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choice were not at all or somewha[ important for reading and math achievement.

Also, 69 percent of districts that receive Reading First giants called the program’s assessments important or very
important, and 68 percenl made the same classification for the program’s instructional component.
,,Private
........- S p ellin ~t__ s, Mar ~1, aret
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: Monday, July 09, 2007 4:36 PM
To: Private - Spellings, Margaret; Landers, Angela; Evers, Bill; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia;
DDrfman, Cynthia; Mesecar, Doug; Dunckel, Denise; Dunn, David; Pitts, Elizabeth; Flowers,
Sarah; McGrath, John; Talbert, Kent; Briggs, Kerri; Kuzmich, Holly; Toomey, Liam; Maddox,
Lauren; Scheessele, Marc: PrivaLe - Spellings, Margaret; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Beaton,
Meredith; Moran, Robert; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Tada, Wendy; Halaska, Terreli; Tracy WH;
Wurman, Ze’ev; Young, Tracy; Quades, Karen; Bannerman, Kristin; Watkins, Tiffany:
Sampson, Vincent
Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof, Samara
Subject: Weekly Standard on Reading First

Read It a~ad Weep


Why does Congress ha|e the one part of No Child Left Behind that works?
by Charlotle Allen
07/16/2007, Volume 012, Issue 41
Richmond, Vi~’gi~ti~t In a classroom at Ginter Park Element,ary School, a century-old brick
schoolhouse on a dreary, zoned-commercial truck route that bisects a largely African-American
neighborhood in Riclmaond, a third-doric teacher, Laverne Johnson, is doing something that flies
in the face of more than three decades of the most advanced pedagogical principles taught at
.~nerica’s top-rated education schools. Seated on a chair in a corner of her classroom surrotmded
by a dozen youngsters sitting cross-legged on the floor at her feet, Jolmson is teaching reading--
as just plain reading. %vo and a halfl~ours e~’e~- morning, systematically going over m~ch basics
as phonies, vocabulary words, and a crucial skill "kno~vn as "phonemic awareness" that entails
recognizing the separate sotmd components of individual w~rds--that the word "happy," for
example, contains five letters but only four sotmds, ~r phonemes. Phonemic awareness is an
imporlant prelude to phonics: learning which phonemes are represented in written English by
which gmphemes, or combinations of letters. According to the principles Johnson is following, it
is lhe mix of phonemic awm’eness and phonics that enables children (and adults learning how to
read foa’ the first time) to sound out, syllable by syllable, unI~amiliar-loo -king words they might
encounter on a page and then link those words to meaning. In the world of forward-thinking
educational pedagogy, phonemic awareness is deemed useless, phonics of only intermittent
value, and the sounding oul of words deadening to a clfild’s potential interest in books. As her
main teaching tool, Johnson is using something that also makes the most advanced minds at
America’s education schools blanch: a reader. Those fat hardback textbooks that were the staple
of grade school until the 1970s are out of fashion these days, replaced in most elementary-school
classrooms in America by "authentic literature": illustrated trade-press children’s books of the
sort that parents buy to entertain their offspring at bedtime (or that older youngsters check out of
the public library to read for pleasure) arid ent~,rely lacking in teachers’ guides or clues as to how
they might be used as instructional tools. Again, not so at Ginter Park. Every one of the dozen
children sitling at Johnson’s feet holds an open copy of the very same textbook that Johnsota
holds, whose no-nonsense title makes its purpose plain: Ho~¢ghton .~’[ifflin Readi~zg, Grade 3. tt
comes supplemented with such fa~aionably disdained materials as vocabulary lists, ready-made
comprehension tests, ,and teachers’ guides that include built-in lesson plans and scripts. Indeed,
Johnson is handing out one of those very vocabulary lists: 30 new words that they will encounter
in the story to which ~heir books me open but which the?’ haven’t started yet: "Poppa’s New
Pm~ts." Johnson is sounding out the words with the children and going through their meanings:
"pattern," "plaid," "draped," "hem." "What cm~ you telI me about a hem?" she asks. A little girl
promptly flips up the hem of her T-shirt and shows it off to the group. "Sew--S-E-W," says
Johnson. "Now, does artyone know a homonym for sew? .... So--S-O[" shouts another girl. "Yes!"
says Jolmson, explaining how it is that two different words with two different meanings can
sound the same. A homonym--they really still teach such tlaings these days? The education
establishment may sneer at the tecimiq~es Jotmson uses, but they are part ofa smaIl-scale
miracle: Ginter Park, despite an unpromising location and a high-povertT-level student body,
now rm~ks in the top third of more than l,100 public elementary schools in the state of Virginia,
holding its own against schools in the ultra-affluent, highly educated suburban counties of
northern Virginia just across the Pntomac River from Washington, D.C. Untit only five years
ago, Ginter Park, !ocated in a once-upscale trolley-car suburb that has seen better days, was near
the bottom of the slate’s academic boo’el, lhe second-worst-performing elementary school in the
Rictmmnd Public Schools district--which was itself the second-worst-performing school district
in the state. Richmond, stale capital and onetime capital of the Confederacy, is a classic example
of a soutlacm city nearly collapsed ha on itselr after decades of worsening economic fortunes and
out-migration to ils exurban ring. The city boasts a hand~ial of genuinely wealthy or artfully
gentrilied neighborhoods, bul there is also much poverty, with its attendant social problems of
crime, drugs, teen pregnancy, ,’rod single-parent households. Of RicNnond’s 25,000 youngsters
enrolled in public school, 95 percent are African American, and 70 percent qualify for free or
reduced-price lunches, a marker of poverty. At Ginter Pm’k Elementary, where all but a tiny
handful of students belong to rninori~~ groups, the children are on average even poorer, with 83
percent qualifying for the free-lunch program. During the year 2000, only five public schools in
Richmond (and certainly not Ginter Park) were fully accredited by the state of Virginia.
Private -~ Spell!.ngs~. Marga rot
From: Reich, Heidi
Sent: Friday, June 15, 2007 9:00 AM
To: Beaton, Meredith; l]riggs, Kerri; Bryant, Jessica; Cariello, Dennis; Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey;
Dorfman, Cynthia; Dunckel, Denise; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Gare, Cassio;
Grihble, Emily; Halaska, Terrell; Herr, John; Higgins, Kristan; Kuzmich, Holly; Lambert, Kelly;
Landers, Angola; MacGuidwin, Katie; Maddo×, Lauren; Maguire, Tory; McGrath, John;
McLane, Katherine; Munitt, Townsend L; Mesecar, Dou9; Moran, Robert; Morffi, Jessica;
Neale, Rebecca; O’Daniel, Meagan; Pills, Elizabeth; Reich, Heidi; Rosenfel!;, Phil; Ruberg,
Casey; Scheessele, Marc; Pdvate - Spellings, Margaret; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Terrell,
Julie; Toomey, Liam; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy; Young, Tracy
D. ; Yudof, Samara; Zeff, Ken
Subject; Spellings Pleads For Full Reading First Funding (Ed Daily)

Spellings Pleads For Full Reading First Funding (Ed Daily)


Cut wouJd diminish program’s success in early literacy, she says
By Kris Kitto
Education Daily, June 15, 2007
Education Secretary Margaret Spellings mounted a defense for Reading First Wednesday, sending Rep. David Obey, D-
Wis,, a warning that the drastic slash in the literacy program’s funding that his House subcommittee approved last week would
come back to haunt him in his home state.
In a letter to the House’s Committee on Appropriations chairman, Spellings said Wisconsin stands to lose more than $8.5
million in grants for Reading First, which she added has demonstrated improvements in ifrst- and second-grade lileracy levels in
100 percent of the state’s participating schools.
The committee cut $629 million from the former billion-dollar program, a reduction thai. would touch a large portion of the
approximately 1,600 participating districts.
Spellings’ tactic is the latest in an ongoing political tug-of-war over Reading First’s widely documented success and the
depadment’s alleged mismanagement and conflicts of interest during the program’s launch.
Spellings acknowledged that there were "problems in the early implementation of the program’ but said the cut "witl result in
a critical loss of services for our nation’s neediest students and significant hardships for states.°
She said she takes the program’s management "very seriously,’ highlighting the appointmen~of Reading First Director
Joseph Conaty, the expansion of staff to curb the use of contractors, and more detailed conflict-of-interest guidelines as steps
she’s taken to restore its integrity,
But to date, Spellings’ argurnenls for the program’s success as welt as her promises of a cleaner administration have yet to
convince lawmakers that Reading First’s troubles are a thing of the past.
The result, according to Thomas B. Fordham Foundation Vice President. Michael Petrilli, is that the program has paid the
ultimate price.
°It looks to me that the Democrats are trying to punish lhe administration for some of the problems of the program, but it’s
sort of a backwards way to do it," he said. Petrilli added thal Congress might have been better off Iookii~g deeper into Spellings’
role in the alleged mismanagement and demanding that she take responsibility for it.
Instead, the budget slash has invoked a calt-to-arrns among stales and districts that have benefited from the program and
are loathe to see it go.
"The program, from all independent reviews, is helping kids learn how to read," said Rich Long, the government relations
director at lhe International Reading Association, noting that his organization has heard very few Reading First-related
complainl.s from the field since ED has instituted management changes.
"l think we’re going to see letlers from various states coming to the Senate that will demonstrate on a state-by-state basis
how effective the program is."
And Spellings would be wise to direct her efforts toward the Senate, too, Center on Education Policy President Jack
Jennings said, since the House is unlikely to write another appropriation to get the morley restored in Reading First.
"Her best bet is to try to convince the Senate lhat she’s seriously reforming lhe program," he said.
But Spellings will likely face resistance in the Senate, too. Jennifer Mullin, a spokeswoman for Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa,
lhe leader of the Senate’s education appropriations, said Harkin believes in the program’s mission bul =has voiced some pretty
significant concerns about the program and its mismanagement.~ The Senate subcommittee plans to look at the issue before the
July 4 recess, she said.
As for continued congressional oversight of the program, House’s Committee on Education and Labor spokesman Aaron
Albright said the committee’s investigation is ongoing, and Melissa Wagoner, a Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor
and Pensions spokeswoman, said a previously scheduled hearing on Reading First might get incorporated into NCLB
reauthodzation talks.
Privat_e TSpellin~l,s, Marcia,rat ,
From: Reich, Heidi
Sent: Wednesday, June 13, 2007 8:57 AM
To: Benton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Bryanlq Jessica; Cariello, Dennis; Colby. Chad; Ditto, Trey;
Dorfman, Cynthia; Dunckel, Denise; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Gare, Cassie;
Gribble, Emily’, Halaska, Terrell; Herr, John; Hi,gins, Kristan; Kuzmich, Holly; Lambert, Kelly;
Landers, Angola; MacGuidwin, Katie; Maddox, Lauren; Maguire, Tory; McGrath, John;
McLane, KatherinE; Mcni[t, Townsend L.; Mesecar, Doug; Moran, Robert; Morffi, Jessica;
Neale, Rebecca; O’Daniel, Meagan; Pit[s, Elizabeth; Reich, Heidi; Rosenfelt, Phil; Ruberg,
Casey; Scheessele, Marc; Private - Spellings, Margaret; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Terrell,
Julia; Toomey, Liam; ]ucker, Sara Martinez; Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy; Young, Tracy
D. ; Yudof, Samara; Zeff, Ken
Subject: Evaluation Indicates Limited Effects Under Early Reading First Program (EDWEEK)

Evaluation Indicates Limited Effects Under Early Reading First Program (EDWEEK)
By’ Kathleen Kennedy Manzo
Education Week, June 13, 2007
The federal effort to bolster emergent literacy skills has yielded some improvement in preschoolers’ knowledge of letters
and understanding of prir~t concepts, but has had little effect on other skills deemed critical precursors to reading, an evaluation
released last week by the Institute of Education Sciences concludes.
-Ihe final repod on the Eady Reading First program, conducted by outside researchers under contract to the research arm
of the U.S. Department of Education, found the program has had the most significant effect in improving classroom activilies and
materials, as wel! as teacher practices related to literacy development.
Teachers in padicipating classrooms received far more professional development, mentoring, and tutoring on literacy and
curriculum topics than their counterparts in nonfunded classrooms, as much as 48 more hours per year, the study found.
Children in Early Reading First classes had higher-quality interactions with teachers, greater access to literacy-building activities,
more early-wriling exercises, and regular screening and assessment of their skills.
But the program appeared Io have no effect on 1he preschoolers’ oral-language skills, social or emotional development, or
phonological processing-awareness of the sounds that make up words.
Some experts say the results show that while Early Reading First is beneficial for improving the field, they raise questions
about why the program did not appear to impact some of the central areas it targeted.
"We don’t think we should abandon Early Reading First .... but we need to think about what we have to do to change it for
betler outcomes and better professional-development oppodunities," said Adele Robinson, Ihe associate executive director for
policy and public affairs f~r the Washington-based National Asso¢ia%n for the Education o~ Young Children.
Under the Early Reading Firsl initiative, which was aulhodzed under the No Child Left Behind Act, about 150 local
education agencies and public and private early-childhood programs have shared some $450 million in federal grants since 2002
for improving school readiness among disadvantaged preschool children. Grants ranged from $750,000 to $4.5 mi[ien over three
years.
The evaluation looked at child-outcome data and teacher practices in 28 of the 30 sites that received the three-year grant in
fiscal 2003, and compared the results with those at 37 sites that had applied for but did not get funding. Potenlial Conflicts
Outlined
The report is the first from the tES to include a disclosure of potential conflicts of interest among contractors involved in
such evaluations. In this case, it outlines the role of a subcontractor arid consultant in the evaluation, and their connections Io
assessments used to gauge the program’s progress.
The institule has always required contractors to disclose professional and financial ties that might conflict with their role in
such evaluations, But IES officials decided to publish such disclosures as a result of reports by the Education Department’s
inspector general and subsequent congressional hearings that highlighted potential conflicts of interest in the federal Reading
First program, according to IES Director Grover J. "Russ" Whitehurst.
Vol. 26, Issue 41, Page !2
,,Pf!vate - Spellin~ls, Margaret
From: Reich, Heidi
Sent: Monday, June 11, 2007 8:56 AM
To: Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Bryant, Jessica; Cariello, Dennis; Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey;
Dorfman, Cynthia; Dunckel, Denise; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Gate, Cassio;
Gribble, Emily; Halaska, Terrell; Herr, John; Higgins, Kristan; Kuzmich, Holly; Lambert, Kelly;
Landers, Angela; MacGuidwin, Katie; Maddox, Lauren; Maguire, Tory; McGrath, John;
McLane, Katherine; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar, Doug; Mo~n, Robert; Morf-ri, Jessica;
Neate, Rebecca; O’Daniel, Meagan; Pitts, Elizabeth; Pdvate - Spellings, Margaret; Reich,
Heidi; Rosenfelt, Phil; Ruberg, Casey; Scheessele, Marc; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Terrell,
Julie; Toomey, Liarn; Tucke[, Sara Martinez; Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy; Young, Tracy
D. ; Yudof, Samara; Zeff, Ken
Subject: House Panel Votes To Slash ’Reading First’ Aid (EDWEEK)

House Panel Votes lro Slash ’Reading First’ Aid (EDWEEK)


By David J. Hoff
Education Week, June 8, 2007
Washington
House Democrats want to pvt their own stamp on federal education spending by increasing Title I and other programs they’
favor and slashing Reading First and other priorities set by President Bush.
In the $56 billion fiscal 2008 spending bill for the Department of Educalion unveiled by the Democrats, No Child Left Behind
Act programs would receive a $2 billion increase, with the "l’itle I program for disadvantaged students receiving $1.5 billion of
that.
But the $1.03 billion Reading First program-which lhe Bush administration points.to as one ofils biggest accomplishments
under the NCLB law-would take a cut of $630 million, or 61 percent. What’s more, the administrafion’s latest proposals for private
school vouchers and new mathematics programs would not be funded at all.
"This [Reading Firs1] cut will not be restored unlil we have a full appreciation of the shenanigans that have been going on,"
said Rap. David R. Obey, D-Wis., the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. Reports by the Department of
Education’s inspector general and congressional investigators have outlined management and ethical questions involving the
program.
Republicans voiced no objections to the Reading First cuts or other spending levels during the June 7 session of the
appropriations panel’s Labor, Health and Human Services: Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee. The subcommittee
approved the Democ[atic plan in a unanimous voice vote.
’If I were chairman," said Rap. James T. Walsh, R-N.Y., the subcommittee’s senior Republican, °1 don’t know that I would
have made the bill a whole lot different?
Wilh their victories in the 2006 midterm elections, the Democrats gained control of the House of Representatives for the
first time in 12 years.
Educalion Deparlment spokeswoman Kalherine McLane said via e-mail: "It’s amazing that Congress would cut a program
that benefits so many poor and minority children in this country. Reading First is a proven game-changer fur a lot of children,
getting them the help they need to become stronger readers and succeed in school. Cutting Reading First funding means cutting
a lot of kids’ prospects of success in school."
Punishing the Department?
Some reading experls agreed that, despite the problems with Reading First outlined in six inspector general reports since
last fall, the program is worth saving.
The findings essentially supported complaints that federal officials appeared to favor 1he use of some commercial
programs, and discouraged others, dudng lhe implementation of Reading First. The inspector general’s findings largely
substantiated the allegations of conflict of interest and mismanagement in the program. A Senate education committee report
last monlh also described alleged ethical breaches by reading experts who gained financially while assisting in the roltout of the
5-year-old program. ("Senate Report Cites ’Reading First’ Conflicts," May 16, 2007.)
"The move to eviscerale the program by draslically cutting it is the ultimate example of throwing lhe baby out with the bath
waler," said Alan E. Farstrup, the executive direclor of the Newark, Del.-based Inlernational Reading Association.
Evel~ critics of the implementation and oversight of Reading First have expressed support for me program, and particularly
for the funding and other help it provides districts for professional development and instructional practices that have been
deemed effective in scier~ti~c studies.
"This is not the way I had hoped it would go," said Robert E. Slavin, lhe founder of the Baltimore-based Success for All
Foundation and one of three vendors whose complaints to the inspec!or general’s office in 2005 led to a broad review of the
program.
"The department has yet to give a full accounting of the problems," Mr. Slavin added. "But unfodunately, punishing the
Education Departmenl [by reducing funding] means punishing the kids who can most benefit from Reading First."
Separate evaluations of Reading First have found [hat participaling schools spend more time on reading instruction, and
lhat teachers in such schools are more knowledgeable about the reading process. Sludent-achievement results to this point
show thai schools in 1he program are improving on some test measures, although it is not clear whether Reading First is driving
the gains. ("State Data Show Gains in Reading," April 25, 2007.)
Democratic Priorities
Reflecting lhe new House majority, the spending bill approved by the subcommittee has a distinctly Democratic theme. It
would increase Education Depadment discretionary spending in the fiscal year that begins Oc!. 1 fiom $57.4 bi!lion to $61.7
billion, a 7.4 percent jump. Overall, it would appropriate $153.7 billion for programs in the Labor, Health and Human Services,
and Education departments, as well as a handful of oliver federal agencies. That would be an $8.9 billion increase over fiscal
2007.
Programs under the NCLB law would receive almost half the E~lucation Department’s overall increase, going from $23.6
billion to $25.6 billion, or an 8.4 percent hike.
Title I funding would rise from $12.8 billion to .$14.4 billion, or by t2 percent, which would be lhe largest dollar increase in
the program’s 42-year history, Rep, Obey said.
The NCLB law’s program for improving teacher quality would increase from $2.9 b~lion to $3.2 billion, a 10 percent jump,
and spending for the 21st CenlEury Community Learning Centers would go from $9B1 million to $1.1 million, a 13 percent
increase.
The spending bill, meanwhile, would not make dramatic cut~ thal President Bush has proposed for some NCLB programs.
It would provide $272 million-the same amount as in the current fiscal year-for state technology grants, a program Mr, Bush
proposed eliminating. For the Sale and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Program, the bill would appropriate $300 million.
While that would be a $46.5 million cut from the fiscal 2007 level, the House subcommittee’s level is $200 million more than what
the Bush administration proposed.
In higher education, the bill would add $2 billion to the Poll Grant sludent.aid program, providing enough to raise I~he
maximum award from $4,3!01o $4,700.
The bill also would reject key ingredients for President Bush’s plan to reauthodze the No Child Left Behind law.
It would decline to provide the $325 million I:he president proposed for private school choice to give such options Io
~tudents who attend chronically low-performing public schools.
The I~ill also would not fund math programs for elementary schools and middle schools proposed by Mr. Bush. And it wou~l
gi~e only level funding to the $31.9 million Stdving Readers program lot middle schoolers, far less than the Bush administration
request uf $100 million.
Rep. Obey said that the bill’s price tag has raised the prospect 1hat President Bush would veto it. But ~he Appropriations
Commitlee chairman, w!]o also leads the Labor-HHS-Education subcommitlee, had significant support from Republicans on the
subcommitlee to finance the programs Congress sees as a priority.
"The House has the power of tile purse, and we should nol give it up," Rep. Walsh said. "We certainly, need to assert that
prerogative.°
The full Appropriations Committee must approve the bill before the House votes on it. Approprialors hope to win House
approval for all 13 of the fiscal 2008 spending bills by the end of July.
Associate Editor Kathleen Kennedy Manzo conlributed to this report.
Vol. 26, Issue 41
.Private- Spe!!ings, Marg..a,,r, et
From: Reich, Heidi
Sent: Friday, June 08, 2007 8:44 AM
To: Beaten, Meredith; Bdggs, Kerri; B, ryant, Jessica; Cariello, Dennis; Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey;
Dorfrnan, Cynthia; Dunckel, Denise; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Gare, Cassio;
Gribble, Emily; Halaska, Terrell; Herr, John; His}gins, Krist:an; Kuzrnich, Holly; Landers,
Angola; MacGuidwin, Katie; Maddo×, Lauren; Maguire, Tory; McGrath, John; McLane,
Katherine; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; M~car, Doug; Moran, Robert; Mortii, Jessica; Neale,
Rebecca; O’Daniel, Meagan; Pitts, Elizabeth; Reich, Heidi; Rosenfelt, Phil; Ruberg, Casey;
Scheessele, Marc; Private - Spellings, Margaret; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Terrell, Julie;
Toomey, Liam; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy; Young, Tracy D. ;
Yudof, Samara; Zeff, Ken
Subject: Democrats Aid Education, Health Programs (AP)

Democrats Aid Education, Health Programs (AP)


By Andrew Taylor
AP, June 8, 2007
WASHINGTON -- Democrats awarded big budget increases for education and health care and research as a House panel
approved the largest domestic appropriations bill that Congress will consider this year.
The $151.5 billion measure covedng labor, health and education programs for the budget year beginning Oct. 1 faces a
veto threat from President Bush over its generous increases for programs cherished by Democrats but also popular with many
Republicans.
Overail, Democrats would provide a 4.8 percent increase over current levels for programs covered by the bill. Targeted for
bigger increases were healing subsidies for the poor and money for afterschool centers an~J community health centers.
The House Appropriations Committee chairman, Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., made a vigorous defense of the measure.
As approved by a subcommittee, it would provide a major boost for education programs, including an 8 percent increase
over current level8 for elementary and secondary school students under Bush’s No Child Left Behind law.
"We have a federal budget deficit,’ Obey said. "But we also have deficits in worker development, safety and protection;
deficits in healf~ access, affordability ancl qualily; and deficits in educational access and opportunity.°
The bill would ir~crease the maximum Poll Grant for college student ~rom low-income families $390 to $4,700 _ on the heels
of a $260 increase this year.
More than any other of the 12 annual spending bills passed by Congress each year to fund agency budgets, the education
and health measure provides a contrast between Democrats and Bush. They are heading loward veto fights this fall.
Bush’s February budget sought cuts of almost $4 billion from the bill, seeking to kill programs such as grants to community
service agencies that provide assistance to the poor.
In a gesture to Republicans, Obey would boost programs favored by Republicans and Bush, such as a 25 percent increase
for abstinence education. He also left in place restrictions on federal funding of abortions.
But Obey cut the $1 billion a year Reading First program by more than $600 million in the wake of widespread allegations
of conflicts of interest and mismanagement.
The Rational Institul.es of Healt:h would receive a 2.6 percent increase over current levels, higher than increases of recent
years but not enough to satisfy some health research advocales.
Earlier, the Appropriations Committee approved a $27.6 billion measure funding the Interior Department and the
Environmental Protection Agency.
That measure reverses cuts sought by Bush Io grants to communities for drinking wata~ and ~vastewater projects and other
water and sewer projects.
It also provides a 6 percent increase for the Indian Health Service.
..Privat_e -...Spellings, Margaret
From: Reich, Heidi
Sent: Wednesday, June 06, 2007 8:52 AM
To: Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Keni; Bryant, Jessica; Cariello, Dennis; Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey;
Dorfman, Cynlhia; Dunckel, Denise; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Gare, Cassio;
Gribble, Emily; Halaska, Terrell; Herr, John; Higgins, Kristan; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers,
Angola; MacGuJdwin, Katie; Maddox, Lauren; Maguire, Tory; McGrath, John: McLane,
Katherine; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Mesecar, Doug; Moran, Robert; Morffi, Jessica; Neale,
Rebecca; O’Daniel, Meagan; Pitts, Elizabeth; Reich, Heidi; Rosenfelt, Phil; Ruberg, Casey;
Scheessele, Marc; Private - Spellings, Margaret; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Terrell, Julie;
Toomey, Liam; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy; Young, Tracy D, ;
Yudof, Samara; Zeff, Ken
Subject: Early Reading First Shows Modest Success (Ed Daily)

Early Reading First Shows Modest Success (Ed Daily)


