in Anderson’s piece (although without the negative judgement). It shows how dumb and uninformed this critique is, that SFA was one of the first ventures funded by New Schools Venture Fund, which is typically viewed as sort of the epitome of social entrepreneurial innovation in education. 3 of the 4 scale-up winners (KIPP, TFA, and SFA) have been beneficiaries of NSVF Funding.
The opinions expressed in Sara Mead’s Policy Notebook are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.