Edward J. Kame’enui was named last week as the first-ever commissioner for special education research in the Department of Education’s Institute for Education Sciences.
Mr. Kame’enui, 57, was named to the new research post last week by Grover J. “Russ” Whitehurst, the institute’s director.
While the researcher has gained prominence for his work in guiding the implementation of the federal Reading First initiative, he has drawn allegations from critics that his advisory role has helped increase the success of commercial instructional and assessment materials he helped develop.
Mr. Kame’enui has been a prominent reseacher at the University of Oregon for more than 15 years. Most recently he has been director of the Western Region Reading First Technical Assistance Center, housed at the university, which shares a $36 million federal grant with two other regional centers to provide technical assistance to grant recipients in the program.
He authored a key guide for evaluating reading programs to meet Reading First research-based requirements and helped build a database for a popular assessment: the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Reading Skill, or DIBELS. The use of that assessment, developed by a colleague at the university, has spread throughout the country thanks to its acceptance for use in Reading First schools.