Literacy Program’s Slow Progress Puts Onus On Congress
By Kris Kitto
Education Daily, June 6, 2007
The Inslitute of Education Sciences’ final report to Congress on the Eady Reading First program revealed slight gains in
children’s literacy, sending a weaker message about the importance of literacy instruction for preschool students than reading
and eady childhood education expeds hoped.
But considering the populalion the program serves - largely disadvantaged students, many of whom are English-language
learners - small strides in reading preparation are an accomplishment, experts said.
The cnly statistically significant improvement came in prinl awareness, while phonological awareness, expressive
vocabulary and auditory comprehension improved more modestly.
"Letter recognition wilh this population is not a trivial thing," said Rich Long, the government relations director at the
International Reading Association. The ~maller gains in other areas indicale a continued need for research on how best to teach
young children preliteracy skills, he said.
The report offers a prelude to the national conversation on the importance of eady childhood education that experts predict
will occur once NCLB reauthorization begins. Some say the discourse wilt boil down to two elements: the quality of preschool
programs and the access : or lack thereof- that at-risk children have to those programs.
Early Reading First, a product of NCLB that addresses program quality by coupling federal funds with high standards, has
been funded at approximately $100 million for the past two years.
But another, older early childhood education program, Even Starl, has been called ineffective by government evaluations
and is in danger of being zeroed out in the next funding round.
’Wher~ we look at the goals of NCLB and the achievement gap, it’s so obvious that so much of that begins early,° said Sara
Mead, a senior policy analyst at Education Sector. Mead added that Congress will be more likely to agree on quality issues
among preschool programs than access issues, which can get costly.
Mead is also a board member of a charter l~reschool that receives Early Reading First money. She said the funds have
allowed the school to staff a curriculum coordinator and literacy coaches, among other iniliatives.
Mead said one of Early Reading First’s successes ~s thai: it requires preschool programs to use organized instruction,
something they might have lacked in the past.
The report got mixed reviews on the Hill, though two key members of Congress made clear their commitment to early
childl~ood education.
Aaron Albdght, a spokesman [or House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., said the
report raises concerns on Early Reading First’s effectiveness but that the commiltee will look at ways to improve the program.
And Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee also
said more needs to be done to strengthen the initiative.
°It’s clear that we need better training and interventions for teachers in the program, higher-quality suppod for those
children furthest behind, and new investments in the social and emolional skills so impodant to learning in the early years,’ he
said.
Private - Spe|!in~s, Mar~aret
From: Reich, Heidi
Sent: Tuesday, June 05, 2007 9:32 AM
To: Beaton, meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Bryant, Jessica; Cariel/o, Dennis; Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey;
Dorfmar}, Cynthia; Dunckel, Denise; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Gribble, Emily;
Halaska, Terrell; Herr, John; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela; MacGuidwin, Katie; Maddo×,
Lauren: Maguire, Tory; McGrath, John; McLane, Katherine; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar,
Doug; Moran, Robert; Mofffi, Jessica; Neale, Rebecca; Pitts, Elizabeth; Reich, Heidi;
Rosenfelt, Phil; Ruberg, Casey; Scheessele, Marc; Private - Spellings, Margaret; Tada,
Wendy; Talbed, Kent; Terrell, Julie; Toomey, Liam; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Williams, Cynthia;
Young, Tracy; Young, Tracy D. ; Yudof, Samara; Zeff, Ken
Subject: Early reading program gets mixed results (AP)

Early reading program gets mixed results


WASHINGTON (AP) -- A federal program desired to give preschoolers a boost in early reading got a mixed
report card Monday.
The Early Reading First Pro~mn h~ had a positive effect on children’s print and letter knowledge, according to
a report released by Ih¢ Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences.
But the study also found the pro~am has had no impact on phonological awareness, which includes rhyming, or
oral language, which includes vocabulary development. The program has led to more professional development
for teachers, according to the study.
Early Reading First was created as part of the 2002 No ChiId Left Behind education law. It is different from the
Reading First progam, which is aimed at older elementary-school children ,and has been criticized in federal
reports for conflicts of intea’est and mismanagement.
The No Child Left Behind law required the Education Department to conduct the study released Friday.
Early Reading First is a federal grant program aimed at low-income children ages 3 lo 5 years old. School
districts and other groups that run preschool progrmns can receive the grants. The gox,emment has made five
rounds of grams so far. The awards b_ave ranged ti-om $750,000 to $4.5 million per site for a three-year period.
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be publL~hed broadcasl,
rewritten or redistributed.
p_rivate___-.. SR_e._llings, Margaret ..........
From; Neale, Rebecca
Sent: Sunday, June 03, 2007 11:55 AM
To: Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Ken’i; Cariello, Dennis; Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Dunn, David;
Flowers, Sarah; Gribble, Emily; Halaska, Terrell; Herr, John; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angola;
Maddox, Lauren; Pdvate- Spellings, Margaret; McLane, Katherine; Mcnitt, Townsend L;
Neale, Rebecca; Pitts, Elizabeth; Reich, Held!; Rosenfelt, Phil; Ruberg, Casey: Scheessele,
Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; lerrell, Julia; Toomey, Liam; tracy_d.
_young@who.eop.gov; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Williams, Cynthia; Yudof, Samara
Subject: WEEKEND NEWS SUMMARY, 6.3.07

Attachments: 6.3. wknd news summary.doc

WEEKEND NEWS SUMMARY


June 3, 2007
1. Clarence Page: The president’s spin doctor for schools (DMN)
2. Partnering might help rural schools (CNO)
3. Why are so many students acing some SOL tests? (VP)
4, Does NCLB Create Unfair Playing Field?
5. Let children be children; Is your 5-year-old stressed out because so much is expected?

1. Clarence Page: The president’s spin doctor for schooJs


Spellings" role as a communicator often more important than her credentials as an educator
Dallas Morning News
June 2, 2007
It was the day before she would appear on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, whose host is a known libera! critic of the
Bush administration. But in an interview in her office, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings put a happy face on it.

"This completes my pop culture trifecta," she said.

Indeed, she recently attended a taping of American ldo! and last fall made history as the first silting Cabinet secretary to
appear on Jeopardy. She also became the first education secreta6f to lose on Jeopardy. She lost to actor Michael
McKean, best known as Lenny on the old Laverne and Shirley television show. The loss provided ample fodder for her
detractors_

Ms. Spellings says she agreed to do The Daily Show several monks ago at the urging of her two daughters. It just
happened to come at an awkward time for her department. Congress is investigating conflict-of-interest complaints
involving the federal student loan program and the Bush administration’s Reading First program.

You know those loans that students increasingly need in order to pay for college? When choosing a lender, many students
rely on the "preferred" status lisl offered by their college or university. Now federal and state regulators say some of the
lenders in 1he $85 billion industry earned their preferred status thanks to kickbacks that they offered to the schools.

Reading First, a key $1 billion-a-year reading program in President Bush’s 2002 No Child Left Behind education reform, is
alleged to have given preferential treatment to materials favored by top advisers who also had their own reading textbooks
or tests to sell. Much of this happened before Ms. Spellings took over in early 2005, but congressional critics are accusing
her of failing to take action to investigate and clear up the alleged conflicts.

Such a difference a Democratic-controlled Congress makes. Were it not for the Bush administration’~ bigger headline-
making headaches over the Bring of U.S. attorneys, Ms. Spellings’ department might well be getting a lot more attention
these days.

The irony of the Reading First controversy is that, regardless of the allegations, reading scores for students in the program
have dramatically improved. The percentage of first-graders who met or exceeded proficiency standards on reading
fluency grew from 43 percent to 57 percent in a study of 2004 to 2006, and third-graders who improved grew from 35
percent to 43 percent.
Ms_ Spellings’ role as a communicator- getting the information out about successes - actually is more important in many
ways than her credentials as an educator. She acknowledged in a congressional hearing that she lacks an education
degree. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science and journalism from lhe University of Houston, and her only
formal classroom experience was as an unce~tified substitute teacher in Texas.

But, as she showed in our interview and on The Dally Show. she speaks up fomefully for a large group that too often feels
shortchanged in school debates: the parents.

I laid on her my biggest complaint aboul standardized tests: Doesn’t every child learn differently?

"Yes, but I think sometimes that’s used as an excuse for masking underachievement."

Then she got personal: "1’11 tell you what, Clarence .... I’ve yet to meet a parent who didn’t want their kid to be reading at
anylhing less than grade level - this year! Not in 2014 [the goal year set by the administration for closing that academic
achievement gaps]. This year! And that’s not an unreasonable expectation for parents to have of their schools and their
kids."

Many parents have learned the hard way what President Bush means when he speaks of "the soft bigotry of low
expectations," especially l’or minority students. Many schools and teachers perform magnificently, but too often the system
rewards mediocre teachers and, in effect, punishes those who are willing to put extra effort into their job. The Bush
administration’s pay incentives for high-performing teachers and principals move in the right direction.

I’m still skeptical of emphasizing tests too much. But we all need to set goals in life, and we need good yardsticks for
progress. That’s as good a lesson as any for Margaret Spellings to teach. No joke,

Clarence Page is a Chicago Tribune columnist. His e-mail address is cpage@ tribune.com.

2, Partnering might help rural schools


Charlotte News & Obsenter
By Marti Maguire
June 2, 2007

U,S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings visited Cary Academy on Friday as part of a national tour leading up to the
expected reauthorization of the federal No Child Left Behind Act later this year. Here are excerpts of her interview with staff
writer Marti Maguire. To hear more, go online to www.newsobserver.com.
Q: What made you choose to come here, a private school?

A: [Cary Academy] is a true laboratory of innovation, particularly in the use of technology. They feet part of their mission is
to help develop practices that can be shared and used not only here but in the public sector as well ....These divisions
between private and public schools are really blurring.

Q: You spoke today with school officials about the importance of math, science, technology and engineering education.
But North Carolina schools are facing a severe shortage of qualified math and science teachers, particularly in more rural
areas. What can be done about that?

A: We can use technology, of course, to expand and broaden the flow of expertise so that a teacher here at Cary Academy
might be partnering with a rural school district and, through technology, getting additional teaching hetp more broadly
expanded. The other thing we can do is to start to use resources in our communities beyond just the traditional teaching
core. You have many fine universities in this state. Why don’t we find ways for those folks to come into our public schools?

Q: North Carolina students have shown essentially no improvement on state tests since the first year No Child Left Behind
act went into effect. How can NCLB deliver on its promise of closing the achievement gap?

A: One of the things that’s been so impodant about NCLB is that we have brought real data to bear about the status of our
schools. Who’s being left behind? Who isn’t? Where are the schools that are challenging what the president calls the "soft
bigotry of low expectations"? Going back to the ostrich approach of burying our heads in the sand, putting the money out
and hoping for the best is the wrong direction. Obviously, we need to pick up the pace. We need to confront those facts,
But when I look at the North Carolina data, in some very key ways, we are really making progress. We’re making progress
in the white-black achievement gap in reading in grades three and four and six and seven. North Carolina is one of the
~eaders on Advanced Placemenl, realty double the national average on the opportunity that kids have to take rigorous
coursework.

Q: I saw you on "Jeopardy!" when you bst to Michael McKean, the actor who played Lenny on "Laverne and Shirley."
A: That was his third time on the show, not to be bitter. And it’s all about the buzzer.

3. Why are so many students acing some SOL tests?


The Virginian-Pilot
June 3, 2007
By Amy Jetter
Lasl spdng, 50 third-graders took the history Standards of Learning exam at Norfolk’s Dreamkeepers Academy at J.J.
Roberts Elementary School.

More than half of them received a 600, the highest score possible.

Miles away in Chesapeake, the same thing happened at Southeastern Elementary School: 56 percent of the third-graders
aced the test. And across the state, 1 in 5 students did.

Perfect scores were far less common in other subjects, such as math and English. In science, fewer than 6 percent of
students taking the tests in the state earned the highest score.

Educators said students’ success in history showed how well Virginia’s standards are being taught and learned. Others
wondered whether the tests are too easy.

"The obvious question," said Steve Dunbar, an education professor at the University of Iowa, "is, Are kids in third grade in
Virginia really better in social studies than anything else?"

When the Standards of Learning exams were designed in the late 1990s, little thought was given to how many students
should be acing them.

In the traditional bell curve - what statisticians call a "normal distribution" of scores - most students would be in the middle
of the range. About 2.5 percent would receive the highest mark.

But Virginia’s standardized tests are not graded on a curve. They’re supposed to gauge how well students know the
Standards of Learning, and the hope is that as many students as t~ossible are proficient.

"The more kids who are getting the perfect score, the better," said Doris Redfield, an education consultant who headed the
Virginia Department of Education’s assessment and reporting division in the late 199Os.

Before the SOLs are given, a scale is set that links each possible number of correct answers to a score. The scale
changes slightly each year when I:est questions change.

A 600 means the student missed either zero, one or two questions, depending on the test. On the elementary science
tests last year, students needed to be perfect. On the history tests, they could miss one or two.

While 600s sound impressive, principals, administrators and state officials are most concerned with pass rates - the
percentage of students scoring 400 orabove. Pass rates are important in determining whether a school is accredited by
the state and whether it meets academic goals under the federal No Child Left Behind law.

The Virginia Department of Education doesn’t routinely report the actual scores received on the SOL tests. At the request
of The Virginian-Pilot, officials released the number of 600s on all SOL tests in 2005-06 and the scores of all lests taken by
third- and fifth-graders in South Hampton Roads.

Usually when a series of tests is developed, the scoring patterns tend to be the same from subject to subject, said the
University of Iowa’s Dunbar.

The number of Virginia students who passed history and science was similar, with the rates each at about 90 percent for
third-graders and at about 85 percent for fifth-graders.

But the difference in the number of perfect scores was much more pronounced. So was the variation in students scoring
"pesstadvanced" - a 500 or above. In third grade, 57 percent earned that score on history compared with 40 percent for
science; in fifth grade, it was 45 percent for history and 23 percent for science.

There are two disadvantages when lots of students earn the highest score on a test. Teachers can’t determine the finer
details or what students haven’t learned, and there’s no room left to improve.

"If you’re getting kids who are close to the ceiling or hitting the ceiling, they have nowhere to go," said Bruce Bracken, an
education professor at The College o! William and Mary.

Students haven’t always sailed through the SOL history exams.

In the early years, scores were so low in several grade levels that in 2001 the Virginia Board of Education took the unusual
step of lowering the number ef questions that students needed to answer correctly to pass some of the tests. That
included the fifth-grade exam.

"The one thing we’ve always heard is lhe history tests are too hard," said Charles Pyle, a spokesman for the Virginia
Department of Education.

The tesls were based on standards from 1995, which required elementary students to know the basics of economics,
geograph),, civics and history. Before, they had started out learning about family and community, then eased into state,
national and world history.

Teachers felt that the SOL tests covered too much ground in one year and that the standards were unclear.

When the state’s history and social science standards came up for a seven-year review in 2001, committees consisting
mostly of teachers recommended a rewdte of the curriculum. Among their suggestions: pare back the information covered.

By 2003-04, the entire test had been changed to meet those new standards.

Historically, scores have dropped in the first year or so of new or revised tests.

But that year, the percentage of perfect scores in third-grade history jumped to 16 percent from 2.6 percent. For fifth-
graders, the number increased to 9 percent from 2.4 percent.

State officials say that doesn’t mean the tests are too easy.

"There were some legitimate concerns that had to be addressed about the teachability of the standards," Pyle said. "Our
history and social studies teachers are finding that the 2001 standards are teachable. They’re rigorous, but they’re
teachable."

The new tests feature more clear-cut questions and more illustrations, some teachers said. The answer options for the
multiple-choice tests often include at least one that seems implausible.

Patty Costis, a teacher at Dreamkeepers, approved of the changes.

"The tests were meant to be broad strokes of the general knowledge instead of just these individual details," Costis said.
"Not, ’Do you remember a little, minute detail of first grade, second quarter?’"

Educators said the large number of high scores last year could be due to the age of the test.

"Once the test has been out for a while, you have years and years to perfect what you do- with the instruction, with the
strategies, just equipping the students with the knowledge," said Patricia S. Williams, principal of Westhaven Elementary in
Portsmouth.

At Dreamkeepers, Principal Doreatha White has score improvement down to a science-.-She identifies which concept
tripped up her students the most in each subject area and has her teachers include lessons on that concept every week.

In history, this yeaCs concept is geography. Maps of the world in glitter, paint and colored pencil line the hallways, and
students inside the classrooms constantly drill the names of oceans and continents.

"We don’t wait until January to start test preparation," White said. "We start in September."

In nine years, the elementary-leve! science SOL tests have never been significantly revised.

Elementary students don’t seem to have trouble passing the exams, yet the percentage of perfect scores statewide has
remained relatively low: 5.4 percent for third graders last year and 2.3 percent for fifth graders.
Why is it harder for students to ace this test?

It could be the type of questions. Science tends to require problem-solving rather than fact memorization.

In an example from last year’s exam, third-graders were given four pictures of animals on a seesaw and asked, "Which ol~
these shows that the toy cow is lighter than the toy horse?"

Fifth-graders were shown four pictures and asked which depicted the type of cloud that would most likely be seen during a
thunderstorm.

"They have to know the concept, and they have to be able to apply it," said Ashanda Bickham, a teacher at Norro]k’s
Chesterfield Academy of Math, Science and Technology. "It’s a higher level o1: thinking."

Some teachers, such as Bickham, must also figure out how to relay science concepts to students who have weak reading
skills.

She solved the problem by chucking the thick textbooks. Instead, she uses work sheets from a prepared curriculum to
help students create an "interactive notebook."

The children paste paragraphs and pictures into a spiral notebook in which they also write notes and draw pictures.
Bickham walks the students through the texts, asking increasingly difficull: questions.

Said fourth-grader Lytaja Brown, ’%ou get to draw what it’s about, and it stays in your head."

More hands-on activities and lessons that promote inquiry will help students improve in scienoe, said Paula Klonowski, a
science specialist with the Virginia Department of Education.

More time in class would also help, teachers say.

The most common complaint from elementary teachers is they don’t have enough time in their schedules to teach science
effectively, Klonowski said.

Costis, at Dreamkeepers Academy, said science lessolls require more supervision from teauhers and often can’t be
interrupted.

"To have enough time to set up and put down a full-blown science experiment," she said, "you’re kind of up a creek."

Additionally, teacher training programs sometimes give short shrift to science, said Veronica Haynes, Norfolk’s senior
coordinator for the subject.

"1 think they’re afraid of science," she said, "and all the hands-on that comes with doing science education."

Virginia’s standards in US. history and world history have been rated highly by the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, a
Washington think tank.

Standards aren’t necessarily linked to test scores, though. In Georgia, another state with solid ratings, 120,166 third-
graders took the state’s standardized social studies test last year, and just 43 received the highest mark.

Virginia has the chance to revise the history and social science guidelines - and possibly change the tests - this year, as
they come up for review again. The science standards, which also drew praise from the Fordham Foundation, are up for
review in 2010.

Pyle said the history and social science standards are unlikely to change a lot, given the overhaul in 2001.

Mark Emblidge, president of the state Board of Education, said scores are one of many factors considered when
standards are reviewed. Ultimately, he said, the goal is for all students to pass. But high achiever~ also should have
something substantial to strive for.

Despite the focus on pass rates, some educators are now encouraging students lo shoot for scores higher than 400.

One Southeastern Elementary teacher has a "500 club," and Costis tells her high-achieving students that "pass/advanced
is for sissies."
For 600 scores, some schools offer rewards including trophies, boomboxes and passes to Busch Gardens.

The ever-rising scores put increasing pressure on teachers and administrators, who are often expected to show
improvement each year. But parents and children say scoring a 600 is like racking up bonus points: good for bragging
rights but not much else.

"1 didn’t tell any of my friends," said Edward Grant, a Dreamkeepers fourth-grader who scored a 600 or~ the history test last
year. ’1 was just talking about it in my head. I was so happy."

4. Does NCLB Create Unfair Playing Field?


By Chris Gosier
Stamford Advocate
June 3, 2007

STAMFORD - Last week’s visit by federal Education Secretary Margaret Spellings drew new attention to an old, and
festering, issue: the evaluation of school districts based on a test some students have trouble reading.

The federal No Child Left Behind act requires testing or all students, including those who are still ]earning English, to hold
school districts accountable for students’ progress. It’s a sore spot for urban districts such as Stamford, which absorb a
of immigrants.

With the landmark education law up for reauthorization in Washington, Connecticut officials and educators are pressing for
changes to the testing rules, calling them unfair because of the sanctions the law places on districts that don’t measure up.

"The test results of these students have an impact on the schools’ ability to make adequate yearly progress (under No
Chifd Left Behind), so you want to make sure it’s done fairly, and it’s an accurate measure," said Bob Murphy, policy
director for the Connecticut Education Association, an organization representing teachers.

Stamford Schools Superintendent Joshua Starr said "it hurts our standings" and called it one of many problems with the
law.

Stamford’s immigranL students had varied reacLions to the Connecticut Academic Performance Test, used to measure
schools’ compliance with the law, a few weeks after taking the teet in early March.

Marco Bravo, a Stamford High School sophomore, immigrated 16 months ago from Mexico and understood about half the
words on lhe test, he said.

Another Stamford High sophomore, Karen Chaguay, said she understood most of it but thinks she failed the reading test.

"it’s frustrating, because you want to do well," said Karen, who came to the United States from Ecuador a little over a year
ago.

Dominican Republic native Eliana Lithgow, also of Stamford High, didn’t have much trouble. But she said she heard a
different story from other immigrant students.

"I heard them say it was really difficult to them," she said.

Some accommodations are provided. Some students, for instance, were allowed to use dictionaries that translated words
but did not give a definition. They also were given extra time to take the tests.

Stamford is a diverse district with an above-average number of students needing help with English.

Thirty-five percent or Stamford studenls spoke a language other than English at home in the 2005-06 school year,
compared with 13 percent statewide, state data show. Two thousand Stamford students -t~of about 15,000 -I~are classified
as English-language learners, said Judith Singer, research director for Stamford public schools.

When students fall short under federally required tests, schools must take corrective measures, such as allowing students
to transfer to better-performing schools within the district. Management changes also could be required.
Schools can fail federal standards because of the performance of English-language learners or other student subgroups.
Nearly all of Stamford’s public schools have fallen short to varying degrees under NCLB.

In Connecticut, high schoolers are tested on math, science, reading and writing under the Connecticut Academic
Performance Test; grade school and middle school students lake the Connecticut Mastery Test, with sections on math,
6
reading and writing.
Immigranl students have one school year before their scores must be reported to the federal government for evaluating
their schools. All must be initially assessed on their English skills, said "lom Murphy, spokesman for the Connecticut
Department of Education.

Spellings, appearing Tuesday in Stamford at a round-table discussion with business, educational and community leaders,
said the federal government offers help to states in testing Englishqanguage learners.

"There is flexibility there, and I would invite the good people of Connecticut to take us up on some of that," she said in an
interview.

More than 20 states have entered partnerships with the federal government that give them other options, she said, States
may use tests in. students’ native languages, or alternalive assessments such as work samples or portfolios.

State and local educators have other ideas. Murphy said it would be difficult for Connecticut *l~a small state with small
budgets, compared with other statesl~-l~to develop tests in all the languages spoken here. More than 140 languages are
spoken in Connecticut schools, he said.

"Certainly the preponderance of non-English-speaking students speak Spanish, but that is not the only large group,"
Murphy said.

Stamford students speak 57 languages. The top three are English, Haitian Creole and Spanish, but there are blocks of
students speaking other ~anguages. Polish is spoken by 202 students; 93 speak Albanian; 109 speak Russian; and 96
speak Bengali, district data shaw.

Murphy said the department favors giving districts three years, not just one, before they are evaluated on English-language
learners’ test results. Students need time -I~seven years, some research shows!~-~to acquire the more formal English
used in tests, and many have trouble learning English because they have limited skills in their native language, he said.

A U.S. Education Department offici~al disputed the idea of a three-year wait, saying it would defeat NCLB’s purpose of
making student achievement transparent.

"These students are in the country now. They’re part of the school system, and they have the ability to Iearn, and we
should use this data for better instruction," department spokesman Chad Colby said.

"The school district can learn from this data to improve instruction," he said.

He provided an editorial, written by Spellings, calling it a myth that most English-language learners are new arrivals to the
United States and are disadvantaged. Eighty percent have lived here at least five years, she wrote. Reading scores for
English-language learners nationally grew by 20 points from 2000 to 2005, she wrote.

Singer praised the law for displaying all students’ achievement levels and making sure they don’t fall through the cracks.
But she supported one change - letting English-language learners continue to be classified that way after meeting federal
standards. Students now leave that category once they are considered proficient.

With a change, she said, "the evaluation of that group would have half a chance to show progress and success."

5. Let children be children; Is your 5.year-old stressed out because so much is expected?
Penelope H. Bevan
June 3, 2007

I was watching one of my second-grade girls try unsuccessfully to tie her shoes the other day, and I thought, "This is a
person who is supposed to be learning plural possessives?" I think not.

We’ve just finished test time again in the schools of California. The mad frenzy of testing infects everyone from second
grade through high school. Because of the rigors and threats of No Child Left Behind, schools are desperate to increase
their scores. As the requiremer~ts become more stringent, we have completely lost sight of the children taking these tests.

For 30 years as a teacher of primanj kids, I have operated on the Any Fool Can See principle. And any fool can see that
the spread between what is developmentally appropriate for 7- and 8-year-old children and what is demanded of them on
these tests is widening. A lot of what used to be in the first-grade curriculum is now taught in kindergarten, Is your 5-year-
old stressed out? Perhaps this is why.
Primary-grade chitdren have only the most tenuous grasp on how the world works. Having been alive only seven or eight
years, they have not figured out that in California there is a definite wet and dry season, They live in high expectation that it
will snow in the Bay Area in the winter. They reasonably conclude, based on their limited experience with words, that a
thesaurus must be a dinosaur. When asked to name some of the planets after he heard the word Earth, one of my boys
confidently replied, "Mars, Saturn, Mercury, Jupiter and Canada!" to which a girl replied. "No, no, no, you gotta go way far
outer than that."

Research has shown that it takes approximately 24 repetitions of a new concept to imprint on a young brain. The
aforementioned plural possessives come up twice in the curriculum, yet they are supposed to know it when they see it.
This is folly.

Currently, 2 1/2 uninterrupted hours are supposed to be devoted 1~ language arts and reading every morning. I ask you,
what aduit could sustain an interest in one subject for that long? Yet the two reading series adopted by the state for
elementary" education require that much time be devoted to reading in the expectation that the scores will shoot up
eventually. Show me a 7-year-old who has that kind of concentration. Show me a 64-year-old teacher who has it. Not f.
The result of this has been a decline in math scores at our school, because ~he emphasis is on getting them to read and
there isn’t enough time to fit in a proper curriculum. Early math education should rely heavily on messing about with
concrete materials of measurements, mass, volume and length, and discovering basic principles through play.

There is no time for this. The teaching ol= art is all but a subversive activity. Teachers whisper, "I taught art today!" as if they
would be reported to the Reading Police for stealing time from the reading curriculum, which is what they did.

It is also First Communion time in second grade. Yes, I teach in a public school, but First Communion happens in second
grade, and it is a big deal, the subject of mucll discussion in the classroom. The children are excited.

A few months back one of my girls exclaimed, "Jeez, l have a lot I~ do after school today, Teacher. I gotta do my
homework, go to baseball practice and get baptized." I laughed to myself at the priorities of this little to-do list, so symbolic
ol= the life of one second-grader. But there was a much larger issue here. What is happening to their souls? You may ask,
what business it is of the schools what is happening to the souls of these little children?

f will tell you. Any foot can see that those setting the standards for testing of primary-grade children haven’t been around
any actual children in a long time. The difference belween what one can reasonably expect an 8-year-old to know and
what is merely a party trick grows exponentially on these state tests.

Meanwhile, children who know they are bright and can read well are proved wrong time and again because of the structure
of these tests. Teachers spend inordinate amounts of time trying to teach the children to be careful of the quirky tricks of
the tests when they should be simply teaching how to get on in the world.

Twenty years ago, I had a conferencewilh a parent, a Sikh, whose child was brilliant. I was prepared to show him all her
academic work, but he brushed it aside and said, "Yes, yes, I know she is quite smart, but I want to know how her soul is
developing."

The present emphasis on testing and lest scores is sucking the soul out of the primary school experience for both
teachers and children, So much time is spent on testing and measuring reading speed that the children are losing the joy
that comes but once in their lifetime, the happy messiness of paint, clay, Tinkertoys and jumping rope, the quiet discovery
of a shiny new book of interest to lhem, the wonders of a magnifying glass. The teachers around them, under constant
pressure to raise those test scores, radiate urgency and pressure. Their smiles are gdm. They are not enjoying their jobs.

Our children need parents and teachers who, like Hamlet, know a hawk from a hand saw, who know foolishness when
they see it and are strong enough to defend these small souls from the onslaught of escalating developmentally
inappropriate claptrap. The great unspoken secret of primary school is that a lot of what is going on is arrant nonsense,
and it’s getting worse. Any foot can see.

6.3. wknd news


summary.doe (SS...

Rebecca Neale
U.S. Department of Education
Deputy Press Secretary
Office. 9n~_~n.~.n.~~4
Cell: ~
rebecca.neale@ed.gov
WEEKEND NEWS SUMMARY
June 3, 2007

1. CIarence Page: The president’s spin doctor for schools 0)MN)


2. Partnering might help rural schools (CNO)
3. Why are so many stndents acing some SOL tests? (VP)
4. Does NCLB Create Unfair Playing Field?
5. Let children be children; Is your 5-year-old stressed out because so much is
expected?

1. Clarence Page: The president’s spin doctor for schools


Spellings’ role as a communicator often more important than her credentials as an
educator
Dallas Morning News
June 2, 2007

tt was the day before she would appear on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, M~ose host
is a known liberal critic of the Bush administration. But in an interview in her office,
Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings put a happy face on it.

"This completes my pop culture trifecta," she said.

Indeed, she recently attended a taping of Anaerican Idol and last fall made history as the
first sitting CaNnel secretm., to appear on Jeopardy. She also became the first education
secretary to lose on Jeopardy. She lost to actor Michael McKean, best know~ as Lenny
on the oId Laveme and Shirley television show. The loss provided ample fodder for her
detractors.

Ms. Spellings says she agreed to do The Daily Show several months ago at the urging of
her two daughters. It just happened to come at an awkward time for her department.
Congress is investigating conflict-of-interest complaints involving the !~deral student
loan program and the Bush administration’s Reading First program.

You know those loans ~ha~ students increasingly need in order to pay for college? When
choosing a lender, many students rely on the "preferred" status list oflbrcd by their
college or universiD’. Now federal mad state regulators say some of the lenders in the $85
bilIion indust~, earned their prefcn’ed status thanks to kickbacks that they offered to the
schools.

Reading First, a key $l billion-a-year reading program in President Bush’s 2002 No Child
Left Behind education reform, is alleged to have given preferential treatment to materials
favored by top advisers who also had their own reading textbooks or tests to sel!. Much
of this happened before Ms. Spellings took over in early 2005, but congressional critics
are accusing her of failing to take action to investigate and clear up lhe alleged conflicts.
Such a difference a Democratic-controlIed Congress makes. Were it not for the Bush
administration’s bigger headline-making headaches over the firing of U.S: attorneys, Ms.
Spellings’ department might well be getting a lot more attention these days.

The irony of the Reading First controversy is that, regardless of the allegalions, reading
scores for students in the program have dramatically improved. The percentage of first-
graders who met or exceeded proficiency standards on reading ttuency grew from 43
percent to 57 percent in a study of 2004 to 2006, and third-graders who improved grew
from 35 percent to 43 percent.

Ms. Spellings’ role as a communicator - getting the information out about successes -
actually is more important in mm~y ways than her credentials as an educator. She
acknowledged in a congressionaI hearing that she. lacks an education degree. She has a
bachelor’s degree in political science and journalism from the University of Houston, and
her only formal classroom experience was as an uncertified substitute teacher in Texas.

But, as she showed in our interview and on The Daily Show, she speaks up forcefully for
a large group that too often feels shortchanged in school debates: the parents.

I laid on her my biggest complaint about standardized tests: Doesn’t every child learn
differently?

"Yes, but I think sometimes that’s used as an excuse tbr masking underachievement."

Then she got personal: "I’ll tell you what, Clarence .... I’ve yet to meet a parem who didn’t
want their kid to be reading at anything less than grade level - this year! Not in 20t4 [the
goal year set by the administration for cloNng that academic achievement gaps]. This
year! And that’s not an unreasonable expectation for parents to have of their schools and
their kids."

Many parents have learned the hard way what President Bush means when he speaks of
"lhe sotl bigotry of low expectations," especially for minority students. Many schools mad
teachers perform magnifieenlty, but too often the system rewards mediocre leachers and,
in effect, punishes those who are willing to put extra effort into their job. The Bush
administration’s pay incentives for high-perforating teachers and principals move in the
right direction.

l’m still skeptical of emphaNzing tests too much. But we all need to set goals in life, and
we need good yardsticks for progress. That’s as good a lesson as any tbr Margare!
Spellings to teach. No joke.

Clarence Page is a Chicago -fribune columnisl. His e-mail address is cpage@


tribune.com.

2. Partnering might help rural schools


Charlotte News & Observer
By Marti Maguire
June 2, 2007

U.S. Secretary. of Education Margaret Spellings visited Car3..’ Academy on Friday as part
of a national tour leading up to the expected reauthorization of the federal No Child Left
Behind Act later this year. IIere are excerpts of her interview with staff writer Marti
Maguire. To hear more, go ratline to www.newsobserve~.com.
Q: What made you choose to come here, a private school?

A: [Cm3’ Academy] is a true labgratory of innovation, particularly in the use of


technology. They feel part of their mission is to help develop practices that can be shared
and used not only he, e but ia the public sector as well ....
These divisions between private
and public schools are redly’ blurring.

Q: You spoke today wilh school officials about the importm~ce of math, science,
leclmology mid engineering education. But North Carolina schools are facing a severe
shortage of qualified math mad science teachers, particularly in more rural areas. What
can be done about that?

A: We can use tec.lmology, of course, to expand and broaden the flow of experlise so that
a teacher here at Cary Academy might be partnering with a rural school district and,
through technology, getting additional teaching help more broadly expanded. The other
thing we can do is to start to use resources in our communities beyond just the traditional
teaching core. You have many fine universities in this state. Why don’t we find ways for
those folks to come into our public schools?

Q: North Carolina students have shown essentially no improvement on state tests since
the first year No Child Left Behind act went into effect. How can NCLB deliver on its
promise of closing the adaievemenl gap?

A: One of the things that’s been so important about NCLB is that we have brought red
data to bear about the status of our schools. Who’s being left behind? Who isn’t? Where
are the schools that are challenging what the president calls the "soft bigotry of low
expectations"? Going back to the ostrich approach of buoing our heads in the sand,
putting the money oat and hoping for the best is the wrong direction. Obviously, we need
to pick up the pace. We need to confront those facts. But when I look at the North
Carolina data., in some ",,cry key ways, we are really making progress. We’re making
progress in the white-black achievement gap in reading in grades three and four and six
and seven. North Carolina is one of the leaders on Advanced Placement, really double the
national average on the opportunity" that kids have to take rigorous coursewoa’k.

Q: I saw you on "Jeopardy[" when you Ios1 to Michael MeKcan, the actor who played
Letmy on "Laveme and Shirley."

A: That was his tl~ird time on the show, not to be bitter, kind it’s all about the buzzer.
3. Why are so man)’ students acing some SOL tests?
The Virginian-Pilot
June 3, 2007
By Amy Jetler

Last spring, 50 third-graders took the history Standards of Learning exam at Norfolk’s
Dreamkeepers Academy at J.J. Roberts Elementary School.

More than half of them received a 600, the highest score possible,

Miles away in Chesapeake, the same thing happeaaed at Southeastern Elementary School:
56 percent of the third-graders aced the test. And across the state, 1 in 5 students did.

Perfect scores were I~ar less common in other subjects, such as mafia and English. In
science, fewer thm~ 6 percent of students taking the tests in the state earned the highest
score.

Educators said students’ success in history showed how well Virginia’s standards are
being taught and learned. Others wondered whether the tests are too easy.

"The obvious question," said Steve Dunbar, an education protEssor at the UniveJ’sity of
lowa, "is, Are kids in third grade in Virginia really better in social studies than anything
else?"

When the Standards of Learning exams ~vere designed in the late 1990s, little thought
was given to how many students should be acing them.

In the traditional bell cur~’e - what statisticians call a "normal distribution" of scores -
most students would be in the middle of the range. About 2.5 percent would receive the
highest mark.

But Virginia’s standardized tests axe not graded on a cm’e. They’re supposed to gauge
how well students know the Standm’ds of Learning, and the lmpe is that as many students
as possible are proficient.

"The more kids who are getting the perfect score, the better," said Doris Redfield, an
education eonm~ltant who headed the Virginia Department of Education’s assessment and
reporting division in the late ] 990s.

Before the SOI.s are given, a scale is set thal links each possible number of correct
answers to a score. The scale changes slightly each year when test questions change,

A 600 means the student missed either zero, one or two questions, depending on the test.
On the elemental" science tests last year, students needed to be perfect. On the histoD’
tests, they could miss one or two.
While 600s sound impressive, principals, administrators and state officials are most
concerned with pass rates - the percemage of students scoring 400 or above. Pass rates
are important in determining whether a school is accredited by the state and whether it
meels academic goals under the fedeial No Child Left Behind law.

The Virginia Department of Education doesn’t routinely report the actual scores received
on the SOL tests. At the request of The Virginian-Pilot, officiaIs released the number of
600s on all SOL tests in 2005-06 and the scores of all tests taken by third- and fifth-
graders in South Hampton Roads.

Usually when a series of tests is developed~ the scoring patterns tend to be the same from
subject to subject, said the University of Iowa’s Dunbar.

The number of Virginia ~tudents who passed history and science was similar, with the
rates each at about 90 percent for third-graders and a~ abo~t 85 percent for fifth-~nders.

But the difference in the number of perker sco,es was much more pronotmced. So was
the variation in students scoring "pass/advanced" - a 500 m above. In thi,d grade, 57
percent earned that score on history compared with 40 percent for science; in fifth grade,
it xvas 45 percent for history and 23 percent for science.

There are two disadvantages when lois of students earn the highest score on a lest.
Teachers can’t determine the finer details of what students haven’t learned, and there’s no
room left to improve.

"If you’re getling kids who are close to the ceiling or hitting the ceiling, they ha~¢e
nowhere to go," said Bruce Bracken, an education professor at The College of Willi,’m~
and Mar),.

Students haven’l always sailed through the SOL history, exams.

In the early years, scores were so low in several grade levels that in 2001 the Virginia
Board of Education took the unusual step of lowering the number of questions that
smdenls needed to answer correctly to pass some of the tests. That included the fifth-
grade exam.

"The one thing we’ve "always heard is the histor)’ tesls are too hard," said Charles Pyte, a
spokesman for the Virginia Department of Education.

The tests were based on standards from 1995, which required elementary studenls to
know the basics of economics, geography, civics and history. Before, they had started out
learning about family and community, then eased into state, national and world history.
Teachers tElt that the SOL tests covered too much gromad in one year ,’rod thal the
standards were unclear.

When the stae’s histo~- and social science standm’ds came np for a seven-year review in
200 I, committees consisting mostly of teachers recommended a revwite of the
cunieulum. Amortg their suggestions: pm’e back the information covered,

By 2003-04, the entire test had been changed to meet those new standards.

Historically, scores have dropped in the first year or so of~tew or revised tests.

But that year, the percentage of perfect Scoles in third-grade hislory jtm~ped to 16 percent
from 2.6 percent. For fifth-graders, the nnmber increased to 9 percent from 2.4 percent.

State officials say that d0esffl mean the tests are too easy.

"Thexe were some legitimate concerns thai had to be addressed about the teachability of
the standards," Pyle said. "Our histo~’ and social studies teachers are finding that the
2001 standards are teachable. They’re rigorous, but they’re teachable."

The new tests feature more clear-cut questions and more illustralions, some teachers said,
The answer options for the multiple-choice tests often inck~de at least one that seems
implausible.

Patty Costis, a teacher at Dreamkeepcrs, approved of the changes.

"The tests were meant to be broad strokes of the general knowledge instead ofjus~ these
individual details," Cc~stis said. "Not, ’Do you remember a little, minute detail of first
grade, second quarter?’ "

Educators said the large numbe~" of high scores last year could be due to the age of the
test,

"Once the test has been out for a while, you have years and years to perfect what you do -
with the instruction, with the strategies, just equipping the students with the knowledge,"
said Patricia S. Williams, pri~cipal of Westhaven Elementary-in Portsmouth.

At Dmamkeepers, Principal Doreatha White has s:ore improvement down lo a science.


She identifies which concept tripped up her students the most in each subject area and has
her teachers inclnde lessons on ~ha! concept every week.

In histo~’, this year’s concept is geography. Maps of the world in glitter, paint m~d
colored pencil line the hallways, and students inside the classrooms constantly drill the
names of oceans and continents.
"We don’t wait until January to start test preparation," White said. "We start in
September."

In nine years, the clementaiT-level science SOL tests have never been significantly
revised.

Elementary students don’t seem to have trouble passing the cxmns, yet the percentage of
perfect scores statewide has remained relatively low: 5,4 percent for third graders last
year and 2.3 percent for fifth graders.

Why is it harder for students to ace this test?

It could be the type of questions. Science tends to reqlfire problem-solving rather than
fact memorization.

In an example from last year’s exam, third-graders were given four pictures of animals on
a seesaw and asked, "Which of these shows that the toy cow is lighter than the toy
horse?"

Fifth-graders were shown four pictures and asked which depicted the lype of cloud that
would most likely be seen during a ~hundexstonn.

"They have to know ~he concept, and they have to be able to apply it," said Ashanda
Bick.harn, a teacher at Norfolk’s Chesterfield Academy of Math, Science and Technology.
"It’s a higher level of thinking."

Some teachers, such as Bickham, must also figure otR how tO r¢|ay science concepts to
students who have weak reading skills.

She solved the problem by chucking the thick textbooks. Instcad, she uses work sheets
from a prepared curriculum to help students create an "interactive notebook."

The children paste paragraphs and pictures into a spiral nolebook in which they also write
notes and draw pictures. Bic "kham walks the students through the texts, asking
increasin~y difficult questions.

Said fourth-grader Lytaja Brovm, "You get to draw what it’s about, and it stays in your
head."

More hands-on activities and lessom that promote inquiry will help students improve in
science, said Paula Klonowski, a science specialist with the Virginia Department of
Education.

More time in class would also help, leachers say.


The most common complaint ~tYom etememary teachers is they don’t have eno,agh time in
their schedules to teach science effectively, Klonowski said.

Costis, at Dreamkeepers Academy, said science lessons require more supervision from
teachers and often can’t be interrupled.

"To have enough time to set up and put down a full-blown science experiment," she said,
"you’re kind of up a creek."

Additionally, teacher training programs sometimes give short shrilt to science, said
Veronica Haynes, Norfolk’s senior coordinator for the subject.

"I think they’re afraid of science," she said, "and all the hands-on that comes with doing
science education."

Virginia’s standards in U.S. histoD" and world history have been rated highly by the
Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, a Washington think lank.

Standards aren’t necessarily linked to test scores, though. In Oeorgia, another state with
solid ratings, 120,166 third-graders took the state’s standardized social studies test last
year,, and just 43 received the highest mark.

Virginia has the chance to revise the history and social science guidelines - and possibly
change the tests - this year, as they come up for review again. The science standards,
which also drew praise from the Fordham Foundation, are up for review in 2010.

Pyle said the history., and social science standards are unlikeIy to change a lot, given lhe
overhaul in 2001.

Mark Emblidge, president of lhe state Bom’d of Education, said scores are one of many
factors considered when standards are reviewed. Ullimately,. lm said, the goal is tbr all
studenls to pass. But I~igh achievers also should have something substantial to strive tbr.

Despite the focus on pass rates, some educators am now encouraging students to shoot
for scores higher than 400.

One Southeastern Elementary teacher has a "500 club," and Costis tells her high-
achieving students that "pass/advanced is tbr sissies."

For 600 scores, some schools offer rewards including trophies, boomboxes and passes to
Busch Gardens.

The ever-rising scores put increasing pressure on leather’s and administrators, who are
often expected to show improvement each year. But parents and children say scoring a
600 is like racking up bonus points: good lbr bragging righ*s bnt not much else.
"I didn’t tell any of my friends," said Edward Grant, a Drean&eepers tburth-~ader
scoa’ed a 600 on the history test last year. "I was just talking about it in nay head. I was so
happy."

4. Does NCILB Create Unfair Playing Field?


By Chris Gosier
Stamford Advocate
June 3, 2007

STAMFORD - Last week’s ~’isit by t)deral Educatiort Secretary Margaret Spellings drew
new atlenlion to an old, and festering, issue: the evaluation of school distriels based on a
test some students have trouble reading.

The federal No Child Left Behind act requires testing of all students, including those who
are still learning English, to hold school districts accountable for students’ progress. It’s a
sore spot for urban districts such as Stamford, which absorb a lot of immigrants.

Wi~h the landmark education law up for reanthorization in Washin~on, Connecticut


officials and educators are pressing for changes to the ~esting rules, calling them unfair
because of the sanctions the law- places on districts that don’t measure up.

"The test results of these students have an impact on the schools’ ability to make adequate
yearly progress (under No Child Left Beh.ind), so you ,,,.,ant to make sure it’s done faMy,
and it’s an accurate measure," said Bob Murphy, policy director for the Connecticut
Education Association, an organization representing ~eaehers.

Stamford Schools Superintendent Joshua Start said "it hurts our standings" and called it
one of many problems with the law.

Stamford’s immigrant students had varied reactions to the Connecticut Academic


Performance Test, used to measure schools’ compliance with the law, a few weeks after
taking the test in early March.

Marco Bravo, a Stamford High School sophomore,, immigrated 16 months ago from
Mexico and understood about half the words on the test, he said.

Another Stamford High sophomore, Karcn Chaguay, said she undersiood most of it but
thinks she fared the reading test.

"It’s ti-ustrating, because you want to do well," said Karen, who came to the United States
from Ecuador a little o~,er a year ago.

Dominican Republic ~ative Eliana Lithgow, also of Stamford l?tigh, didn’t have much
trouble. But she said she heard a different story from other inm~igrant students.
"I heard them say it was really difficult to them," she said.

Some accommodations are provided. Some students, for instance, were allowed to use
dictionaries that translated words but did not give a definition. They also were given extra
time to take the tests.

Stamford is a diverse district with an above-average number of students needing help


with English.

Thirty-five percent of Stamford students s~poke a language other lhan English at home in
the 2005-06 school year, compared with t 3 percent statewide, state data show. Two
thousand Slam ford students -Eof about 15,000 -gare classified as English-language
learners, said Judith Singer, research director for Stmnford public schools.

When studenls fall short under federally required tests, schools must take corrective
measu.res, such as allowing students to transfer to better-performing schools within the
district. Management changes also could be required.

Schools can fail federal standards because of the performance of English-language


learners or other student subgroups. Nearly al! of Stamford’s public schools have fallen
short to varying degrees under NCLB.

In Connecticut, high schoolers are tested on math, science, reading and writing trader the
Com~ecticut Academic Performance Test; grade school and middle school students take
the Commcticut Mastery" Test, with sections on math, reading and writing.

Immigrant students have one school year before their scores must be reported to the
t?deral government for evaluating their schools. All must be initially assessed on their
English skills, said Tom Murphy, spokesman for the Connecticut Department of
Education.

Spellings, appearing Tuesday, in Stamford at a round-table discussion wilh business,


educational and community leaders: said the fedemt govermnent offers help to states in
testing English-language learners.

"There is flexibility there, m~d I would invite the good people of Connecticut to take us
up on some of that," she said in an inter~,iew,

More than 20 states have entered partnerships with the tbderal government that give them
other options, she said. States may use tests in students’ native languages, or alternative
assessments such as work samples or portfolios.

State and local educators have other ideas. Mttrphy said it would be difficult for
Connecticut -t~a small state with small budgets, compared with other statesi~-t~to develop
tests in all the languages spoken here. More than 140 languages are spoken in
Connecticut schools, he said.
"Certainly the preponderance of non-English-speaking students speak Sp~isb, but that is
not the only large group," Murphy said.

Stml]ford students speak 57 languages. The top three are English, 11aitian Creole arid
Spanish, but there are blocks of students speaking other langnmges. Polish is spoken by
202 students; 93 speak Albanian; 109 speak Russian; and 96 speak Bengali, district data
show.

Murphy said the department lhvors giving districts three years, not just one, before they
are evaluated on English-lan~gu, age learners’ test results. Students need time -l~.seven
years, some research showsE-Eto acquire the more tbrmal English used in tests, and
many have trouble learning English because they have limited skills in fl~eir native
language, he said.

A U.S. Education Depa_rtment official disputed the idea of a three-year wait, saying it
would defeat NCLB’s purpose of making student achievement transparent.

"These students a~e in the country now. "l;hey’re part of the school system, and they have
the ability to learn, and we should use this data for better instruction," depmvtment
spokesman Chad Colby said.

"The school district can learn from this data to improve insmmtion," he said.

He provided an edi,orial, ~,~vitten by Spellings, calling it a myth that most English-


language learners are new arrivals to the United States and are disadvantaged. Eighty
percent ha-re lived here at least five years, she w~ote. Reading scores for English-
language learners nationally ~ew by 20 points from 2000 to 2005, she wrote.

Singer praised the law for displaying all students’ achievement levels and making sure
they don’t fall through the cracks. But she supported one change - letting English-
lm~guage learners continue to be classified that way afte~ meeting t}deral standards.
Students now leave that category once they are considered proficient.

With a change, she said, "the evaluation of that group would bare half a chance to show
progress and success."

5. Let children be children; Is your 5-year-old stressed out because so much is


expected?
Penelope H. Bevan
June 3, 2007

I was watching one of my second-grade girls try unsuccessfully to tie her shoes the other
day, and I thought, "This is a person who is supposed to be learning plural possessives?" ]
think not.
We’ve just finished test time again in the schools of California. l-he mad t~enzy of ~osting
infects everyone fiom second grade through lfigh school. Because of the rigors and
tt~reats of No Child Left Behind, schools are despexate to increase their scores. As the
requirements become more stringent, we have completely Io~ sight of the children taking
these tests.

For 30 years as a teacher of primary kids, 1 have operated on the Any Fool Can See
principle. And any fool can see that the spread between what is developmentally
appropriate for 7- and 8-year-old children and what is demanded of them on these tests is
widening, A lot of what used to be in the first-grade curriculum is now taught in
kindergarten. Is your 5-year-old strewed out? Perhaps this is why.

Primary-grade children have only the most tenuous grasp on how the world works.
ttaving been alive only seven or eight years, they have not figured out that in California
lhere is a definite wet and dry season. They live in high expectation that it M]I snow in
lhe Bay Area in the winter. They reasonably conclude, based on their limited experience
~dth words, tl~at a thesaunls must be a dinosaur. When asked to name some of the planets
after he heard the word Earth, one of my boys confidently replied, "Mars, Saturn,
Mercury, Jupiter m~d Canada!" to which a girl replied, "No, no, no, you gotla go way far
outer than thatY

Research has shown that it takes approximately 24 repetitions of a new concept to imprint
on a young brain. The aforementioned plural possessives cr)me up twice in ~he
curricutumo yet they axe supposed to know it when they see it. -fhis is folly.

Currently, 2 1/2 unintem~pted hours are supposed to be devoted to language arts and
reading every morning. I ask yoga, what adult could sustain an interest in one subject for
that long? Yet the two reading series adopted by the state for elementary education
require that much time be devoted to reading in the expectation that the scores will shoot
up eventually. Show me a 7-year-old who has that kind of concentration. Show me a 64-
year-old teacher who has it. Not L

The restflt &this has been a decline in malh scores at our school, because the emphasis is
on getting then~ to read and there isn’t enotlgh time to fit in a proper curriculum. Early
math education should rely heavily on messing about with concrete materials of
measurements, mass, volume and length, and discovering basic principles through play.

There is no time tbr this. The teaching of art is all but a subversive activity. Teachers
whisper, "t taught art today!" as if they would be reported to the Reading Police for
stealing ti~ne from the reading cum’culum, which is what they did.

II is also First Communion time in second grade. Yes, t teact~ in a public school but First
Communion happens in second grade, and it is a big deal. the subject of much discussion
in the classroom. lhe children are excited.
A few months back one of my girls exclaimed, "Jeez, 1 have a lot to do after school
today, Teacher. 1 gotta do my homework, go to baseball practice and get baptized." I
laughed to myself at the priorities of this little to-do list, so symbolic of the life of one
second-grader. But there was a much larger issue here. What is happening to their souls?
You may ask, what business it is of fine schools what is happening to the so, Is of these
little children?

I will tell you. Any fool can see that those setting lhe standards for testing ofprimary-
gade children haven’t been around any actual children in a long time. The difference
between what one can reasonabIy expect an 8-yeaT-otd to know and what is merely a
party trick grows exponentially on these state tests.

Meanwhile, children who -know they are bright and can read well are proved w~-ong time
and again because of the structure of fl~ese |ests. Teachers spend inordinate amounts of
time trying to teach the children to be careN1 of the quirky tricks of the tests when fl~ey
should be simply ~eaching how to get on in the world.

Twenty years ago, I had a conference with a parent, a Sikh, whose child was brillimat, t
was prepared to show him "011 her academic work, but he brushed it aside and said, "Yes,
yes, I know she is quite smart, bu1 1 want to haow how her soul is rex, eloping."

The present emphasis on lesting and test scores is sucking the soul out of the primary
school experience for both teachers and children. So much time is spent on testing and
measuring reading speed that the children are losing the joy that comes but unce in their
lifetime, the happy messiness of paint, clay, Tinker~oys and jumping rope, the quiel
discovery’ of a shiny new book of interest to them, the wonders of a magnifying glass.
The teachers around them, under constant pressure to raise those test scores, radiate
urgency and pressure. Their smiles are grim. They are not enjoying their jobs.

Our childrcrt need parents and teachers who, like tlamlet, know a hawk from a hand saw,
who know foolishness when they see it and are strong enough to defend these small souls
from the onslaught of escalating developmentally inappropriate claptrap. "!he great
unspoken secret of primary school is that a lot of what is going on is arrant nonsense, and
it’s getting worse. ,4my fool can see.
.pri__vate. Spellin~ls, Margaret
From: Reich. Heidi
Sent: Friday, May 25, 2007 9:58 AM
To: Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Bryan~, Jessica; Cariello, Dennis; Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey;
Dorfman, Cynthia; Dunckel, Denise; Dunn, David; Evers, 8i11; Flowers, Sarah; Gribble, Emily;
Halaska, Terrell; Herr, John; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angola; MacGuidwin, Katie; Maddox,
Lauren; Maguire, Tory; McGrath, John; McLane, Katherine; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar,
Doug; Moran, Robert; Merit1, Jessica; Neale, Rebecca; Pil:ts, Elizabeth; Reich, Heidi;
Rosenfelt, Phil; Ruberg, Casey; Scheessele, Marc; Private - Spellings, Margaret; Tada,
Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Terrell, Julie; Toomey, Liam; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Williams, Cynthia;
Young, Tracy; Young, Tracy D. ; Yudof, Samara; Zeff, Ken
Subject: Spellings On Stewart

"But, they should send her out to big-time TV more, would help their ease."
eduwonk.com
Thm’sday, May 24, 2007
SpelIings On Stewart

You can w~tch it here <http://www.comed)’central.com/shows/the daily show/index.jhtmt> or below.


ARerwards Spellings described Stewart by saying, "he’s adorable." Turns out Stewart’s morn was a school
superintendent...leading to some serious questions,

Punchline? She did fine. Didn’t try to "out fanny" Stewart, looked good, and came offweI1, pragmatic and not
ideological. But, no home-nms so Sallie Mac, Reading First, etc._still out there in the same way when she left
the studio as they were when she walkcd in. And this was lower-risk than Jeopardy. So overall effect, negligible.
Bu1~ they should send her out to big-time TV more, would help their case.
_~...r.ivate - Spellin~ts, Mar~laret
From: Reich, Heidi
Sent: Friday, May 25, 2007 9:10AM
To: Beaten, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Bryant, Jessica; Cariello, Dennis; Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey;
Dorfman, Cynthia; Dunckel, Denise; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Gribble, Emily;
Hataska, Terrell; Herr, John; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angola; MacGuidwin, Katie; Maddox,
Lauren; Maguire, Tory; McGrath, John; McLane, Katherine; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar,
Doug; Moran, Robert; Morffi., Jessica; Neale, Rebecca; Pitts, Elizabeth; Reich, Heidi;
Resenfelt~ Phil; Ruberg, Casey; Scheessele, Marc; Private - Spellings, Margaret; Tada,
Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Terrell, Julie; Toorney, Liam; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Williams, Cynthia;
Young, Tracy; Young, Tracy D. ; Yudof, Samara; Zeff, Ken
Subject: Reading First shadow falls on ed research (Education Daily)

Reading First shadow falls on ed research (Education Daily)


By Sarah D. Sparks
Education Daily, May 25, 2007
1he controversy surrounding Reading First, NCLB’s reading pro~lram, could cast a long shadow over how education
research can and should influence education policy. The fight over which criteria were used to approve reading programs under
the billion- dollar grants has spawned allegations of conflicts of interest for four current and former ED research directors. The
accusations have also raised doubts about the Education Department’s monitoring ability in the middle of NCLB reauthorization
negotiations.
Yet even as some lawmakers call for limits to EDs role in setting parameters for Reading Firstcurriculurns, one of the
program’s chief designers argues its problems come from not being descriptive enough for state and district policymakers.
"Teachers make as many decisions as an air tra~c controller per day. Complexity is tough Io sell," said Reid Lyon,
executive vice president for research at Higher Ed Holdings.
"The anti-scientific culture is one where our practices have been driven by tradition and untested belief,~ said Lyon, who
was former chief d the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, which developed much of the lileracy
research that f~rmed the basis of the program.
If education research is ever to gain respect and influence among policymakers and practitioners, he said, it must begin to
move away from simplistic overviews of problems and give adrninislrators help in understanding their nuances.
Reading First evolved out of three decades of work from NICHHD and ED on literacy interventions.
When GOP Reps. Bill Goodling, Pa., and Mike Castle, Del., and Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., first took up the program
in the lale 1990s, the granl proposal contained language that required federal money only be spent on a program proven
effective for the situation.
°You can screw research up b~, picking the wrong method or design, or by the interprelation, but the big screw-up is asking
the wrong question," Lyon said. "The queslion was not, ’Is phonics or whole language more beneficial for children?’ It was,
’Which method is better for which kids at which stage of developmenl under which teachers?’" Many details related to the
science of literacy, including the effectiveness requirement, got dropped from [he final language el: NCLB. The details were
replaced with language that required programs be based on scientific research.
"We knew when we watered the language down in Reading First that we were going to have problems," Lyon said. "A
couple of us looked at each other and sai~ this is going to be a nightmare.
You have a very nebulous criteria and.., in six months, everyone will be ’evidence based.’" Lyon and James Kim, assistant
education professor at Harvard University, suggested educators, researchers and policyrnakers should craft program criteria
more cooperatively in future iteratio~s of Reading First and other prograrns. Moreover, the federal government should encourage
researchers on apposite sides or a research debate to develop programs cooperatively.
Doing so, Kim argued, would creale more nuanced criteria, but would also give the resulting programs more support from a
variely of stakeholders.
"1I the reading wars were parlly driven by debates over political power, we need to build support and legitimacy of
researchers engaged in politicized debates," Kim said.
Private - Spellin,~Is, Mar~laret
Reich, Heidi
Sent; Thursday, May 24, 2007 8:59 AM
Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Bryant, Jessica; Cariello, Dennis; Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey;
Dunn, David; Evers, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Gribble, Emily; Halaska, TerreII; Herr, John;
Kuzmich, Holly; Lande~s, Angela; MacGuidwin, Katie; Maddo×, Lauren; Maguire, Tory;
McGrath, John; McLane, Katherine; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Mesecar, Doug; Moran, Robert;
Morffi, Jessica; Neale, Rebecca; Pills, E}izabeth; Reich, Heidi; Rosenfelt, Phil; Ruberg, Casey;
Scheessele, Marc; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Terrelt, Julie; Toomey, Liam; Tucker, Sara
Martinez; Williams. Cynthia; Young, Tracy; Young, Tracy D. ; Yudof, Samara; Zeff, Ken;
Landers, Angola; Evers, Bill; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dorfman, Cynthia; Mesecar,
Doug; Dunckel, Denise; Pitts, Elizabeth; McGrath, John; Tafbert, Kent; Bdggs, Kerri; Toomey,
Liam; Scheessele, Marc; Private - Spellings, Margaret; Beal~on, Meredith; Tucker, Sara
Mattinez; Halaska, Terrell
Subject: Congress Contemplates Importance Of Early Childhood Ed (Education Daily)

Congress Contemplates Importance Of Early Childhood Ed (Education Daily)


House Speaker pushes for policies that cater to the nation’s youngest people
By Kds Kitto
Education Daily, May 24, 2007
House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., says early childhood education is a top policy priority.
At Tuesday’s National Summit on America’s Children, Pelosi called on Congress to recognize the connection between early
development and adult success and update its policies accordingly.
The summit, co-chaired by Reps. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., and George Miller, D-Calif., brought
together experts who offered arguments for eady childhood education from a variety of angles, including scientific evidence,
social benefits and economic payoffs.
Many experts and policymakers agreed that early childhood education is now garnering enough attention to upgrade the
federal government’s commitment.
"It’s pa~t of the continuum," said Miller, the chairman of the Education and Labor Committee, alter affirming that early
childhood education will have an important place in the upcoming NCLB reauthorization. "Focusing on children, padiculady at an
early age, is not only the right thing to do, it is also the smart thing to do for our country and our economy."
He added Congress can play a role by ensuring pre-kindergarten programs’ quality, something experts have said varies
widely across the country.
In fact, pre-K program quality is so crucial that programs with "less-skilled staff are a waste of time," said Dr. Jack Shonkoff,
a child health professor at Harvard University. He and other experts expressed extreme concern over the dearth of highly skilled
educators specializing in eady childhood, a time of unrivaled growth in learning and cognitive developrnent.
"By the time public education begins at age five, substantial brain development has already occurred," and critical learning
opportunities have already passed, Shonkolf said. ]-he role of Congress should be to =invest as eady as possible" in the children
with the lowest chances of receiving the appropriate developmental opportunities during their first five years, he said.
The cost of ignoring such advice is high, said James Heckman, an economics p~ofessor at the University of Chicago.
Iiol only has research shown that eady chiklhood education can help reduce social problems like crime an~! teen
pregnancy, but it can also produce people more likely to continue on to higher education and contribute more to the economy, he
said.
;’From a pure cost-effectiveness ground, you’ll find that there’s a compelling argument for early education," Heckman said.
Miller and Rep. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, one of Congress’ biggest early childhood advocales, both said a new NCLB could
encompass teacher quality and [raining at the pre-kindergarten level.
The Head Start program, the federal government’s biggest exclusive investment in early childhood education, selxes only a
fraclion of eligible children, according to several sources. Congress has taken up an effod to improve the program (see table
above).
An Education Department spokeswoman pointed to the Early Reading First program as a complemenl to Head Start,
though President Bush’s 2008 budget proposal requested only $117 million for lhe early childhood literacy initiative, a fraction of
Head StaR’s annual $7 billion budget.
Private - SP.=e!!_ings, Margaret
From: Reich, Heidi
Sent: Wednesday, May 23, 2007 9:13 AM
To: Beaten, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Bryant, Jessica; Cadello, Dennis; Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey;
Dunn, David; Evers, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Gribble, Emily; Hataska, l-errell; Herr, John;
Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela; MacGuidwin, Katie; Maddox, Lauren; Maguire, Tory;
McGrath, John; McLane, Katherine; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Mesecar, D.oug; Moran, Robert;
Morffi, Jessica; Neale, Rebecca; PiEs, Elizabeth; Reich, Heidi; Rosenfelt, Phil; Ruberg, Casey;
Scheessele, Marc; Tad& Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Terrell, Julie; Toomey, Liam; Tucker, Sara
Martinez; Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy; Young, Tracy D. ; Yudof, Samara; Zeff, Ken;
Landers, Angola; Evers, Bill; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dorfman, Cynthia; Mesecar,
Doug; Dunckel, Denise; Pitts, Elizabeth; McGrath, John; Talbert, Kent; Briggs, Kerri; Toomey,
Liarn; Scheessele, Marc; Private - Spellings, Margaret; Benton, Meredith; Tucker, Sara
Marlinez; Halaska, Terrell
Subject: Test Gains Reigniting Old Debate (EDWEEK)

Test Gains Reigniting Old Debate (EDWEEK)


By Sean Cavanagh
Educatbn W_e~_k, May 23, 2007
Did NCLB law play a role in history, civics scores?
Elemenlary school students have a stronger grasp of U.S. history, and what it means 1o be a knowledgeable cilizen, than
they did a few years ago, new test results suggest. And part of the reason they’re betler informed about history and citizenship,
some argue, is that they’re better readers,
That was the view put forward by U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, among others, who saw the hand of the
No Child Left: Behind Act’s reading requiremenls in the latest results of the Nalional Assessment of Educalional Progress,
released last week.
Debating what role, if any, those mandates are playing in improving student progress has become almost a ritual
accompanying the release of test scores for the heavily scrutinized NAEP, often referred to as "the nation’s report card."
That dtual played out again with the latest results as some advocates for history and civics education questioned the
connection between federal reading effods and the gains in 41h grade on NAEP.
The federal law requires students in the early grades to be tested annually in reading, as well as math. Its backers,
including the secretary, say that schools’ work in reading is paying dividends in other subjects, as shown by the 4th grade history
and civics results. Scores for 8th and 12th grade students, meanwhile, rose in history but remained flat in civics.
Ms. Spellings drew a similar connection between reading skills and NAEP gains in 4th grade science last year. Last week,
she also rejected the notion that the No Child Left Behind law has forced teachers 1o cut back on subjects other than reading and
math, as the laws detractors have claimed.
"These results are a testament to what works," Ms. Spellings said in a statement issued May 16, the same day as the test
results. "Wh~e critics may argue that NCLB leads educators to narrow their curriculum focus, the fact is, when students know
how to read and comprehend, they apply these skills to other subjects like history and civics. The result is greater academic
gains."
The secretary further suggested that the laws Reading First program is helping students in other academic areas.
Building Skills
Reading First awards grants to schools and districls that try to improve lhe skilts of struggling readers in the early grades by
using a variety of approved skills, including phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary-building, and reading comprehension.
Federal officials did not have an estimate of what percentage of schools participaling in NAEP civics and history also
receive Reading First money. The vast majority of Reading First schools receive Title I funding; federal officials estimate that
about 70 percent of the roughly 7,000 4th graders on both tests were in Title I schools, though the percentages were lower in the
upper grades.
Peggy Attoff, the president of the National Council for the Social Studies, in Silver Spring, Md., did not dispute the idea that
stronger reading skills result in higher 4th grade history and civics scores-especially because lhe NAEP questions at that level
are very basic.
"With a lot of them, if you can read, you’re going to do well," she said.
But Ms. Altoff also said elementary teachers have been forced to reduce time devoted lo social studies topics as a result of
the NCLB law.
Data from a federal survey from the 2003-04 school year, released last year, showed that instructional time in history in
grades 1-4 dropped by about 30 minutes per day from the eady lgg0s. Time for English/language arts instruction rose by an
hour per day,
Reading scores on a NAEP test thal measures long-ten-n trends have improved for 9-year-olds by a signilicant margin over
the past five years, though some of those gains occurred before the law took effect. But on what’s called the "national" NAEP,
reading scores for 4th graders have remained flat since 2002.
Ms. Spellings, however, last week pointed to recent, state-reported data showing that reading proficiency increased among
Isl, 2rid, and 3rd graders participating in the $I billion-a-year Reading First program. ("State Data Show Gains in Reading,’ Apdl
25, 2007.)
Ms, Altoffalso said Reading First has led many teachers to use exercises geared overwhelmingly toward very basic
reading instruction-and not bward building coherent understanding of history and civics.
°There’s no sequence to il," Ms. Altoff said of that instruction. "You could be reading about Martin Luther King one day and
the American Revolution the next."
Je~ey Colbert, the toad consuflant for Reading First at the California education department, also was skeptical f~hat
Reading First played a role in the NAEP 4th grade scores in history and civics. Under California’s Reading First model, the skill
likely to have helped sludents the most ca NAEP-reading comprehension-ten’| typically taught until 3rd grade, he said.
"reachers are complaining in our state that they don’t have enough time to teach other things~ besides basic reading skills,
Mr. Cohen said.
But Janice Dole, an education professor at I:he University of Utah, who is also a co-evaluator of that state’s Reading First
program, believes many schools are balancing basic reading instruction with comprehension.
"There’s no doubt in my mind it’s having an impact on NAEP scores," Ms. Dole said o| Reading First. °Kids are being taught
how to read a text, and it’s translaling to other texts."
Richard M. Long, the director of government relations for the Ioternationat Reading Associalion, based in Newark, Del.,
said the No Child Lelt Behind law is "clearly having an effect~ on students’ ability to read across different subjects. While it is
debatable whether Reading First improves student performance in other subjects, the progran~ was created with a different goal
in mind. he noted.
’That’s not its primary mission,~ Mr. Long said. Reading First schools, he said, are these ’~where you’re trying to make a
very specific investment."
His organization is working with the itationa! Council for lhe Social Studies and other subject-area groups on a project to
give teachers guidance on how to blend other subject lessons into reading instruction.
Older Students Falter
The itAEP history and civics tests were given to a nationally representative sample of students from bolh public and private
schools. The history exam gauges students’ knowledge of specific historical facts, as well as their ability to evaluate evidence
and trends over time. The civics test covers students’ understanding of American politics, government, and "the responsibilities of
citizenship" in a democracy.
The average 4th grade score in civics climbed from 150 to 154, on a 300-point scale, from 1998 to 2006, when the latest
test was administered. In history, students in thai grade saw their average score rise from 208 to 211, on a 500-point scale,
between 2001 and 2006. Both increases were statistica!ly significant. Students at the Iowest-perfoming level, rather than high
achievers, accomplished the bulk of the gains.
At the l}th and 12th grade Ievels, however, the results were mixed. Middle and high school sludents’ scores increased in
history by statistically relevant margins. Eighth graders’ scores rose from 260 to 263, an a 500-point scale, and seniors’ average
scores increased from 287 to 290, also with a maximum of 500 points.
But on the civics test, 8th and 12th grade scores remained stagnant from 1998 1o 2006.
White students continued to outperform other students at all grade levels. Gaps between black and Hispanic students and
their white counterparts narrowed in history and civics in 4th grade, but remained roughly the same in the upper grades,
Students at all grade levels showed a strong knowledge of some basic facts of history and civics and only a feeble grasp of
others. At the 12th grade level, for instance, only 14 percent of students on the history test ¢outd explain why the United States
had been involved in the Korean War. Just one-third of 8th graders could identify U.S. foreign-policy positions in Latin America.
In civics, 75 percent of 4th graders knew lhat only cilizens can vote in the United States, but only 14 percent knew that
defendants have the right to a lawyer. In 8th grade, 80 percent successfully identified a notice for jury duty, but only 28 percent
could explain the historical purpose of the Declaration of Independence.
Cathy Gorn, the executive director of National History Day, an organization baseri at the University of Ma~and College
Park, attributed older sludents’ weak showing in civics partly to shortcomings in the way that subject, and history, are taught.
Too many teachers encourage memorization of facts and dates, lather than the kind of in-depth analysis of political events
and trends that students need when theyencounter more difficult material, she said. Her organization, which tries to increase
students’ interest in history, encourages teachers to use primary sources and have students conduct independent research
beyond the textbook.
"When they’re engaged, they really start to think critically about topics,’ Ms. Gorn said. "What is the legacy of this [event]?
How do we [~ndersl:and it lhrough time?"
Vol. 26, Issue 38, Pages 1,16
Private - Spellings, Mar~taret
From: Neale, Rebecca
Sent: Thursday, May 17, 2007 9:18 AM
To: Beaten. Meredith; Briggs, Kerd; Williams, Cynthia; Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Dorfman, Cynthia;
Dunn, David; Evers, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Gribble, Emily; Halaska, l-errell; Herr, John;
Kuzmich, Holty; Lenders, Angeta; Maddox, Lauren; Private - Spellings, Margaret; McGrath,
John; McLane, Katherine; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar, Doug; Neale, Rebecca; Pitts,
Elizabeth; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Scheessele, Marc; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent;
Terrell, Julie; Toomey, Liam; Tracy Young {E-mail); Tucker, Sara Martinez; Young, Tracy;
Yudof, Samara; Zeff, Ken
Subject: Group Wants Probe Of Education E-mails (AP)

Group Wants Probe Of Education E.mails (AP)


By Nancy Zuckerbrod
AP, May 17, 2007
WASHINGTON -A private watchdog group asked the Education Department’s inspector general on Wednesday to
investigate the possible improper use of private e.mail accounts to conduct official department business,
Citizens for Responsibilityand Ethics executive director Melanie Stoan said the apparent use of such accounls is making it
difficult for the group to obtain documents it is seeking under the Freedom of Info~ation Act.
Sloan said the group’s lawyer, Dan Roth, had two separate conversations recently with Education Department officials in
which he was told that some information he was seeking regarding a reading program might be unavailable because it was not
stored in e-mail accounts accessible to the government. Department o~cials told Roth that agency employees often use pdvate
e-mail accounts rather than their government-issued accounts to do official business, Sloan said.
If department employees are using private accounts to send official e-mails, and those aren’t being tracked or saved, that
could be a vblation of the Federal Records Act, she said. The law requires agencies to preserve records of official business.
Education Depadment Katherine McLane disputed CREW’s claim.
"Mr. Roth’s portrayal of the conversation is simply wrong," McLane said. "At no time was it suggested to Mr. Roth that
department officials use private e-mail accounts for official business."
McLane said department officials receive training on the proper use of e-mail and the preservation of federal records, and
she said many Web-based e-mail accounts can’t be accessed from Education Department’s computers,
CREW was seeking information about the Reading First program, an early reading program that has been the subject ot’
federal investigations into conflicts of interest. CREW has filed a suit to get lhe Education Department to release certain records
involving Reading First.
Catherine Grant, a spokeswoman for Education Department Inspector General John Higgins, would say only that CREW’s
request had been received.
The allegations come amid a congressional investigation into whether presidential adviser Karl Rove and Qther top White
House officials conducted official business through Republican National Committee e-mail accounls intended for political work,
and then deleted them in violation of a law governing how White House records are handled.
From: Neale, Rebecca
Sent: Thursday, May 17, 2007 9:09 AM
"TO: Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Williams, Cynthia; Coiby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Dorfman, Cynthia;
Dunn, David; Evers, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Gribble, Emily; Halaska, Terrell; Herr, John;
Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angola; Maddox, Lauren; Privat:e - Spellings, Margarelr.; McGrath.
John; McLane, Katherine; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar, Doug; Neale, Rebecca; Pitls,
Elizabeth; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Scheesseie, Marc; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kenl:;
Terrell. Julie; Toomey, Liam; Tracy Young (E-mail); Tucker, Sara Martinez; Young, Tracy;
Yudof, Samara; Zeff, Ken
Subject: Reading Recovery (BSUN)

Reading Recovery (BSUN)


The Baltimore.S_~n, May 17, 2007
A repod released last week has reinforced that the reading improvement program that has been par[ of the federal No
Child Left Behind law has been awash in cronyism and conflicts of interest. The report, prepared by staff members for Sen.
Edward M. Kennedy, chairman d the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, attests tothe level of congressional
interest in the problems with lhe program- and underscores the need for changes in the law as soon as possible. In addition, the
Department of Education needs to be able to show Congress and the public that il:s procedures are transparenl and above
board.
The program, Reading First, tries to improve the reading skills of first-, second- and third-graders through instruction
methods that are supposed to be scienli~cally based with a record of effectiveness. But a report last year by DOE’s inspector
general confirmed comptainls from some leading specialists that the process of awarding almost $5 billion in grants to nearly
5,000 schools has been corrupted by cunflicls of interest and a propensity by some DOE offioials to push for teaching methods
that they happened to like, regardless of any scientific underpinnings.
Mr. Kennedy’s report goes even further in demonstrating how a group of DOE subconl.ractors, who offered guidance to
school districts on specific reading programs that could be purchased with Reading First grants, also had substantial financial ties
to the handful of publishers who produced books and other materials associated with the recommended programs.
These cozy and lucrative relationships resulled in some effective programs being downplayed or shut out entirely. One
such p~ograrn, Success for All, was developed by Robert Slavin, a professor of education and school reform expert at the Johns
Hopkins Universily. They also probably cheated some poor-performing students of the best methods to improve their reading
abilities and perhaps lheir chances for owrall academic success.
Mr. Kennedy, with some bipadisan suppo~, would impose broader financial disclosure requiremenls on contractors and
subcontractors and further restrict their ability to influence local curriculum decisions. Beyond legislation, Secretary of Education
Margaret Spellings, who has shaken up leadership of the Reading First program, has vowed to continue working with her
inspector general’s office to correct problems. Better legislative and administrative controls will be needed to get this program
back in focus.
_p[_iv a t _e__-_S_peil in_~s ,.M ~_rJ~_t_et_ .................................................................................................................. :.~ .........
From: katherine mclane
Sent: Friday, May 11, 2007 5:51 AM
To: Oldham, Cheryl; Conklin, Kristin; Schray, Vickie; Dunckel, Denise; Shaw, Terri; Sampson,
Vincent; Queries, Karen; Bannerman, Krisfin; sco~__m._stanzel@who.eop.gov; jeanie_s.
_mamo@who.eop.gov; Manning, James; Moran, Robert; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerd;
Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David; Dorfman, Cynthia; Evers, Bill;
Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Lenders, Angola; MacGuidwln, Katie; Maddox, Lauren;
Private - Spellings, Margaret; McGrath, John; Mesecar, Doug; Neab, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi;
rob Saliterrnan; Yudof, Samara; Scheessele, Marc; Halaska, Terrell; Toner, Jana; Mcnitt,
Townsend L.; Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Zeff, Ken
Subject: Spellings Rejects Criticism on Student Loan Scandal (NYT)

Hay Ii, 2007


Spellings Rejects CriLicism on Studen~ Loan Scandal

By SAM DILLON
WASHINGTON, May I0 -- With scanda! rattling the $85 billion student loan industry,
Education Secretary Margaret Spellings argued at a House hearing on Thursday that she
lacked legal authority to clamp down on many abuses-.

Ms. Spellings faced pointed questioning at the hearing from Congre~sionai Democrats, who
accused her department of "mismanagement and complacency.
In about zhree hours of testimony before the House education committee, Ms. Spellings
portrayed her department’s oversight of federal lending programs as vigorous, but said
that the world of private lending, which has become increasingly import&nt as college
costs have outstripped federal loan programs, was mostly beyond her regulatory ~uthority.
She told the panel that the entire stodenz loan sys<em needed overhaul, saying, "The
system is redundant, it’s byzantin~ and it’~ broken."
Severa! Democrats, led by Representative George. Miller, questioned her aggressively,
asserting that she had regulatory power and moral influence that she had neglected to
wield to stop loan companies from paying universities or giving gifts, trips, stock and
consulting pa~euts to the university f.{nancial aid officers who guide students toward
l oa:~ s.
Mr. Mill.or, the C~l[fornia Democrat who heads the education con~.ittee, also took up a
separate issue of questionable federal subsidy pa~ents to lenders, He particu±arly
criticized Ms. Spel!ings’s decision to ignore a recommendation of the department’s
inspector general that she recover $278 million in federal subsidy pag~ents improperly
obgained by Nelnet, a lender based in Nebraska. He also said the ,Justice Department was
now reviewin~ the inspector general’s September audit fhst found Nelnet ineligible for
those p~>~ents.

After the hearing, a Justice Department spokesman, Charles Miller, did not contradict
Representative Miller’s assertions, bur said, "We have no ccm.~en: at this time."

Mr. Miller openly dismissed Ms. Spellings’s portrayal of her department’s monitoring of
student lending as robust. He also criticized the department for its oversight of Reading
First, ~ p£ogrem designed to teach poor children to read that has been besieged by reports
of conflicts of i~ze~iest among Education Department consultants.

"When I look at the whole body of eviience that has been amassed abouL both 1.h~. student
loan and Readj.ng F:’...[sl. pr.::graDs, it is clear that -- at a minimum ~ the Education
Dcpartmenz’ s oversight .=af lures have been monumenta!, " he said.

"’We monitor these programs vigorously," Ms. Spellir~.gs rapli~...’i.


"Who is monitoring?" Mr’. Miller shot back. "De they have blinders on?"
Ms. Speilings countered that her critics were focusing too r~arrowly on scattered abuses in
student lendinq, without offering much constructive help in changing the system, which she
said was "crying out for reform."

"We cannot fix this broken enterprise by cherry-picking a few narrow issues to address,"
she said. "We must peel back the layers, increase transparency, streamline the entire
system and provide more aid to students.~’

Ms. Spellings said she would convene a meeting of other federal ager~cies that deal with
lending issues, including the Federal Trade Commission, the Securities and Exchange
Commission and the Federal Reserve, to forge a coherent federal response to improper
relationships between iend÷rs and universities.

Lenders have come under scrutiny in recent months as New York’s attorney general, Andrew
M. Cuome, has high.lighted practices of lenders to get on university preferred lender
lists, which stndents rely on in seeking loa:)s.

Mr. Cuom0 on Thursday announced a new agreement with Student Loan Xpress, a student loan
company that engaged in some of the questionable prmctices, and the CIT Group, the
company’s parent. Under the terms of <he new agreement, CIT will pay $3 million to a
national fund f~r educating high school students and nheir parents mbout financial aid.
Yhe company also signed a code of conduct developed by Mr. Cuomo, governing relationships
between colleges and lenders.

The department has also come under scrutiny from Congress for its failure to halt millions
of dollars in subsidy payments to lenders that expl~Jted loopholes to inflate their
eligibility for subsidies on the student loans, including those paid to Nelnet.

Mr, Miller and other la,~akers pressed Ms. Spellings, the lone witness, to expl~in her
decision in January to allow Nelnet, a major contributor to Republican campafgns, to keep
the $278 million. In ~xchange, Nelnet agreed not to bill for nearly $flO0 million in
subsidies it believed it was eligible for.

Ms. Spellings said that she thought the fact that the department had been paying the
subsidies without questJ.on could have put it in legal jeopardy and that Nelnet might have
prevailed in a lawsuit.
"The reason that i settled was that there was a risk of nearly S900 million that this
government was in danger of losing if we lost a lawsuit," Ms. Spellings said.

Repzasentative John F. Tierney, Democrat cf Massaohusetts, said, "It boggles my mind -- we


allowed somebody to get away essentially with <heft.’"

Mr. Miller declined to answer questions altar £he hearin~ about any Justice Department
action against Neln~t.

The loan company itself hin~ed to investors in a filing with the Securities and Zxchange
Commission earlier this yea~" that the matter might not be closed, saying thee "the company
was informed by the department that a ci<,il artol’ney with :he Department of Justice has
oper~ed a file regarding this issue."
Ben Nicer, a No[net spokesman, said in ..~n interview, "We are fully cooperating with the
Department of Justice and are confident that 7here are no ~rounds fox any action against
Neln~t. "’
Jonathan D. Glarer contributed reporting.

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Private - S ellings, Margaret
From: Quarles, Karen
Sent: Thursday, May 10, 2007 3:16 PM
-ro: McLane, Katherine; Private - Spellings, Margaret; Landers, Angela; Evers, Bill; Colby, Chad;
Williams, Cynthia; Dorfman, Cynthia; Mesecar, Doug; Dunckel, Denise; Dunn, David; Pills,
Elizabeth; Flowers, Sarah; McGrath, John; Tafbert, Kent; Briggs, Kerri; Kuzmich, Holly;
Toomey, Liam; Maddox, Lauren; Scheessele, Marc; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Beaton, Meredith;
Tucker, Sara Martinez; Tada, Wendy; Halaska, Ten-ell; ’Tracy WH’; Young, Tracy; Zeff, Ken;
Bannerman, Kristin; Welkins, Tiffany; Sampson, Vincent; Conklin, Kristin; Oldham, Cheryl;
Schray, Vickie
Ditto, Trey; Nea{e, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof, Samara
Subject: RE: AP on hearing: "Education chief: Department responding to student loan problems"

Congress Daily Piece from this afternoon:


EDUCATION
Spellings Enlists Regulators To Stop Student Loan Abuses
Education Secretary Spellings announced today that she is convening the heads of the FTC, FDIC, SEC and Federal
Reserve "to coordinate a governmentwide endeavor to end student loan abuse" in both the Federal Family Education Loan
and private loan programs, She used an appearance before the House Education and Labor Committee to defend her
department’s oversight of student loan programs and its response to disclosures of questionable ties between private
lenders and college financial aid officials. And as lawmakers criticized her department, she turned the tables on them by
asserting that Congress’ failure to reauthorize the Higher Education Ac!: since it expired in 2003 has made it "my duty to
expedite reform." Referring to higher education, Spellings said: "rye probably been the most active secretary in this arena
in a long time."
As she went on the offensive, House Education and Labor Chairman Miller took Spellings to task for the
mismanagement of student loan and the Reading First elementary school programs, declaring "the department hasn’t
acted on this with any haste or urgency." A noticeably heated Miller told her, "When I look at the whole body of evidence
that I~as been amassed.., it is clear that, at a minimum, the Education Department’s oversight failures have been
monumental." He and Education and Labor ranking member Howard {Buck} McKeon, R-Calif., co-sponsored legislation
that. eaaily passed the House Wednesday to bring more transparency to the industry’s ties to colleges. The bill also seeks
to halt potential conflicts of interest by banning school officials from accepting gifts, financial perks and kickbacks from
lenders, who have doled out such sweeteners to earn a spot on preferred lender lists. In her teslimony, Spellings
announced that an Education Department task force created in Apdl to examine the industry wil~ soon be recommending
similar statutes, including a ban on inducements and more transparency behind the creation of preferred lender lists.
Citing areas of common interest, Spellings told committee members she wanted to use two bills Miller hopes to move
this year -- the Higher Education Act and No Child Left Behind reauthorizations -- to improve oversight and education
programs. She criticizea the "high legal barrier" in the higher education law that requires the department to prove improper
relations beNveen schools and lenders before taking action. "Federal student aid is crying out for reform," she added,
urging the committee to pass a full five-year reauthorization of the higher ed law instead of a one-year renewal. Miller said
that even with congressional action, "my concern about the department is in the broad the sense of its image since 20017’
Miller recently widened his investigation into the department’s dealings with student loan providers by requesting
information from Spellings and White House officials dating back to the beginning of the Bush administration in 2001.
Miller has also formally asked the FTC to look into deceptive marketing practices within the tending industry.
- by Jessica Brady

----Original Message .....


From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: Thursday, May 10, 2007 2:56 PM
To: Private - Spellings, Margaret; Landers, Angela; Evers, Bill; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Do#man,
Cynthia; Mesecar, Doug; Dunckel, Denise; Dunn, David; Pitts, Elizabeth; Fbwers, Sarah; McGrath,
John; Talber~, Kent; Briggs, Kerri; Kuzmich, Holly; Toomey, Liam; Maddox, Lauren; Scheessele, Marc;
Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Beaton. Meredith; Tucker, Sara Martinez: Tada, Wendy: Halaska, Terrell; Tracy
WH; Young, Tracy; Zeff, Ken; Queries, Karen; Bannerman, Kristin; Welkins, Tiffany; Sampson,
Vincent; Conklin, Kristin; Oldham, Cheryl; Schray, Vickie
Co: Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof, Samara
Subject: AP on hearing: "Education chief: Department responding to student loan problems"
Education chief: Department responding to student loan p~oblems
By ,¥ANC Y Z [ ,~CKE RB R OD
Thursday, May 10, 2007 11:49 AM CDT
WASHINGTON - Education Secretary Margaret Spellings sparred with the chainnma of the House
education committee Thursday amid allegations that the department’s oversight of the student loan
industry has been lax.
Rep. George Miller, D-Caiif_, said in a hearing tha~ the department failed to do its job when it came to
uncovering improper relationships between student lenders and colleges or student loan officials at those
colleges.

Miller pointed to a 2003 notice from Education Depamnent Inspector Genera! John Higgins’ office
urging the department to take action to curb gift-giving by lenders to colleges or their staffs.

Miller said the depmlment promised that it would keep an eye on such activities, a response he called
inadequate. Spellings countered that the department has done what it could under existing law. "We
monitor these progrmns vigorously," she said.

"Who is monitoring? Do they have blinders on?" Miller asked.


The hearing was tbcused on recent findings of an investigation by New York Attorney General Andrew
Cueing into the $85 billion-a-year student loan industry’. Cuomo has turned up evidence that some
colleges received a percentage of loan proceeds from lenders given preferred status by the schools _ a
p~actice Cueing calls "kickbacks."

Cueing also tbund that some college loan el’ricers receiv¢d gifts from lenders to encourage them to steer
borrowers their way.

On Wednesday, the House overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan bil! that would ban gifts from lenders to
schools and impose strict controls on schools that publish approved lender lists to guide students to
certain loan companies.

Spellings called the vote "an important first step in this process."

But she also noted that she a~so was taking steps to push through new regulations to protect against
conflicts of interest. She said proposed regulations would be completed this month and would include a
requirement of at least three lenders on any school’s preferred-lendez list, together with an explanation of
how and why they were chosen. The rules also will spell out what is allowed and what is prohibited w-~th
regard to inducements from lenders to schools, Spellings said.

She said the Education I)epartment has oversight only for loans made through the federal student loan
programs in which the govemrnent guarantees the loans. She said she has no authority over the growing
private student loan industry., in which the government doesn’t make or guarantee the loans.

Spellings announced at the hearing that she was convening the chairs ot" other federal agencies that deal
with banking and lending issues to help her examine the problems in this sector of the student loan
industry.

A service of the Associated Press(AP)


.private - S pe~llings, Margaret
From: katherine mclane
Sent: Thursday, May 10, 2007 7:05 AM
To: Oldham, Cheryl; Conklin, Kristin; Schray, Vickie; Dunckel, Denise; Shaw, Terd; Sampson,
Vincent; Quarles, Karen; Bannerman, Kristin; scott m. stanzel@who.eop.gov; jeanie_s.
_marno@who.eop.gov; Manning, James; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey;
Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David; Dorfman, Cynthia; Evers, Bill; Kuzmich, Holly;
La Force, Hudson; Landers, Angola; MacGuidwin, Katie; Maddo×, Lauren; Privale - Spellings,
Margaret; McGrath, John; Mesecar, Doug; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; rob Saliterman;
Yudof, Samara; Scheessele, Marc; Halaska, Terrell; Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend
Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara Mar~inez; Zeff, Ken
Subject: Four Officials Profited From Publishers, Report Finds (WP)

Four Officials Profited From Publishers, Report Finds By ~it R. Paley Washington Post
Staff Writer Thursday, May IS, 2007; All
Four officials who helped oversee a federal reading program for your’..c, stndents have
pocketed significant sums of money from textbook publishers that profited from the $I
billion-a-y~.ar initiative, .a Democratic congressional report disclosed yesterday.

The report from ~he office of Sen. Edward H. Kennedy


(D-~@ass.) offers fresh details on the extensive financial ties between publishers and
officials who helped implement the Reading First program. Over the past several months,
the program has faced numerous allegations of conflicts of interest and cronyism.
Education Secretary Margaret Spellings is expected to face questions about the program, a
key provision of the No Chi].d Left Behind law, from a House oversight committee today.
David Dunn, her chief of stmff, said the department is reviewing the zeport’s findings.

Congress and the Justice 0apartment a=e examining the initiative, which provides grants
improve reading for ~h±idr~n from kind~rga~z~n through thi,d grad~.
Kennedy’s report ~ocused on how mneh current or former directors of three regional Reading
First technical assistance centers have earned in recent years from
publishers: Douglas Carnine (more than $8~0,000), Edward Kame’enui (more than $750,000},
Joseph Torgesen (mor~ than $50,000) and Sharon Vaughn (more than $1.2 million).

All fo~r denied wrongdoing, and two accused Kennedy of distozting the situation for
political benefit, "The report is inaccurate~ unfair and has no basis in fact," said
Lizette D. Benedi, a~ attorney for Kame’enui, who works for the Education Department as
co~lissioner of the National Center for SpecJai Education Research.

Carnine and Torgesen still run regional Reading First centers. "At no time did anyone from
.the Depart~r.ent of Education or anywhere else tell me that [the eatnings from publishers]
was a problem as long as I gismlosed m.v contracts," Torgesen said.

The four officials were not covered by federal conflicE-of-interest r,~les because they
worked for a contracted company, not the department, ey~erts said.
Kennedy said <he rules should be tightened.
Staff researche~ Meg Smith contributed to this report.

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,..F’, riva ~e i_ s pellin ~ls, .~l.ar r~_a re t
From: katherine mclar~e
Sent:. Thursday, May 10, 2007 6:58 AM
To: Oldham, Cheryl; Conklin, Kdstin; Schray, Vickie; Dunckel, Denise; Shaw, Terri; Sampson,
Vincent; Quarfes, Karen; Bannerman, Kristin; scott m. stanzel@who.eop.gov; jeanie_s.
_mamo@who.eop.gov; Manning, James; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey;
Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David; Dorfrnan, Cynthia; Evers, Bill; Kuzmich, Holly;
La Force, Hudson; Landers, Angola; MacGuidwin, Katie; Maddox, Lauren; Private - Spellings,
Margaret; McGrath, John; Mesecar, Doug; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; rob Saliterman;
Yudof, Samara; Scheessele, Marc; Halaska, Terrell; Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L;
Young, Tracy; DiLto, Trey; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Zeff, Ken
Subject: House Passes Ban on Gifts From Student Lenders (NY’F)

Hay
House Passes Ba.n on Gifts From Student Lenders
By SAM DILLON and JONATHAN D. GI~.~TER
WASHINGTON, May 9 -- The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to ban
gifts and pag-ments by student loan companies to universities, showing bipartisan resolve
to clean up the $85 billion industry.

The vote, 414 to 3, demonstrated how politically potent the issue of paying for college
has become at a time when tuition is steadily rising and millions o[ students depend on
borrowing to finance college.

"With this vot~," said Representative George Miller, the California Democrat who leads the
House education commi<tee, "the House has tak9n a huge step in the right direction to put
a stop to those practices and ~ake s~,~re that the student loan programs operate on the
l~vel, in the best interests of students and families trying to pay for colleg~."
The bill passed a day before Education Secret~ry Margaret Sp~liings was schedul~d to
testify before the House e<~¢aticn oommittee about oversight of the industry.

It comes in the wake of reyel.ations that lenders paid universities money contingent on
student loan volume, gave gifts to the financial aid administrators whom students rely on
to recommend lenders, and hi~ed financial aid officials as paid consultants.
The nation’s four largest student ]enders and at least
22 co!l~ges have already signed on to a code of conduct developed by Attorney General
Andrew ~, C~omo of New York.

Mr. M%ller was joined by the ranking Republican on his committee, Eeprese~tative Howard
Mc~eon of California, in ~remoting the bill. "We’re stepping ~p today for a single,
fundamental reason," Mr. McKeon said before the vote, "to ensure ou~ nationts financial
aid system continues to serve the needs of our sit, dents."

But he also urged that Congress be careful "’not to overreach." The bil!. has bipartisan
support in the Senate, said Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts and
chairman of Lhe education committee.
A senior Educazion Department. official sa~d that the agency was prepared ~o move quickly
to draft ¢egulations to enforce the bill.

Ms. Spellings is expected to face tough questJor, s thursday about the department’s policing
of the ~n<Justry, as well as about enforcement o~ its own inter~al policies on conflicts of
interest after reports tb~t an official with oversight over the student loan database held
stock in a student loan c¢~psny.

Ms. Spellings’s chief of staff, David Dunn, said in an interview rhat the secretary wanted
to "set the record straight" and show that the department had %aken the s:ep$ it could to
regulate l~nders. Ms. S~.ellin,_~s has convened ~ task force that is to make recommendations
by the end of May on how to ~-egulate th~ lists of recommended lenders at university aid
offices
Ms. Spellings is also expected to face questions about the oversight of Reading First, a
program desi~ned to keach poor children to read by third grade. The department’s inspector
general, John P. Higgins, has issued reports finding conflicts of interest, cronyism and
bias in how officials and private consultants operated the pro@ram and award÷d grants.
Mr. Kennedy, in a report, added new detail Wednesd=-y on how four officials contracted by
the education agency to advise states on buying reading matel-ials had lucrative ties with
publishers.
Edward Kame’enI~i, heaJ of the department’s western technica! assistance center in Oregon
from 2002 through May 2005~ earned hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties from
Pearson/Scott Foresman
2001 to 2006, the report said. It also said that Douglas Carnine, who replaced Dr.
Kame’enui in 2005, also earned royalties -- $168,470 from McGraw-Hil!, Houghton Mifflin
and Pearson last year.

Joseph Torgesen, who advised Eastern states about materials~ and Sharon Vaughn, who
advised Central states, also received thousands of dallars in royalties from educational
publishers while xepresenting the department, the report said.

Katherine McLane, a dep~.rtment spokeswcman, said: ’~The department is deeply concerned


about conflicts of interest and takes the allegations contained in Senator" Kennedy’s
report very seriously.

"We are studying this report to determine if further actions are necessary and will act
aggressively if any wrongdoing is found."

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:p_riv_ate_ - Sp_e_llings, Mar~laret
From; katherine mclane
Sent; Thursday, May 10, 2007 6:37 AM
To: Oldham, Cheryl; Conklin, Kristin; Schray, Vickie; Dunckel, Denise; Shaw, Terri; Sampson,
Vincent; Quarles, Karen; Bannerman, Kristin; sco~ m. stanzel@who.eop.gov; jeanie_s.
mamo@who.eop.gov; Manning, James; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey;
~,olby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David; Dorfman, Cynthia; Evers, Bill; Kuzmich, Holly;
La Force, Hudson; Landers, Angela; MacGuidwin, Katie; Maddox, Lauren; Private- Spellings,
Margaret; McGrath, John; Mesecar, Doug; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; rob Satiterman;
Yudof, Samara; Scheessele, Marc; Halaska, Terretl; Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L.;
Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Zeff, Ken
Subject: Exam looms for US education secretary in Congress (Reuters)

Exam looms for US education sec~-etary in Congr-=ss Wed [day 9, 2007 8:02 PM ET

By Kev±n Drawbaugh
WASHINGTON, [Jay 9 (Reuters)- U.S. Education o...~c="~=ra~v.~ Hargaret Spellings, a former Bush
administration policy advisor, will appear before a congressional committee on Thursday
with a scandal sweeping qhrough the college student loar~ business, a key area of oversight
for her agency.

The secretary is expecLed to face tough questions from the House of Representatives
Education and Labor Committee, which has been probing conflicts of interest in an $85
billion industry that plays a crucial role in helping ;~erican students afford the highest
college tuition fees in the ~orld.

Investigators allege that loan firms have given college financial aid officers pay and
perks -- such as stock and gifts to curry favor and win inclusion on so-called "preferred
lender" lists that are shown [o students seeking loans.
The House voted 414-3 on wednesday for a bill that would crack down on s~ch ].~sts; ban
lender gifts to college aid officers; require disclosure of lender-college relationships;
and protect students from aggressive marketing practices.

The Senate is considering a similar measure.

Spellings cn Tuesday announced the resignation of a key subordinate at the Edunanion


¯
Department TerrJ ....~haw, chief operating officer for federal student aid, will quit June I "
¯
Another department exeedtlv-=, ~.4at.__o
~ Fontana, was put on paid leave last month pending an
inquiry into allegations that he owned shares of stock in a stud~_nt lean fJrm.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, a leader in the ~;idening conflic<s investigation,
in at. Aoril 25 colombia-tee hearinq said that the Education Department had been- "asl~ep at
Lhe switch" on its oversight of st[ldent loans. He alleged "_hat S~ellings had "defaulted on
her obligations-"
Spellings zeplied at the qime :hat she shared Cuomo’s concerns about lender practices. She
said that she takes her "role as steward of federal financial aid very seriously" and
stressed tha~ she h~d creat~}d ~n internal task force at :he department to work on new
student loan z-equlations.
Brought up in Houston, Spellings worked = r Bush when he was governor of Texas. During her
White House tenure she helped draft the p.-esident’s No Child Left Behind law.
House _d~_a_ un committee spokesman Tom Riley said the hearin~ also will examine the
department’s management cf Reading First, a program that is part of No Chili Left. Behind.

"What we have seen in the studen: loan scandal and in Reading First is that, at a minimum,
the Depar.m..n.- of Education has faJ].ed in ~ts oversight, Ki!ev said
"~hat w.e want to learn tomorrow is why these fai.].u[es were allowed to happen and what
sceps will be taken to make sure they won’t happen again," he said.

Paying for college is a big business in ~erica and is profitable for financial
institutions like Citigroup <C.N>, JPMorgan Chase <JPM.N> and Bank of :nm~erica <BAC.N>, as
well as specialist companies such as Sallie Mac <SLM.N>.

Most students who take out loans get hhem from banks or from Saliie Mac, either with n
federal guarantee backing them or, increasJ.ngly, without one. Loans also are available
directly from the government and from other sources.

Student debt has risen recently, as tuition has outpaced inflation and grant aid has
failed to keep up. A t2~ica! undergraduate leaves school today owing about $20,000.
Congressional Democrats -- including House Education Committee Chairman George Miller of
California and Senate Education Committee Chairman Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts --
support far-reaching reforms for student loans that directly threaten the business models
of Sallie Mac acd the banks.

Critics of the loan industry charge it makes unfair profits at the expense of students,
while lenders say that their loans are cost-effioient and that they provide valuable
financial services to both students and the universinies they attend.

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From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: Wednesctay, May 02, 2007 7:52 AM
To; Private. Spellings, Margaret; Conaty, Joseph; Farris, Amanda; Landers. Angola; Evers, Bill;
Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dorfman, Cynthia; Mesecar, Doug; Dunckel, Denise; Dunn,
David; Pitts, Elizabeth; Flowers, Sarah; McGrath, John; Talbert, Kent; Bdggs, Kerri; Kuzmich,
Holly; Toomey, Libra; Maddox, Lauren; Scheessele, Marc; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Beaten,
Meredith; Tucker, Sara Martjnez; Todd, Wendy; Halaska, Terrell; Tracy WH; Young, Tracy;
Zeff, Ken
Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof, Samara
Subject: Spellings Coiled To Testify About ’Reading First’ Complainl:s (EDWEEK)

Spellings Called To Testify About ’Reading First’ Complaints (EDWEEK)


By Kathleen Kennedy Manzo
Education Week, May 2, 2007
Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings has agreed to testi~y before the House education committee about charges of
mismanagement and conflict of interest in the Reading First program, ]n a follow-up to a contentious April 20 hearing featuring
several former and current federal officials and consultants.
The hearing scheduled for May 10 wit1 focus on the Department of Education’s oversight of the $1 billion-a-year initiative to
improve reading achievement in disadvantaged schools, and the steps being taken to prevent conflicts of interest in Reading
First and other federal programs, according to a letter to Ms. Spellings from Education and Labor Commiltee Chairman George
Miller, D-Calif. She will also be asked questions about the depadment’s management of federal student-loan programs, the letter
said.
A~er the first hearing, in which Rep, Miller and olher House Democrats pressed former Reading First Director Christopher
J. Doherty on problems with the implementation of the program, some observers wondered why the secretary and other senior
departmenl[ officials hadn’t also been called to testify. ("House Panel Grills Witnesses on Reading First," April 25, 2007.)
"Some of the key players who have some questions to answer weren’t there," said Michael J. Petrilli, a former Education
Department official who has suggesteB that Ms. Spellings "micromanaged" the rollout of Reading First while sewing as a top aide
at the White House dudng Presidenl Bush’s first term. Mr. Petdlli, now a vice president for the Washington-based Thomas B.
Ferdham Foundation, said the committee’s grilling of Mr. Doherty was inappropriate, given that he was carrying out the program
according to the wishes of the Bush administration.
Justice Dept. Scrutiny
The Education Department’s inspector general has referred some of the informalion gathered in a lengthy audit of the
program to federal law-enforcement officials for fudher review. Inspeclor General John P. Higgins Jr. told the committee, in
response 1o a question on whether he had recommended any criminal review, that he had made "referrals to the Department of
Justice."
He declined to elaborate to reporters at the end of last month’s hearing, but Mr. Doherty told reporters that the Justice
Department had interviewed him last fall but has not followed up since.
The hearing, which ran more than four hours, mostly repeated allegations highlighted in a series of inspector general’s
reports beginning last fall. They concluded that Mr. Doherty and other federal officials and consultants appeared to have favored
the use of some commercial texts and assessments over others for Reading First and may have overstepped their authority in
directing states in curriculum choices for padicipatin9 schools. ("Scathing Report Casts Cloud Over’Reading First’," Oct. 4,

Some new information about the financial ties between the program’s core advisers and several commercial products also
emerged during the hearing.
Edward J. Kame’enui, who is on leave from the University of Oregon while he directs the Education Department’s National
Center for Special Education Research, reported that he has earned about $150,000 in annual royalties from an ear~y-reading-
intervention program. Deb{~rah C. Simmons, a co-author on thal text, reported similar earnings.
Roland H. Good III, who developed the Dynamic indicators of Basic Early Lileracy Skills, reported that he has earned more
than $500,000 from sales of the assessment, which is used in a majority of Reading First schools. A panel tile three experts
served on gave DIBELS a positive review, but Mr. Good said he and his University of Oregon colleagues did not participate in the
evaluation.
Mr. Good noted thal DIBELS is available free to schools on the Intemet. But under questioning lrom committee members,
he acknowledged that many schools purchase neatly packaged versior~s of the test or spend money on hand-held computers
with DISELS software, all of which add p~fits to his testing company,
Followi’~g the Law
A leading critic of the department’s handling oi Reading First charged that Mr, Good’s attempts to discount his earnings
made from DIBELS were disingenuous,
"He outlined 12 differen! ways that he wasn’t making money off DIBELS, unl:il the committee asked the question just the
right way, and we find out that in fact it’s making a lot of money," said Robert E. Slav!n, a co-founderof the Baltimore-based
Success for All Founda|ion, whose complaints heiped launch the probe.
Mr. Dohedy, who said he had not profited personally from Reading First, maintained under intense questioning that he and
his colleagues followed the law in directing states to choose only those programs and tests that he and grant reviewers had
judged would meet the program’s strict requirements for being research-based.
"We really implemented the progran~ the way it was intended," Mr. Doherty said in an interview attar the hearing. °This
headng was very unrepresentative of the very successful Reading First program."
Vol. 26, Issue 35, Page 21
Private - Spellings, Margaret ..............................................
From: McLane~ Katherine
Sent: Wednesday, May 02, 2007 7:50 AM
To: Private - Spellings, Margaret; Lenders, Angola; Evers, Bill; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia;
Dorfman, Cynthia; Mesecar, Doug; Dunckel, Denise; Dunn, David; Pitts, Elizabeth; Flowers,
Sarah; McGrath, John; Talbert, Kent; Briggs, Kerri; Kuzmich, Holly; Toomey, Liam; Maddox,
Lauren; Scheessele, Marc; Mcnitt, l’ownsend L; Benton, Meredith; Tucker, Sara Martinez;
Tada, Wendy; Halask.a, Ter~ell; Tracy WH; Young, Tracy; Zeff, Ken; Queries, Karen;
Bannerman, KrislJn; Watkins, Tiffany; Sampson, Vincent
Cc." Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof, Samara
Subject: Bush Pressing His Case On Renewal Of NCLB (EDWEEK)

Bush Pressing His Case On Renewal Of NCLB (EDWEEK)


By David J. Hoff
Education Week, May 2, 2007
In the complicated politics of the No Child Left Behind Act, one thing hasn’t changed since Congress first passed the law:.
President Bush’s desire to get a bill passed.
Over the past month, Mr. Bush has been actively highlighting what he sees as the successes of the law and the need to
chad its course beyond the end of his second term. But many political figures-including some Republicans-doubt that the
president will have the same influence over the second generation of the law that he had over its creation,
"The I!o Child Left Behind Acl~ is working," Mr. Bush said last week at a charter school in the Harlem section of New York
City. ’-these test scores are on the rise, Accountability makes a significant difference in educational excellence."
The April 24 event followed two White House meetings earlier in April with parents, business Ieaders, and civil dghts
advocates to bolster support for the president’s reauthorization proposals. What’s more, Secretary of Education Margaret
Spellings traveled I:o Minnesota, Arizona, and New Mexico in the past month, often meeting with local business groups and
soliciting their support for the law.
At a time when Mr. Bush is approaching the twilight of his presidency and his approval ratings are in the mid-30s, many
observers say the president’s proposals to expand school choice to include private schools and access to charter schools are
unlikely to sway the Democratic majorities in Congress,
qhe reauthorization of No Child Left Behind is going to be ddven by Congress,~ said Kansas stale Sen. John Vratil, a
Republican. "1 don’t see the administration leading the charge,°
Last week, for example, a bipartisan group of senators introduced a high school reform plan that emphasizes improving
graduation rates in the schools with chronically high dropout rates. ]t does not include the Bush administration’s proposals to
expand NCLB testing across all high schools lo measure students’ readiness to enter college or the workplace.
President Bush’s power diminished when Democrats regained control of the House and r.he Senate last fall, and it
continues to slide as he concentrates on Ihe war in Iraq and his approval ratings hover near the lowest points in his presidency.
°It has everything to do with his current situation," said Mr. Vratil, who was among a group of slate legislators who me1 with
While House aides in March 1o discuss the state lawmakers’ response to administralion’s reauthorization plan.
But others suggest that Mr. Bush may have a significant say in the future of the NCLB law because of the unusual politics
surrounding the bill. With conservative Republicans rallying around an alternative and Democratic interest groups advocating
structural changes to the law, Mr. Bush’s support could be pivotal in bolstering Democratic leaders who want to retaiu the law’s
goal of drarnaticalty increasing student achievement, said Patrick J. McGuinn, an assistant professor of political science at Drew
University, in Madison, N.J.
qhe fundamental question is whether Ihe bipartisan consensus has fallen apart or not," he said. "The preservation of the
original bipartisan consensus is key."
Legacy Bill
President Bush has listed reauthorization of the NCLB law-whose passage was a centerpiece of his first4erm domestic
agenda-as one of his top priorities for the final two years of his presidency.
The House and Senate education committees have held a series of hearings on topics related to the law in recent months.
Authorization for the 5-year-old law, an overhaul of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, expires on Sept. 30, but
Congress often extends programs for a year or more while it weighs broader changes.
The law requires states 1o test students in reading and mathematics annually in grades 3-8 and once in high school, and to
determine whether districts and schools are making adequate yearly progress, or AYP, toward having all students proficient in
those subjects by the end of the 2013-14 school year. The law also contains a rail of other mandates, in areas such as teacher
qualifications, and includes the Title I program for disadvantaged students, the Reading First initiative, and many other federal
K-12 programs.
With the goal of finishing a bill before the 20[}8 presidential primaries begin in January, the House and Senate education
committees are preparing bills to renew the law. Aides on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee are
starting to write portions of the bill. The goal is for the committee to debate a bill by summer, said Mefissa Wagoner, a
spokeswoman for Sen. Edward NI. Kennedy, D-Mass., the HELP committee’s chairman.
The House Educalion and Labor Committee has not set a timetable for moving ils reauthorization bill, said Aaron K.
Albright, a spokesman for Rep. George Miller, D-Calif,, that panel’s chairman.
For such a complex bill to work through 1he legislative process this year, it would have to clear the education committees
this summer, experts say.
Completing the reauthorization this year is "an enormous personal interest of [he president," Karl Zinsmeister, Mr. Bush’s
chief domestic-policy adviser said in an interview. ’He talks about it all the time. He’s very determined to put energy and
resources ir~o it."
How much iafluence the president wi!l have over the legislation is unclear, however.
In New York City last week, Mr. Bush promoted the success of the Harlem Village Academy Charter School. When the
school opened in [he 2003-04 school year, 20 percent of its 5th 9raders met New York state’s math standards. Last school year,
96 percent of 5th graders met the standard.
"We ought to make it easier for officials to reorganize failing schools into charter schools," Mr. Bush said, according to the
White House transcript, "We just cannot allow the status quo to exist when we find failure."
Under the presidenl’s NCLB proposal, school districts would be allowed to rely on federal legal authority to open new
charter schools, even if their states had reached caps on the number of charters set by state law. The administration’s plan also
would create $4,000 vouchers for students who attended schools that failed to make AYP targets for five consecutive years.
Those students could use the vouchers to transfer to other public schools or toward tuilJon at private schools.
But key Democratic lawmakers have said they won’t support such proposals for private school choice, and they are
pursuing other options for turning around poorly performing schools. ("Bush Offers ’Blueprint’ for NCLB," Jan. 31, 2007.)
High School Differences
Top lawmakers also aren’t following the president’s lead in other areas of education policy, For example, Sen. Kennedy
and a bipadisan group of members of his committee introduced a bill last week that would provide federal grants to the high
schools with the highest dropout raises.
The high school reform bill-introduced by Sen. Kennedy and other members of the HELP committee-would authorize $2.4
billion in grants to help such schools and would define ways to measure their progress in addition to their AYP resulls, Schools
receiving ihe money would set a goal of improving their dropout rates and would have to intervene with students starting in
grade to ensure they stayed in school until they earned their diplomas.
But the bill ~toesn’t include what the Bush administration sees as vital components of high school improvement. The
administration wants to set aside a portion of new Title I money for high school effods and add two years of resting sfudents’
preparedness to enter college or the workforce.
Such differences don’t mean that Resident Bush won’t have any influence over the future of the NCLB law, analysts say.
In 2001, Mr. Bush and his advisers worked closely with Sen. Kennedy an(t Rep. Miller to generate bipartisan support for the
No Child Lelt Behind legislation the! Congress passed late the1 year and that the president signed in January 2002,
In his speech al the Harlem school last week, Mr. Bush slressed the potential for continued bipartisanship. He mentioned
the two key Democrats by name but referred to their two GOP committee counterparts at the time-Rep. John A. Boehner of Ohio
and Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire-simply as "two Republican co~leagues of theirs."
’We work well together,~ the president said.
Rep. Miller and Sen. Kennedy have said repeatedly that they supporl the major provisions of the law, such as annual
testing and the goal that all students reach proficiency by the end of the 2013-14 school year.
ff President Bush presents a unified front with Democratic and Republican congressional leaders, the group could preserve
the important etements of the law, said Mr. McGuinn of Drew University.
"That may have the effect of keeping the core of the law inlact," he said.
The central ingredient, Mr. McGuinn added, will be the amount of money available for Title I and other NCLB programs.
Allhough Title I spending increased by a total of 40 percent in the first three years after the law’s enactment, funding for the
program has leveled off since.
Many Republicans, meanwhile, are unhappy because they believe that the ad minislration has been inflexible in the way it
has carded out the law, he added.
More lhan 50 House Republicans and six GOP senators are supporting an alternative bill that would end the federal
govemmenfs oversight of accounlability and give the states wide latilude in deciding how to track students’ aca~lemic progress.
"There’s a belief among Democrats and Republicans that.., the Bush administration has reneged on its end of the bargain"
to increase spending on NCLB programs, Mr. McGuinn said.
Assistant Edilor Erik W. Robelen contributed to this report from Washinglon.
.Privat_e - Spellings, Margaret
FrO]TI: katherine mclane
Sent: Wednesday, May 02, 2007 6:15 AM
-re: Oldham, Cheryl; Conklin, Kristin; Schray, Vickie; Dunckel, Denise; Shaw, Terd; Sampson,
Vincent; Quades, Karen; Bannerman, Kristin; scot[ m. stanzel@who.eop.gov; jeanie_s.
_mamo@ed.gov; Benton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerd; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams,
Cynthia; Dunn, David; Dorfman, Cynlhia; Evers, Bill; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson;
Landers, Angola; MacGuidwin, Kalie; Maddox, Lauren; Private - Spellings, Margaret;
McGra[h, John; Mesecar, Doug: Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; rob Saliterman; Yudof,
Samara; Schees.sele, Marc; Halaska, Terrell; Toner, Jana; MoniSt, Townsend L.; Young,
Tracy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Zeff, Ken
Subject: Yield Documents, Lawmaker Tells White House (NY-I)

May 2, 2007
Yield Documents, La’,~aaker Tells White House
By K_%RE;N W. ARENSON
The chairma~ of the House education commaittee asked the White House yesterday to tur~ over
all its colr~,3~,icatio..’:s about the scandal-tarred student loan program and also Reading
First, the acLministration’s $1-billion-a-year reading initiative, which has been besieged
by accusations of conflict of interest.

The request by the la,~aker, Representative George Miller, Democrat of California, carries
his inquiries into education policy-makin~ beyond the Education Depart~..ent itself and into
the Bush White House.

"The co;[dniztee’s ongoing investigations into both programs have revealed serious oversight
failures by senior officials," Hr. Miller’s office said in a statement.

The White House comm~unications sought include those from Margaret Spellings, the current
eduoation secretary, who previously served as ~resident Bushrs domestic policy adviser.
Ms. Spellings is to testify on both programs next week before Mr. Miller’s committee.

Emily Lawrimore, a presidential spokeswoman, said that the White House had received the
congressman’s request and that "we will review it and respond accordingly."

Steve Fords, a spokesman for the committee’s Republicans, said, "Overly broad and
politically motivated fishing expeditions will nst restore faith in these programs --
programs that continue helping millions of students learn t:~ rmmd and attend college, even
to this day."

The development yesterday was the latest turn in a variety of inquiries into a student
!oan industry that leading federal lawmakers and state investigators say benefits from
weak oversight and h9s an unacceptably close re[atJcnsh]_p with the Education] Department.

As for Reading First, the Education Department’s office of inspector general has sharply
criticized the department’s handling of the program, accusin~ its officials cf violating
conflicz-of-in~erest rules when 9warding ~ranLs to stares and of steering zontracts to
favored textbook publishers.
in addition te his request to the White House, Mr.
Miller asked the Edu.:::~tior~ Department yest’erday for records of comm~nications fxol~ seve~al
of ~.ts current and former high-ranking officials, including Rod ~aige, former secretary;
Wi].].Jam D. Hanson, former deputy secretary; Eugene W. Hickok, former under secretary and
then deputy secretary; and David Dunn, the current chief of staff.

Katherine NcLane, a spokeswoman for the department, said %t was reviewing the request.

Sepazately, the department sent out nc:_ice that it. ha.:] begun to tighten secu.rity measures
surrcund.:.ng access to a nationei student loan database that contains personal financial
information on millions of student aid appli.ca~ts.
Users of the database seeking info~~ation about a student will, for example, have to
provide a birth date and a first name, as well as a Social Security number. And msers wil!
be shown several random letters or numbers and be asked to retype them on the screen, an
approach Broadway ticket sellers use to help pre~ent computerized systems from buying up
multiple tickets.

Secretary Spellings suspended lende~ access to the database in mid-April, because of fears
that loan companies or other marketers were improperly obtaining information on potential
borrowers. That suspension remains in effect.

Do You Yahoc!?
Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around http:!/mail.yahoo.com
,Pri,va,~e - Spellin@s, Mar~]aret
From: katherine relane
Sent: Wednesday, May 02, 2007 6:13 AM
To: Oldham, Cheryl; Conklin, Kristin; $chray, Vickie; Dunckel, Denise; Shaw, T~rri; Sampson,
Vincent; Quades, Karen; Bannerman, Kristin; scott m. stanzel@who.eop.gov; jeanie_s.
_mamo@ed.gov; Beaten, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams,
Cynthia; D~nn, David; Dorfman, Cynthia; Evers, Bill; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson;
Landers, Angela; MacGuidwin, Katie; Maddox, Lauren; Private - Spellings, Margaret;
McGrath, John; Mesecar, Doug; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; rob Saliterman; Yudef,
Samara; Scheessete, Marc; Halaska, Terreli; Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Young,
Tracy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Zeff, Ken
Subject: Democrat Demands White House Student Loan Records (Reuters)

May i, 2007
Democrat Demands White House Student Loan Records

By REUTERS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Democratic head of the U.S.


House of Representatives education co~ittee said on Tuesday investigators probing the
Bush administration’s management of federal student loan programs had found ""serious
oversight failures by senior officials.’’

Amid a conflict of interest, scandal that is sweeping through the $85 billion student loan
industry, Rap.
George Miller asked the White House te turn over e-mails and other records, including
those of Education Secletary Margaret Spellings, previously a White House domestic policy
adviser.
Miller, of California, also wrote to Spellings seeking records from her as well as former

He also asked for documents on administration oversight of Reading First, a .reading


program that is a key part of U.S. President George W, Bush’s No Child Left Behind
education law.

Spe].l{nus is scheduled to zeszify on May iO before Miller’s House Education and L~bor
Committee.

Congress and state attorneys genera]. ~re probing all~gations of misconduct across the
st~ldent loan in~/stry. Investigators 9ccuse some college financial aid officers of taking
paymentsand perks from lenders in exchange for placing the companies, on "’preferred
].ender’’ lists shown to st,/d6nts-
Student Lendin9 Works, an Ohio nonprofit lender, said on Tuesday it has been left off all
but 12 of !00 such lists.

"’We believe that the ’preferred lender’ list system is broken and needs fixing. It no
lof~ger serves the inte£ests of students and their families,’’ the orga~]ization said.
Miller last week asked for an internal inquiry at theEducation Department into possible
conflicts of interest.
Another Democrat, Sen. Edward Kennedy cf Massachusetts, has asked Spellings to hand over
personnel files and financial disclosure reports for
~_.’7 Zdl~uation Department .=,mployees. K.=.,nnedy he~ds the S.~.na±e’s education ~.c.mmi~t~e.
Last m.:>r~th a manager in the Edu<:a[.[ou Department’s financial aid of rise was pa[. on ]~.ave
pending a review of his ownership of stock in Education Lending Group, former parent of
Student Loan Xpress, now a unit of CI~ Group lnc..
A!ong with Kenn~dv and Miller, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has been campaigning
to clean up the student loan business. Cuomo has said criminal charges may result,

As the inquiry has progzessed, lenders including Citigroup Inc., Sallie Mac, JPMorgan
Chase & Co. and Bank of ~erica Corp. have agreed to a coJe of conduct recommended by
Cuomo banning school-lender financial ties, "’preferred lender"’ list payments ~rld lender
gifts to college employees.
On Tuesday, the Washington Post repcrted that the Bush a~ministration killed a plan
drafted at the end of the Clinton administration to rein in payments and gifts that
student lenders showered on college financial aid officials.

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Private- Spellings, Margaret _ _
From; McLane, Katherine
Sent: Tuesday, May 01, 2007 4:48 PM
To: Private - Spellings, Margaret; Landers, Angola; Evers, Bill: Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia;
Dorfman, Cynthia; Mesecar, Doug; Dunckel, Denise; Dunn, David; Pitts, Elizabeth; Flowers,
Sarah; McGrath, Johr~; Talbert, Kent; Briggs, Kerri; Kuzmich, Holly; Toomey, Liam; Maddox,
Lauren; Scheessele, Marc; Mcnitt, TDwnsend L.; Beaton, Meredith; Tucker, Sara Martinez;
Tada, Wendy; Halaska, Terrel!; Tracy WH; Young, Tracy; Zeff, Ken; Quades, Karen;
Bannerman, Kristin; Watkins, Tiffany; Sampson, Vincent; Conklin, Kristin; Otdham, Cheryl;
Schray, Vickie
Ditta, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof, Samara
Subject: Democrat demands White House student loan records (WP)

Democrat demands White House student loan records


By Kevin Drawbaugh
Reuters
Tuesday, M.ay 1, 2007; 4:03 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The Democratic head of the U.S. House of Representatives education committee on
Tuesday asked the Bush admini stration to turn over emails and o~er records about its oversigaht of federa!
student loan programs.
Amid a conflict of interest scandal that is sweeping through the $85 billion student loan industry, Rep. George
Miller said investigators lbr his committee had found "serious oversigh, failures by senior officials."
Miller, of California.. asked the Bush administration for records including those of Education Secretary’ Margarel
Spellings, previously a White House domestic policy’ adviser.
Miller also w~rote to Spellings seeking records from her and from former Education SecretaW Rodney Paige,
former Paige adviser Beth Am~ Bryan and other department staffers. He also asked for documents on
administration oversight of Reading First, a reading program that is a key part of President George W. Bush’s
No Child Left Behind education law.
Spellings is scheduIed to testily, on May 10 before Miller’s education panel.
Investigators for Congress and severn states are probing "allegations of misconduct and conflicts of interest
across the student loan industry’.
Miller lasl week asked for an internal inquiry at the Education Department into possible conflicts of imerest.
Another Democrat, Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, has asked Spellings to hand over personnel files
and financial disclosure reports for 27 Education Department employees. Kennedy heads the Senate’s education
committee.
Earlier this month, a manager in the Education Deparlment’s financial aid office was put on leave pending a
review of his ownership of stock in Educmion Lending Group Inc., fom~er parent of Student Loan Xpress, now
a refit of CIT Group Inc..
Along with Kennedy and Miller, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has been cmnpaigning to clean
up the student loan business. Cuomo has said criminal charges may’ result.
Investigators have accused some college aid officers of taking payments and perks from lenders in exchange for
placing the companies on "p~eferred lender" lists shovm to students.
As the inquiry has progressed, lenders including Cifigroup Inc., Sallie Mae, JPMorgan Clmse & Co. and Bank of
America Corp. have a~eed to a code of conduct recommended by Cuomo bamning school-lender fmancial ties,
"preferred lender" list payments and lender gifts to college employees.
On Tuesday, the Washington Post reported that the Bush administration killed a pim~ drafted at the end of the
Clinton administration to rein in payments and gifts that student lenders showered on college financial aid
officials.
© 2007 Reuters
Page 1 of 9

Private Spellings, Margaret


From: Neale, Rebecca
Sent: Sunday, April 29, 2007 10:44 AM
To: Cadel]o, Dennis; Halaska, Terrell; Dunn, David; Terrell, Julie; Rosenfelt, Phil; Pitts, Elizabeth;
Tucker, Sara Ma~tinez; Ruberg, Casey; Kuzmich, Holly; Scheessele, Marc; Mcnitt, Townsend L;
Flowers, Sarah; Williams, Cynthia; Toomey, Liam; Tada, Wendy; i~racy_d._young@who.eop.gov;
Reich, Heidi; Landers, Angola; Talbert, Kent; Colby, Chad; Bdggs, Ken-i; McLane, Katherine;
Simon, Ray; Private - Spellings, Margaret; Neale, Rebecca; Herr, John; Ditto, Trey; Maddox,
Lauren; Beaton, Meredith; Yudof, Samara; Gribble, Emily
Subject: Weekend News Summary, 4.29.07

Weekend News Summary


4.29.07

1. Reports On School Crimes Are Rare (WP)


2. Young, Gifted, and Not Getling Into Harvard
3.Rethinking the Palh to Prestige (NYT)
4.Has bias jeopardized reading program? (McClatchy)

1. Reports On School Crimes Are Rare


Montgomery Bucks Area Tendencies
By Daniel de Vise
The Washington Post
Sunday, April 29, 2007; C01

The recent announcement that Montgomery County school officials were starting work on an annual
report of crimes committed by studenls and other disciplinary incidents underscored a surprising fact: In
this era of heightened concern about school safety, few Washington area schoot systems regularly report
such offenses to the public.

The annual School Safety Report, slated for publication in Montgomery starting in the 2008-09
academic year, will place ihe count3.’ almost alone among Maryland and Northern Virginia school
systems in reporting detailed school crime statistics to the public, according to education leaders and
lawrnakers. In much of this region, as in much of the nation, comprehensive reports on weapons, drugs
and sex in individual public schools simply don’t exist.

Among the area’s largest school systems, only Fairfax County reports school crime data online, as part
of its searchable database of school yeport cards. One other count?, Anne Arundel, publishes a hard-
copy student discipline report Mth annual crime data for individual schools. School systems in
Montgomery, Prince George’s, Howard, Loudoun and Prince William counties publish no such
document.

"It’s all theoretically available to the public but rather difficult tn obtain," said Montgomery Counb"
Council member Phil Andrews (D-Gaithersburg-Rockville), who has pushed for annual school crime
reporting.

SchooI systems in both states report student crime statistics to their state education departments. The
state agencies, in turn, ma.ke some data available to parents, but the depth and detail of what’s available

4t22/2008
Page 2 0[’9

is widely regarded as inadequate. Neither state offers data on individual schools.

D.C. school ollicials did not respond to requests for crime data. The city’s inspector general said in 2004
that the system had failed to keep adequate records on crimes in schools.

Kenneth Trump, a national authorib’ on school saJEb’ who testified before Congress on Monday, says
the underreporting of disciplinary incidents in area schools is part of "a historical cuIture of downplay,
deny, deflect mad defend when it comes to publicly acknowledging and reporting school crimes." It’s
driven, experts say, by an overarching concern among school princip’als to protect their image and that
of their school.

"If you’re the administrator and you report what happened, you may get blamed," said Jean O’Neil,
director of research and ev’~uation at the National Crime Prevention Council in Washingto.n. "If you’re
the administrator and you don’t ~eport what happened, you may get blamed."

There are exceptions. The school district in Broward Count),, Florida, publishes annual crime tallies for
every school that cover more than 20 categories of offense. Annual school crime reports in Pem~sylvania
span more than 30 categories.

But a Washington m’ea parent interested in knowing the kind ,and amount of weapons seized at her
child’s high school in the previous academic ye~ would have greater or lesser success, depending on
M~ere she lives.

The MaD’land State Department of Education publishes an annual report on student suspensions based
on seven comparatively broad categories of offense. But the report is little-k~mwn and buried deep
within the agency’s Web site. Mar?" Jo Nell, president of the MaiTland PTA, said she has never seen it.

[he Virginia Department of Education includes crime data in i~s annual school report cards, accessible
on the agency’s Web site; Fai~fax replicates the data on its site. :But the reports offer only three specific
categories of offense -- incidenls involving firearms, other weapon offenses and fights -- and a
somewhat broader tally of "serious incidents" involving significant injury. Charles Pyle, a spokesman
for the Virginia department, said the school crime eomponen~ is "a key piece" of the reporl card: "and
it’s gotten bigger and bigger eyeD’ year."

Montgomery’s Office of Legislative Oversight last year studied how the counW’s school system reports
crimes and concluded that its practices "do not currently include the routine sharing of all serious
incidenI data with the commtmity."

Little information is shared with parents, although, the report stated, "ahnost every, parent" interviewed
voiced strong interest in knowing more about school crime. The report cited widespread concern among
school staff thai reporting crime da~a might "create the wrong impression."

Wayde B. Byard, a spokesman for Loudoun schools, invoked a common belief among educators that
parents will ~nisuse crime data to "rate schools based on arbitrm)’ statisiics that often involve students
that are no longer at a school."

Michele Menapace, the county PTA president in Fairt:ax, said a school’s reputalion for safety is "one of
the first things that comes up" when officials propose shifting school boundaries. She has not heard,
however, that parents want more information on school crime.

Jane de Winter, the count)’ PTA leader in Montgomew, said the shortage of good crime data "is

412212008
Page ] of 9

something that we hear about pretty- frequently. We have asked Jbr better data. We’ve heard parents ask
for better data."

2. Young, Gifted, and Not Getting Into Harvard


The New York Times
By Michael Winerip
April 29, 2007

On a Sunday morning a few months back, I interviewed my final Harvard applicant of the year. After
saying goodbye to the girl and watching her and her mother drive off, I headed to the beach at the end of
our street for a run.
It was a spectacular winter day, bright, sunny and cold; the tide v-as out, the waves were high, and I had
the beach to mysel£ As I ran: I thought the same thing I do after all these interviews: Another amazing
kid who won’t get into Harvard.
That used to upset me. But I’ve changed.

Over the last decade, I’ve done perhaps 40 of these interviews, which are conducted by alumni across
the country. They’re nay only remaining link to my alma mater; i’ve never been back to a reunion or a
footba]I game, mad my total donations since graduating in th~ 1970s do not add up to four figures.
No matter how glowing my recommendations, in all this time only one kid, a girl, got in, many years
back. I do not tell this to the eager, well-groomed seniors who settle onto the couch in our den. They’re
under too much pressure already. Better than anyone, 1hey know the odds, particularly for a kid from a
New York suburb.

By the time I meet them., they’re pros at working the system. Some have Googled me because they think
knowing about me will improve their odds. After the interview, many send handwritten thank-you notes
saying how much they enjoyed meeting me.

Maybe it’s true.

I used to be upsel by these attempts 1o ingratiate. Since I’ve watched my own children go through
similar tortm’e, 1 find these gestures touching. Everyone’s twing so hard_
My reason for doing these interviews has shifted over time. When I started, my kids were young, and I
thought it might give them a little advantage when they applied to Harvard. That has turned out not to be
an issue. My oldest, now a college freshman, did not apply, nor will nay lavins, who are both high school
juniors.

We are not snubbing Hmward. Even my oldest, who is my most academic son, did not quile have the
ctass rank or the SATs. His SAT score was probably t00 points too low -- Ihough it was identical to the
SAT score that got me in 35 years ago.
Why do I continue to interview? It’s very, moving meeting all these bright young people M~o won’t gel
into Harvard. Recent news articles make it sound unbearably tragic. Several Ivies, including Harvard,
rejected a record number of applicants this year.

Actually, meeting the soon-to-be rejected makes me hope[hi about young people. They are far more
accomplished than I was at their age and without a doubt wj 11 do superbly wherever they go.

4/22/2008
Page

Knowing me and seeing them is like witnessing some major evolutionary change take place in just 35
years, from the Neandertha! Harvard applicant of 1970 to today’s fully evolved Homo sapiens applicant.

There was the girl who, during summer vacation, left her house before 7 each morning to make a two-
hour train ride to a major nniversi~’, where she worked all day doing cuttiJag-edge research for NASA on
weighdessness in mice.

When I was in high school, my 10th-grade science project was on plant tropism -- a shoebox with Soil
and bean sprouts bending toward the light.

These kids who don’t get into Harvard spend summers on schooners in Chesapeake Bay studying
marine biology, building homes for the poor in Central .America, retiring Europe with all-star orchestras.

Stunmers, I dug trenches for my local sewer department during the day, and sold hot dogs at Fertway
Park at night.

As I listen to them, I can visualize their parents, striving to teach excellence. One gift I interviewed
described how her thther made her watch the 2004 convention speeches by both President Bush and
Senator John Kerry and then ~ell him which she liked better and why.

What kind of kid doesn’t get into Harvard? Well, there was the ehm~ning boy 1 interviewed w-ith 1560
SATs. He did cancer research in the summer; played two insiruments in tl~ree orchestras; and composed
his own music. He redid the computer system for his student paper, loved to cook and was writing his
ow~ cookbook. One of his specialties was snapper poached in tea and served with noodle cake.

At his age, when I got hungry, I made myself peanut butter and jam on white bread and got into
Harvard.

Some take t 0 AP courses and get top scores of 5 on all of them.

I look one AP course and scored 3.

Of course, evolution is not the same as progress. These kids have an AP history’ textbook thai has been
specially created to match the con*cut of the AP test, as well as review books and tutors tbr those tests.
We had no AP textbook; many of our readings came from primary documents, and lhere was no
Princeton Review then. 1[ ,,,,’as never tutored in anything and walked into the SATs without having seen a
sample SAT question.

As tbr my bean sprouts project, as bad it was, I did it alone. I inlerview kids who describe how their
schools provide a statistician to analyze their science project data.

I see these kids -- and watch my own applying to college -- and as evolved as they are, I wouldn’t
change places with them for anything. They’rc under such pressure.

1 used to say goodbye at my door, but since my own kids reached this age, 1 walk them out to their cars,
where a parent wails. 1 always say the same thing to the morn or dad: :’You’ve done a wondertitl job --
you should be very. proud.:’ And l mean it.

But I’ve slopped feeling bad about th.e looming rejection. When my four were little, I used to hope a
couple might go to ttarvard. [ pushed them, but by the end of middle school it was clear my twins, at

4/22/2008
Page 5 0[9

- least, were not made that way. They rebelled, and I had to learn to see who they were.

I came to maderstand that nay own focus on Harvard was a matter of not sophistication but narrowness.
grew up in ,an unworldly blue-collar environment. Getting perlbct grades and attending an elite college
v-as one of the few ways up I could see.

My four have been raised in an upper-middle-cla.ss world. They look around and see lots of avenues to
success. My wife’s two brothers struggled as students at ~nainstream colleges and both have made
wonderful full lives, one as a salesman, ~he other as a builder. Each tbund his own best path. Each
knows excellence.

That day, running on the beach, I was lost in my thoughts when a voice startled me. "Pops, hey, Pops!"
It was Sammy, one of my twins, who’s probably heading for a good state school. He was in his wetsuit,
surfing alone in the 30-degree weather, the only other person on the beach. "’~,]aat a day]" he yelled, and
his joy filled my heart.

3. Re|hinking ~he Path to Prestige


The New Yo~k Times
Peter Applebome
April 29, 20117

Richard C. Levin, president of Yale Univexsity, has a problem: too many applicants, too few slots.

Of course, this is a problem that defines success in a process in wtfich the biggest rewards go to the
universities that attract and then reject the most applieanls.

But as this year’s version of the admissions demolition derby ~,Ands do,,~,’n for exhausted high school
seniors, two interesting issues m’e posed by a proposal of Dr. Levin’s to add two new undergraduate
residential colleges at Yale: Is this a good idea for Yale? And is his larger issue his problem or ours9

If any place is on safe footing in the admissions arms race,, it’s Yale, which last year beat out its
competitors by accepting only 9 percent of applicants. (This year the rate grew to 9.6 percent as
applications dropped, perhaps because some hi~ school seniors saw the futility, of applying.) So it’s
hard to look from afar at the proposal by Dr. Levin and not think, Why aren’t others doing this? His plan
would add two new residential colleges to the 12 existing ones, which would increase each class by
about 150 students, or more than I0 percent.

As he said in an interview._ after Yale expanded to its current size in the 1960s, there were roughly 4,000
to 5,000 applicants a year for 1,300 positions in the fresl~nan class. The size of the freshman class has
remained about the same, but now there are some 20,000 applicants, including a growing number of
international ones, plus all the other desired niches of miriorit3’ students, athletes, children of alums and
the rest.

"Expansion could help relieve those pressures ~md create more opportunities for students who are just
ordinary, extremely brilliant and talented students who don’t have any of those other connections," Dr.
Levin add. "We have astonishing educational resources here. If we can educate more students and give
them exposure to the opportunities here, 1 think we can make an even more .substantial contribution to
the nation and the world.."

The proposal is just that, and a decision is likely to come near the end of the year. If expansion is

4/22/2008
Page 6 of 9

approved, chances are that construction on the two colleges would begin in 201 t and be completed in
2013.
Adding 150 slots for 20:000 applicants goes only so far, but given file eve>expanding universe of
applicants, the idea has an undeniable logic. Princeton, too, is completing an expansion that will take
undergraduate enrollment to 5,9_00 in 2012, from 4,700 in 2005. The issue is particularly salient at state
flagship institutions.
But making space for more students is no small thing; each of the colleges at Yale would cost $200
million to buitd, plus other costs for educating the new students. People have understandable won’ies
about changing the intimate culture at Yale. Sludents say’ the new colleges might have the feeling of
being too far from the heart of the campus. And, perhaps not surprisingly, students who won the
admissions ganae seem focused on protecting their place in the pecking order. "I don’t see any reason not
to just keep it selective," said Joanna Boyle, a senior from Los Angeles.

Sigh. Wttich brings us back to the broader questions worth asking. Last week, in one of those "you Can’t
make it up" episodes, Marilee 30nes, the admissions dean at the Massachusetts Institute of Teclmology,
who had been one of the strongest voices for toning dovm the college hysteria, resigned ’alter admitting
she had fabricated her own education credentials.

BUT high school counselors and admissions experts who aren’t invested in the game say there really is a
backlash building against the notions that. a college’s ranking or status is a proxy for educational quality,
and that teenagers should spend their high school years in a frenzy ofresttme building, the better to get
into the college rue!! esteemed by guidebook editors and readers.
So, most of thmn agree that if Yale can make it work, getting a few more people into the tmiversity is
almost certainly a good thing. But convincing a lot more people that there’s life beyond the 20 or so
colleges on the standard striver’s shopping list would be even better.

Even Dr. Levin says there’s something perverse about the current system, where "prestige and reputation
tend Io depend on how many students you reject."

Lloyd Thacker, a former high school guidance counselor who founded the Education Conservancy, a
nonprofit group that has become a persistent voice against admissions hysteria, criticizes what he calls
"driving under the influence of rm~kings."

The question now, he says, is who will take the lead in changing the way the game is played. A few
years back it was a fringe question. Now it’s one that a Iot of people within education, not just high
school seniors with tread marks on their backs, are asking -- even if no one has figured out what to do
about it.

"Admissions professionals are engaging in a lot of soul-searching about what we’re doing," said Barmak
Nassirian, a spokesman for the American Association of Collegiate Registrm’s m~d Admissions Officers.
"People realize the system as a whole is getting out of hand. They’re aware we have set up a system in
which rational behavior on the part of each player is contributing to a major national act of irrationality-."

4. Has bias jeopardized reading program?


Questions arise over ~he denial of a grant to lhe KC school distriel.
MeClalchy Newspapers
By Rob Hotakainen
April 29, 2007

4/22/2008
Page 7 of 9

WASHINGTON ! V~qaen the Kmasas City public schools lost federal money tbr flmJr new reading
program, Robert Slavin was plenty, distressed.

Slavin, who designed the program used in Kansas City, had seen the pattern all too often: Local officials
try to get government grants to help pay for the Success For All program mad then realize it has lkllen
out of bureaucratic favor in Washington.
"There have been many of these decisions -- this is only the latest," said Slavin, a researcher at Johns
Hopkins University- in Baltimore.
Prompted by a growing list of such complaints, the House Education Committee is looking into whether
the Bush administration steered contracts to its favorite vendors, shutting out Slavin and others.
The administration denies any favoritism.
Still, the Education Department’s inspector general has asked the J~astiee Department to examine
allegations of mismanagement and conflicts of interest that sMrl around the $6 billion federal ~ant
program, hmwn as Reading First, a centerpiece of the five-yeax-old No Child Left Behind taw,

Inspector General John Higgins said his office began investigating Reading First after receiving
complaints in May 2005.

He lold the House conwnittee that the law passed by Congress called tbr a balanced panel of experts to
review ~ant applications but that the department had reeared a panel that had professional ties to a
specific reading program.

U.S. Rep. George Miller.. a California Democrat and the committee’s chairman, said in an April 20
hearing that committee invesligators lbund tt~ee people involved in the reviewing process had benefi~ed
financially, either direc@ or indirectly.

At the hearing, the three panel members acknowledged that they benefited from the sale of an
assessment product called the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Learning Skills, or DIBELS. One of
the panel members was a co-author of the product, and the company in which he owned a 50 percent
share received more than $1.3 million in royalties and other payments from the sale of DIBELS.

The two other panel members ’~.ere co-authors of a reading-intervention product that was packaged with
DIBELS, and they each received about $150,000 in royally payments *br the sale of the product.

But all three denied any conflim of interest, saying they did not vote on their own products as part of the
gram reviews. They also said their products were selling because of their populariD’, not because of any
pressure from Washington.

Bush administration officials are defending the Reading First gran~ progreun, which is part of the
president’s effort to get all schoolchildre-n reading by lhird grade. They point to rising test scores since
the program began in 2002.

In a report earlier this month, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said that from 2004 to 20t)6, the
percentage of firs,-graders who me~ or exceeded proficiency increased 14 percentage points, from 43
percenl to 57 percenl. She said that during the stone period the percentage of third-graders who met or
exceeded proficiency rose 7 percentage points, from 36 percent to 43 percent.

4/22/2008
Page 8 of 9

Christopher Dohe~_, who managed the Reading First program for five years, said the Education
Department never maintained a list of favored reading programs.

one was ever told they must use a certain program or programs instead of others," said Doherty,
left the post last year.

One of Reading First’s biggest defenders is the president. SpeWing Tuesday- at a school in the New
York neighborhood of Harlem, Bush said: "I appreciate the fact that nationwide, 9-year-olds have made
more progress in five years than in the previous 28 years combined on these tests in reading
The....
pipelhae is beginning to be flfll of little readers that are competent readers."

But Spellings is sure to be on the hot seat May 10, when she will testify, before the House Education
Con~rtittce on her department’s oversight of the program.

Congress approved Reading First as a way to help punic schools improve reading instruction by giving
them federal money to pay for teacher training and materials.

When Kansas City lost its $3 million reading grant, school officials blmaaed a poor application by the
district, not bias.

But Siavin said Kansas City’s .experience was clearly linked to the widening probe on Capitol Hill.
"There’s not the slightest question in my mind," he said.

While grant reviewers are allowed lo conduct their work anonymously, Slavin said he had asked the new
~der’~ Reading First director to examine exactly what went wrong with Kansas City’s applicatipn.

Kansas City, officials said they ~vere aware of the controversy in Washington artd they were doing more
analysis of the district’s failed bid.

"There is a lot of smoke in the ~oom,:’ Superintendent Anthony Amato said. "We have to analyze this. I
don’t know if we were caught in the cross hairs with that," he said, relErring to the alleged bias against
Success For All.

Amato said that the district had sent a letter to state officials, asking for a full review of its bid. "I’m not
giving np on this," he stfid.

At Amato’s urging, most of K,-msas City’s schools have used Success For All this year. But the district
was denied money to expand the program to 15 schools that were using other Reading First curricula.
The Success For All program has generated controversy in the district, partly because il was installed so
quickly.

Supporters say that the program, which emphasizes phonics, is a good way to reach young children from
poor families.

Under Success For All, pupils are grouped by their reading levels, not grades. For 90 minutes each day,
nearly all teachers in a school teach reading by the script. No interruptions are allowed.

,At the April 20 hearing, Miller said investigators had found examples "where states were essentially
bullied" to use favored reading programs in order ~o get federal aid.

4/22/2008
Page 9 or 9

An associate commissioner with the Kentucky Department of Education testified that the state was
pressured by then-Reading First Director Doherty to &’op one ofils reading assessments and that it
quickly received federal funding after doing so.

Miller said the federal program can be added ’~to that long and growing list of instances of the
administration operating outside the law."

He said congressional in-~’estigators had been investigating for months, reviewin~o thousands of
documents and inte~wiewing dozens of people.

Sen. Edward M. Kermedy, the head of the Senate’s Education Committee, said the Bush administration
has a record "of political manipulation m~d cronyism that have tainted" the reading program. The
Massachusetts Democrat said that "schools across the cotmtry were pressured into rising specific reading
curricula that were backed by the programs" administrators’ political agendas."

Slavin, who filed a formal complaint with the Education Department alleging bias, has worked on the
St~ccess For All reading program for more than two decades. His program has been used at more than
1,200 schools, and he is still pea-plexed why it felt out of favor in Washin~on. Slavin said that even with
Doherty gone, the bias remains.

"They’ve done nothing to deal with the fact that the program was set up to exclude certain programs,
despite their evidence of effectiveness," Slavin said.

As the investigations continue, Democratic leaders promise to tighten controls.

Kennedy has introduced a bill that would require federal employees and contractors involved in Reading
First to file yearty t]nancial disclosures showing any ties to publishers or organizations that benefit from
the program. His bill also would increase monitoring in an attempt to enmtre that no federal employee
uies to influence or control local curriculum decisions.

4/22/2008
From: Ruberg, Casey
Sent: Friday, April 27, 2007 8:39 AM
To; Private - Spellings, Margaret; Landers, Angola; Evers, Bill; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia;
Dorfman, Cynthia; Mesecar, Doug; Dunckel, Denise; Dunn, David; Pills, Elizabeth; Flowers,
Sarah; McGrath, John; Talbert. Kent; Briggs, Kerri; Kuzmich, Holly; Toomey, Liam; Maddox,
Lauren; Scheessele, Marc; Mcnitt, Tc~vnsend L.; Beaton, Meredith; Tucker, Sara Martinez;
l-ada, Wendy; Halaska, Terrell; ’Tracy WH’; Young, Tracy; Zeff, Ken; Ditto, Trey; Neale,
Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrelt, Julie; Yudof, Samara
Subject: Student Loan Industry Stories (6)

Inquiry Into Student Loan Industry Widens (NYT)


Loan Probes May Cut Students’ Costs (USNEWS)
Panel Backs Student Loan Oversight Bill (DMR)
Mo. Forgiving $500 On Some Student Loans (AP)
Rendell Wants Student.loan Agency To Free Up More Cash For Grants
Kennedy requests info on 27 ED employees (Education Daily)

Inquiry Into Student Loan Industry Widens (NYT)


The New York Time~, April 27, 2007
Investigations by lawmakers into the student loan industry expanded yesterday as Representative George Miller, Democrat
of California and chairman of the House education committee, sent a teller to the inspector genera! of the Education Department
asking for a review of the department’s policies against conflicts of interest and the financial disclosure forms of employees
overseeing the federal loan program.
Mr. Miller’s loller follows one sent Wednesday by Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts and chairman
of the Senate education committee, asking for "complete personnel flies" for 27 department employees.
Mr. Kennedy has aIso begun to explore how student loan companies collect repayment.
In a ietter, he said that two large lenders, Sallie Mae and l’,~elnet, may have made harassing phone calls lo borrowers; 1tied
to collect from elderly or disabled borrowers; and refused to negotiate with bo~owers or= repayment deferrals, among other
tactics.
Tom Joyce, a spokesman for Sallie Mae, said that the company would cooperate with Mr. Kennedy’s investigation but
criticized it for being conducted ~through press releases.’
A Nelnet spol<esman, Ben Kiser, said that the company was reviewing Mr. Kennedy’s letter and that it would cooperate.

Loan Probes May Cut Students’ Costs (USNEWS)


By Kimberly Palmer
U.S. News and World Report, April 27, 2007
Students with loans may soon benefit from the ongoing investigations of lenders and schools. The resulting policy changes
are likely to lower interest rates and other financial aid costs.
tn March, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said he had uncovered deceptive practices in the loan industry,
including examples of lenders giving schools and employees financial incenlives for putting them on "preferred lender" lisls.
Cuomo has since announced lhat 16 schools as well as the four largest lenders-Sallie Mae, Citibank, Bank of America, and
JPMorgan Chase-have agreed to cedes of conduct that prohibit these kinds of exchanges.
These new codes of conduct will probably directly affect lhe amount of money studenls pay for college, says Robert
Shireman, executive director of 1he Project on Student Debt, a Berkeley, Calif.-based nonprofit. First, the interest rate on student
loans was likely Io have been inllated between a half and a full percentage point because schools failed to properly negotiate the
best deals for students, he says. Second, students may have taken out loans instead of receiving grants because schools had a
financial incentive to encourage loans. -Ihird, schools may have encouraged s!:udents to use expensive private lenders, with
interest rates of up to 20 percent, because the schools received portions of the revenue generated, instead of pointing sludents
toward cheaper loans, adds Shireman.
At some schools, the investigation has already translated into more money in students’ waltels. Cuorno’s office has signed
settlements with New York University, Syracuse University, and the University of Pennsylvania, among others, that required the
schools to pay students for the money that the schools accepted fror~ lenders. At the University of Pennsylvania, the payment
worked out to about $500 per student
"$500 per student is a lot of money, especially with the cost of college and all the i’inancial pressures that are on the
students," Cuomo said at a congressional hearing this week.
Shireman says that schools lhat are not part of the investigation are also rethinking their student loan processes. "It has an
effect in lerms of other lenders and schools and not wanting to get caught up in controversy and therefore being more cautious
about what lhey do," he says.
"The market itself is demanding a response," Cuomo said at the hearing, "as studenls, now informed, are asking the tough
questions, and lenders must change their practices or risk losing business."
While students stand to benefil, next year’s batch of college freshmen, wfio are in the midst of deciphering their financial
aid options, may lind the process more confusing than usual.
"At some schools, where they are trying to make sure they haven’t stepped over the line, they’re going to be reluctant to
provide very much advice. That can be difficult for students,’ says Shireman.
More changes are most likely on the way. Rep. Buck McKeon, a California Republican, introduced a bill this week lhat
would require schools to develop codes of conduct that restrict gift-giving from lenders to schools and to more fully disclose why
schools recommend certain lenders over others. Rep. George Miller, the California Democrat who chairs the House Education
Cornmiltee, had previously introduced a bill that would prohibit lenders from giving gifts to school employees.
Panel Backs Student Loan Oversight Bill (DMR)
By Jennifer Janeczko Jacobs
Des Moines Reqister, April 27, 2007
No wrongdoing has been found in Iowa, but a senalor says lhe state needs to ’get out in front’ on the issue.
In the wake of student loan scandals elsewhere in the country, Iowa lawmakers want to take steps to protect college
students here from any possible deceptive lending practices in the studenl loan industry.
"Let rne stress 1hat I know of nothing at all that has really happened in Iowa yet," said Sen. Tom Courtney, a Democrat from
Burlington. "There is no one at all in Iowa being accused of doing anything wrong, but we’ve learned I’rom experience that we
need to gel out in front."
On Wednesday, lhe Senate Government Oversight Committee voted 3-1 to pass Senate SIudy Bill 1360, which is modeled
after a bill pending in the New York legislature.
New York Attorney G~.neral Andrew Cuomo has accused lenders of paying colleges financial incentives to help push their
loans to students and their families. He has won $6.5 million in setllemenls from lenders, and several universities in New York
have agreed to stop participating in revenue-sharing with tenders.
A dominant force in Iowa’s student loan industry is Iowa Studenl Loan Liquidity Corp., a nonprofit organization created by
the state in I979 to improve Iowans’ access to higher education.
Courtney called for a state audit of the organiza%n in February. "It hasn’t been audiled in a long time, and the oversig ht’s a
Jittle light," he said Wednesday.
One senator, Republican Ron Wieck of Sioux City, voted against the bell Wednesday, saying he thinks lawmakers should
wait until Auditor David Vaudt’s report is finished in June before deciding what aclion to take.
Eric Tabor, the Iowa attorney general’s chief of staff, said his office supports the/egislalion. The Iowa attorney general was
one of 40 who padicipated in a recent conference call with the New York attorney general, listening to advice on how to curb
deceptive student lending practices.
N1orneys general in Minnesota, Cennecticul, Ohio, Missouri, Illinois and California have recently said they’re investigating
studenl len[fing practices in their states.
Tabor said Iowa could also ask colleges to voluntarily comply with a code of conduct that bans lenders from paying for trips
for college employees, and governs olher aspects of financi!l aid offices’ relationships with lenders.
For Senate SIudy Bill 1360 to become law, it would need to pass the full Iowa Senate and House before this session ends.
Reporter Jennifer Janeczko Jacobs can be reached at (515) 284-8127 or jejacobs@dmreg.cem
Mo. Forgiving $500 On Some Student Loans (AP)
AP, April 27, 2007
JEFFERSON CITY, Me, (AP) -- More than 9,300 college freshmen are getting a $500 break on their student loans,
courtesy of lhe state’s college loan authority.
The Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority said today that it was forgiving up 1o $500 of loans for each freshman who
has both a federal Poll Grant and a MOHELA loan. The program generally wilt affect students from low-income families.
The ban forgiveness program will cost the Chesterfield-based agency more than $4.6 million.
MOHELA regularly offers interest4ate reductions and loan-forgiveness programs as part of its mission as a quasi-
governmental loan authority to expand access to higher education.
Associate Director Quentin Wilson said the authority had chosen to target this particular break to low-income freshman to
try to encourage them to continue in college.
I-he agency made its announcement a day after the Missouri Senate passed legislation Io take $350 million from MOHELA
over six years to finance Gov. Matl Blunf’s dollege construction plan. ]hat bill now advances to the House.
MOHELA already has set aside $212 million -- generated partly by selling off thousands of loans made to non-Missourians
- to make il its initial state payment of $230 million called for by Sept. 15 under [he bill.
Wilson said the anticipated state payment had not affected the amount of money MOHELA decided to dedicate to the
freshman loan forgiveness program.
Rendell Wants Student.loan Agency To Free Up More Cash For Grants (AP)
AP, April 27, 2007
HARRISBURG, Pa. -Gov. Ed Rendell’s administration is proposing to reduce the amount of money the state’s student-loan
agency must contribute toward health benefits for retirees, which will free up an additional $11 million for state grants to college
students in the 2007-08 school year.
The proposed policy change would affect contributions that the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency must
make toward the administration’s retiree health benefits program, Budget Secretary Michael Masch said Thursday.
Masch, who presented the proposal at a meeting of PHEAA’s board of directors, said the agency asked the administration
in December Io look into its contribution rate because riley believed it was high compared to other state agencies.
The formula for each agency’s contribution rule takes into account the ratio of active employees to retirees, Masch said.
While most olher agencies have two to lhree active employees for each retiree, PHEAA’s ratio is 10-to-l, he said.
"We’ve been pressuring them since this administration began to put more of their very ample accumulated profits into aid Io
students, rather than letting il sit there unproductively," Masch said.
PHEAA originally planned to use $60 million from its student-loan proceeds for the grant program. With the reduced retiree
health benefit contribution requirement and other savings, it will be able to spend $75 million on the grants, PHEAA spokesman
Keith New said.
"it was well received and welcomed," New said of the administration’s proposal. "It was certainly a proposal that the board
embraced."
The agency would still like state lawmakers to increase the state’s share of funding for the grants, New said. Rendetl’s
2007-08 budget calls for maintaining the stale’s current $386 million appropriation and asks PHEA.4 to supplement it with nearly
$8g million in student-loan proceeds.
The granl program currently provides awards of up to $4,500 a year to more than !66,000 students. The granls do not have to
be repaid.

Kennedy requests info on 27 ED employees (Education Dail)


By Patti Mohr
Education Daily, April 27, 2007
As House members scrutinized charges of conflict of interest deals in the $85 billion sludenl: loan industry, a key .Senate
Democrat launched an investigation into decision making by Education Department employees working in the student aid
division.
In a leller sent to Education Secretary Margaret Spellings lale Wednesday, Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., chairman of
the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, asked for the complete personnel files and financial disclosure
reports of 27 employees, including several high-level officials.
Kennedy’s letter is in response to reports that an ED official, Matteo Fontana, held $100,000 of stock in a company he
oversaw,
Though SpEllings dismissed lhe employee, and ordered a review of federal ethics and financial disclosure roles fol[ow~ng
the reports, the actions were not enough to assure Kennedy that the department is effectively preventing conflicts of interest.
While expressing "grave concern° about ED’s ethics process, Kennedy said the facts of the Fontana case raise doubts
about "the department’s ability to police itself."
Kennedy’s request comes on the heels of a hearing by lhe House Education and Labor Committee, where New York
Attorney General An(frew Cuomo accused ED of being "asleep at the switch" while a culture of unethical practices developed in
the student loan industry.
Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., who has accused the department of political cronyism, scheduled a May 10 hearing where he
plans to query Spellings about her oversight of ED’s programs, including its management of Readbg Firsl and federal !oans. On
Thursday, Miller called for an independent ED Office of Inspector General investigatior~ into conflicts of interest in federal student
loan programs.
While Spelings has vociferously defended the department’s record, the growing scrutiny by the top lwo Democrats in charge of
educalion policy underscores lhe growing tension between Congress and the Bush administration.
Private - Spellings, Margaret
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: Wednesday, April 25, 2007 9:09 AM
To: Private - Spellings, Margaret; Conaty, Joseph; Farris, Amanda; Rosenfelt, Phil; Landers,
Angela; Evers, Bill; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dorfman, Cynthia; Mesecar, Doug;
Dunckel, Denise; Dunn, David; Pitts, Elizabeth; Flowers, Sarah; McGrath, John; Talbert, Kent;
Briggs, Kerri; Kuzmich, Holly; Toorney, Liam; Maddox, Lauren; Scheessele, Marc; Mcnitt,
Townsend L.; Beaton, Meredith; Tucker, Sara Martinez: Tada, Wendy; Halaska, Terrell; Tracy
WH; Young, Tracy; Zeff, Ken
C¢: Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, J’ulie; Yudof, Samara
Subject: Stale Data Show Gains In Reading (EDWEEK)

State Data Show Gains In Reading (EDWEEK)


l~y Kathleen Kennedy Manzo
Education Weekj Apd125, 2007
Washington
Schools taking part in the federal Reading First program are showing significant progress in boosting students’ reading
fluency and comprehension, according to state-reported data compiled by the U.S. Depadment of Education and released last
week.
In releasing for the first time detailed, multiyear data on how Reading First schools are performing on key measures,
federal officials hailed [he results as solidi evidence that the $1 billion-a-year initiative is working,
"We are very pleased with the outcomes we’ve seen from this data," said Amanda Farris, a deputy assistant secretary for
elementary and secondary educalion in the department. "This shows tremendous gains for our neediest students in our neediest
schools."
But some observers questioned whether the data should be used to generalize about the program’s impact on students’
reading skills, They also noted the timing of the report’s release, on the eve of what was expected Io be a contentious
congressional hearing late last week into allegations of mismanagement and conflict ofinteresl in the program.
The analysis of test results from about half the states-those thal reported baseline data on participating schools-shows
about a 15 percent improvement in the proportion of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders who can read fluently, meaning accurately and at
an appropriate rate. In measures of reading comprehension, those states averaged about a 12 percent increase in the number of
3rd graders who were deemed proficient. Studenls in most subgroups also saw gains.
The repod does not include information on the progress of schools that are similar to those in the program, making it
difficult to atlribute the gains to the federal initiative.
"There are some small gains, yes, But are they larger than gains in non-Reading First schools?" said Richard A. Alfington, a
professor of education at the Universil:y of Tennessee in Knoxville, "We don’t know whether improvements are related to the
Reading First model or to general improvement trends across all schools."
Improvement Reported
The thick binder of state-level summaries released by Ihe Education Department on April 19 includes t~st results for Ist
through 3rd graders from 2002 to 2006. Results are broken dowr~ into subgroups by race and socioeconomic status, as well as
for English-language learners and students with disabilities.
To measure reading fluency, most of the states relied on an assessment called lhe Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early
Literacy Skills, or DIBELS, which scores how many words in a grade-level passage students can read in one minute. States set
their own benchmarks for determining proficiency, so the scores are not comparable across states, For assessing
comprehension, or students’ understanding of what they read, states used a variety of tests, including the Iowa Tests of Basic
Skills, the Stanford Achieverr~ent Test, the TerraNova, and state exams. In most states, students showed significantly" more
improvement in tluency than in comprehension.
Some states reported that. mosl of their Reading First districts showed improvements ol: at least 5 percentage poinls in lhe
two categories. California, for example, reported that nearly three-fourths of its Reading First districts showed significantly better
rates of proficiency in comprehension among 2nd graders, while 37 percent of such districts did so for 3rd graders. Oregon
officials, meanwhile, reported that all their participating districts had shown improvements in reading fluency among 2rid graders,
while nearly/80 percenl did for comprehension at that grade level.
Reading First was authorized as part of the No Child Left Behind Act, which President Bush signed into law five years ago,
to ensure that struggling schools had access to research-based programs, assessments, and teacher professional development
in the subject. Most states began receiving their share of annual funding in 2002 and 2003.
The program has been under scrutiny by federal auditors, who have been responding to complaints from several
commercial vendors that federal prog ram officials and consultants favored particular reading texlbooks, assessments, and
approaches over others and directed state officials to use cedain products, which the NCLB law prohibits.
The Education Depadment’s inspector general largely substantiated those cfaims, as did a separate review by the
Government Accounbability Office, the inves~.igative arm of Congress. ("Reading Probe Will Continue on Capitol Hill," April 4,
2007.)
The House Education and Labor Committee conducted an Apd120 hearing into the program, with witnesses who included
Christopher J. Doherty, the former Reading First director in the Education Department, and Edward J. Kame’enui, a prominent
former consultant to Reading First who is now the commissioner of the department’s National Center for Special Education
Research.
The department’s inspeclor general, John P. Higgins Jr., who oversaw the six recent reports his office has released on the
program, also testified,
Timing Questioned
Reading First has earned praise, however, from state officials for providing the kind of money, other resources, and
technical assistance they say is necessary to fuel significant changes in reading instruction and achievement.
Two reports released last year, one commissioned by the Education Department and another by an independent policy
group, found that most states were satisfied with the program and repoded achievement gains in participating schools.
"Participating schools and districts have matte many changes in reading curriculum, instruction, assessment, and
scheduling," lhe report by 1he Washington-based Center on Educatior~ Policy said. °Many districts have expar~ded Reading First
instruclional programs and assessment sfstems to non-Reading First schools."
Neither of the reports, though, included test-score data or other empirical information to show the program’s impact on
students’ reading skills.
Such data have generally been unavailable because many stales did not start reporling test results until 2004. The Institute
for Education Sciences, the Educatior~ Department’s research arm, is in the midst of a study of Reading First that will analyze the
st.ate data and compare those findings with test results from a control group of other schools that are also in the federal Title I
program for disadvantaged students. The results of that study are due out next year.
The slate data-reported annually as required under the Reading First program-have not been easily accessible until now. In
previous years, the data were closely held by Education Bepartment officials and not released to the public at large. Over the
past several years, Education Week has been allowed to review the state perrormance reports and lengthy data summaries only
after repeated requests.
Members of Congress have apparently also found it difficult to gain access to such information. In response to last week’s
data release, Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., sent a le[ler to Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings asking why the department
had not released information on state Reading First programs until this month, even though it was requested by the House
education committee several months ago.
The committee, which Rep. Miller chairs, held its investigative hearing last Friday into charges that Reading First was
mismanaged, and that federal officials overstepped their authority in direcling states on their choice of reading texts and
assessments in padicipating districts.
°It is obvious that a great deal of time went inlo preparing and formatting lhis report," Rep. Miler wrote in his letter to Ms.
Spellings. "It is therefore clear that much of the information requested by committee investigalors was available earlier than the
date it was provided.°
Education Department officials said last week that 1hey have been working to make more information on Reading First
available to the public and chose to release the state performance results as a first step.
But while some of the raw results, along with a fact sheet and press release drafted by the depadment, appeared to
strengthen officials’ contentions that Reading First is working, some experts said they were not convinced that such conclusions
could be drawn from the available data.
"The information that they are reporting doesn’t really support the notion thai this program has had an effect, but that’s not
to say that it hasn’t-there just isn’t the data to support that claim," said John A, Nunnery, an assistant professor of education
leadership and counseling at Old Dominion Universily, in Norfolk, Va., who teaches graduate courses on research methods and
program evaluation. ’If you look at lhe storewide results in some of those states, they had similar or better gains as a whole. So
everyone is going up."
26, Issue 34, Pages 1,27
P__ri=vate. Spellings,, M~rg_ aret .......

From: McLane, Kal:herine


Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2007 8:50 AM
To: Pdval:e - Spellings, Margaret; Conaty, Joseph; Farris, Amanda; Landers, Angela; Evers, Bil!;
Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dorfman, Cynthia; Mesecar, Doug; Dunckel, Denise; Dunn,
David; Pitts, Elizabeth; Flowers, Sarah; McGrath, John; Talbert, Kent; Briggs, Kerri; Kuzmich,
Holly; Toomey, Liam; Maddox, Lauren; Scheessele, Marc; Mcnitt, Townsend L.: Beaton,
Meredith; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Tada, Wendy; Halaska, Terrell; [racy WH; Young, Tracy;
Zeff, Ken; Quarles, Karen; Bannerman, Kristin; Watkins, Tiffany; Sampson, Vincent
Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof, Samara
Subject: Congress prepares I:o reform Reading First {Education 13ally)

Congress prepares to reform Reading First (Education Daily)


By Kris Kitto
Education Daily, April 24, 2007
Plans for the future of Reading First seem to be moving forward despite ongoing ethics investigations as members from
both chambers of Congress and both sides of the aisle introduced legislation or amendments late last week that would reform
the grand-scale literacy program..
Both proposals focus on ridding the program of possible situations of conflict of interest and redefining the Education
Department’s purview over the cunicula used in the initiative aimed at improving literacy among disadvantaged children,
Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., chairman d the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensbns Committee, released a
statement after Friday’s House hearing on Reading First’s management issues calling on Congress to ’prevent this type of
political manipulation and cronyism from being repeated in federal education programs under the Elementary and Secondary
Education Act.’
His proposed amendments to the No Child Left Behind Act would block federal contractors or subcontractors from
influencing state and local curricula decisions and would require all federal employees, contractors and subcontraclmrs to fully
disclose any ties to entities that would benefit from NCLB program funds.
In Fdday’s hearing, former Reading First Director Chris Doherly revealed that he failed to disclose his wife’s status as a
consultant for Direct Instruction, a popular Reading First curriculum, in all but one of his yearlyfinancial disclosure forms, calting
the oversight an ’innocent mistake.’
The hearing also brought to the forefront possible strong-arming from ED on reading curricula and assessment issues.
Kentucky Education Department Associate Commissioner Slarr Lewis testit;ed that the state’s Reading First proposal was
rejected throe times before ED granted its approval, t-he main difference between the rejecled proposals and the one that was
accepted, she said, was the state’s inclusion of the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Eady Literacy Skills, an assessment written by
an Eli subcontractor and endorsed in an official department guide on Reading First.
In lhe House, Reps, Howard ’Buck’ McKeon, R-Calif., and Mike Castle, R-DeI., introduced the Reading First Improvement
Act, H.R. t939, which focuses on [he same two issues - conflicts of inlerest and management- brought up in Kennedy’s
amendments,
’The Reading First program is too important and successful Io aIIow it to fall pretly to management questions,’ McKeon said
in a statement.
Center on Education Policy President Jack Jennings said the literacy program’s reform will occupy a prominent spot in the
reauthorization of the No Child Lerl Behind Act, and it will happen in a bipartisan fashion.
’1 think that Republicans are emban’assed, and they’re trying to recoup by supporting amendments that address the
problems,’ he said. ’They’re playing defensive ball, as they say.’
Neither proposal mentions funding - a good sign, experls said, for the program that has made strides in early childhood
literacy gains despile the cloud of controversy.
Cynthia G. Brown, lhe director of educalion policy at [he Center for American Progress, said she thinks lawmakers
recognize the program’s achievements and are prepared to continue funding it,
’t think that billion dollar program is extraordinarily important if we’re going to close achievement gaps in this country,’ she
said.
Private T Spellings, Margaret
From: Yudof, Samara
Sent: Saturday, April 21, 2007 11:48 AM
Private -Spellings, Margaret; Dunn, David; Simon, Ray; Tucker, Sara (Restricted); Maddox,
Lauren; Talbert, Kent; Halaska, Terrell; Kuzmich, Holly; Briggs, Kerri; Mcni~, Townsend L.;
Flowers, Sarah; Young, Tracy; tracy_d.__young@who.eop.gov; Wi!liams, Cynthia; Tourney,
Liam; Tada. Wendy; Reich, Heidi; Landers, Angela; Colby, Chad; McLane, Katherine; Neale,
Rebecca; Herr, John; Ditto, Trey; Beaten, Meredith; Gribble, Emily; Oldham, Cheryl; Neale,
Rebecca; Carietlo, Dennis; Terrell, Julie; Rosenfelt, Phil; Pitts, Elizabeth; Ruberg, Casey;
Scheessele, Mare
Subject; 04.21.07 In the News

Attachments: 042107 In the News.dec

042107 In the
"~ews.doc {111 KB..,
04,21.07 Ix the News

The WashingTon Post: Key !nihiati-~e Of ’NO Child’ Under Federal Investigation; Officials
Profited From Reading First Program (Amit

The Washington Post: Federal Overseer Of Student Loans Invested in ],enders; She Owned
Stock in 5 Large Firms (.~~it Palmy)

The Washington Post: Fe~ty, Jar~ey and Bobb Pledge United Effort to Address Issues (Theola
Labb~- }
The Waskington Post: Opinions: Nurse for ~ecica? (John Morrow)

The Ne~- York Times: Student L.emder Discloses Ties to Collages That Included GiFts to
Officials (Sam Dillon)
The New York Times: Colleges Relying on Lenders zo Counsel Students (JulJe

Ass.~c~at.ed Press: InvesLiqator makes Justice Departmen?. referral in co~]trove~sial f~deral


reading progza~ (Jesse Holland)

USA Today: Readi.ng progra~ to get Justice revj~ew (~reg Toppo)

Bloo-~erg; Gcnzales Among Appointees on School Vio]erlce Panel (Julianna Go!:.Pnan}

FOX News: Saving ’No Child Left Behind’ From Itself ~Dan Lips)

The Washington Post

Key Inftiative Of ’NO Child~ [;nder £ederal Investigation

OfficiaLs Profited From Reading f’irst Pro}gram

~y ~it R, Paley, Washlng:on Post


April 21, 2007

The Justice Department is co<~ductil]g a probe of a $6 billion reading initiati.ve at the


center of President Brush’s No Child Ls¢t Behind law, another blow to a program besieged by
allegations of financia~ conflicts of interest and crortyism, people familiar with th~
m~tter saJ.d yesterday.
The disclosure came as a congressional hear-~,.g re~ealed how people implementing the $i
billion-a-year Reading First program made at least $i million off textbooks and tests
toward which the federal government steered szates.

"That sounds like a criminal enterprise to me," said Rap. George Miller ~O-Calif.),
chairman of the House ednzation committee, which he].d a five-hour investigative hearing.
"You don’t get tc override the law," he angrily told a pane! of Reading First officials.
"But: the fact of the matter is that you did,"

The Education Department’s inspector general, John P. Higgins Jr_, said he has made
several referrals to the Justice Department ~bout the five-year-old program, which
provides grants to improme re~dSng for children in k.~dergarten through third grade.

Higgins declined to offer mor’e specifics, hut Christopher J. Ooherty, former director of
Reading First, said in an interview- that he was questio~.:ed by Justice officials in
November. The civil division of the U.S. attorney’s cff~ce for the DZstrict, which can
bring criminal charges, is reviewing the matter.
Puberty, one of the two Education Department employees who oversaw the initiative,
acknowl~dged yesterday that his wife had worked for a decade as a paid consultant for a
readin~ program, Direct Instruction, that investigators said he improperly tYied to forme
schools to use. He repeatedly failed to disclose the conflict on financial disclosure
forms.

"I’m very proud of this program and my role in this pro.~ram," DohertZ said in the
interview. "I t.bink it’s been implemented in accordance ~ith the law."

The management of Reading First has come under attacks fr.cm members of both parties.
Federal investigators say pr.~gram officials improperly forced .... ate~. to use certain t~sts
and tax<books created by those officials.

One official, Roland H. Good III, said his company made $1.3 million off a reading test,
known as DIBEL$, th.~t was endorsed by a Reading First evaluation pane! he sat on. Good,
who owns half the company, 0ynamic Meas~!rer~ent Group, .~old the committee tha~ he donated
royalties From the .oroduct to the U[:iv~rsity of Cregcn, where ~e is an associate
pro[essor.

Two former University o2 Oregon reseat_chef’s on the panel, Edward J. Kame’enui and .Deborah
C. Si~.uuons, sa~d they received about $150,000 in royalties la-st yea’r for a program that is
now packaged with DIBELS. ’.[hey testified that they -_~eceived smaller royalties in previous
years for the .~::c.gram, Scott Foresman Early Rea.dl;~g interver;tion, 9rid did not know it was
being sold with DImELs.

Members of the pad:e± said they focused themselves from voting on their ow~’. products but
did asNes.s their competitors. Of 24 tests approved by .h.~ co~,~ittee, seven were tied to
members of the panel.

"Z ragsat the percepnion of conflicts of intercst," said l<ame’enuJ, former chairman of the
committee, ~:ho now works at the department as commissioner of the Nationa! Center for
Special Ed~c~tion Rcs.earch. "But there was no real conflict of interest being engaged in."
The in<_ricate finar, c.~al connections between Reading First. pro.ducts and program officials
extend beyond issues she c[,r.~itree explored
Another xesea~cher, Sharon Vsughn, woxked with Kam~’enui, Si~m0ns and Good to design
Vcyage~ [?niversal Literacy, a progra~: that Reading First officials urged states to use.
Vaughn was director o± B center at she Un£versit~ of T~xas that was hired to provide
states advice o[: selecting Reading Pits[ tes[s and hooks.

The publisher cf zhai: proguct., voyager Expanded Learning, was -~ounde~ and run by Randy
Best, a major B~ssh. campaign contributor, who sold the cc.mpany i~ 2005 fo~ more than $350
mi|liono Now Best runs Highe~- Ed Holdings, a company that develops colleges of education,
where former education secre~;.ary F.oderick R. Paise is a senior adviser and C-.. Reid Lyon,
Bush’s former reading adviser, is an executive vice president.

"I’m very disappointed and s~ddened by the information: that ~o.~aspro~..d-’ e:~ ..... a< the hearing.
today," said L,ion, who had .......
~= n a strong defender of Reading First, which he said had
2
nothing to do with his ne~~ job. "The issues appear much more serious than I had been led
to understand,"
Despite the controversy surrounding Reading First’s management, the percentage of students
in the program who are proficient on fluency tests has risen about i5 percent, Education
Departmei:t officials said. School districts across th8 country praise the program.
Members of both parties continue to support the goals of Reading First even as they attack
J.ts management. Miller and Senate education committee Chairman Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.)
joined Republicans yesterday in pledging £o tighten restrictions on conflicts o£ interest
in No Ch~].d Left Behind.

gducation Secretary Margaret Spellings, who declined to comment yesterday, has said
management problems with Reading First "reflect individual mistakes." But Doherty said
nearly every aspect of the program was carefully monitored by the department and the White
House, where SpellJ.nq was Bnsh’s top education adviser.
"This program was always firmly under the watch and control of the highest levsls of the
government~" Doherty said.

Staff writer Carol D. LeonnLq contributed to th£s report.

The Washington Post


Federal Overseer Of Studen~ Loans Invest~.d in Lenders She Owned Stock in .5 Large Firms

By ,~m~it R~ Paley, Washington Post Staff Writer?


Saturday, ~.pri] 21, 2007; D01

The No. 3 official in the U.S. Department of Education, who oversees the student loan
industry, had more than $]0,000 invested in student lenders, according to documents
released last night.
Sara Martinez Tucks.r, the agency’s undersecretary responsible for financial aid and higher
educmtion, reported the shares in financial disclos’ore forms filed in October 2006 and
release~ yesterday in response tea request from The Washington Post.

The department said she had not violated any ethics rules, which prohibit employees from
working on matters involving a company in which zhey hold more than $15,000 in stock. The
forms show that Tucker held $2,745 in Bank of America, $2,597 in Citlgroup, Si, 923 in
Wells Fargo, $1,134 in J.P. Morgan Chase and $1,615 in Wachevia. Those companSes are five
of the six fargoat student lenders.

The disclosure comes in the midst of a widening student loan scanda! exposing financial
ties among le~~ders, univers.ities and government officials. Matteo Fontana, another
:]epartment official who helped oversee the $85 billion-a-year industry, was suspended this
month after reveiaticns that he held more than $100,00,3 worth of stock in a single loan
company.

Martinez Tucker, who declined Lo cc~ent through ~ spokeswoman, was confirmed by the
Senate late iasa year. She previously was president of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund,
which has awarded scholarships to about 7~,00~ students. Before Ehar she was an ~xecutive
at AT&T.

"Sara Marhinex Tucker is a public servanu o£ the highest ethics and ~nteg].-ity, " said
Katherine McLane, a department spokeswoman. "She :’:as he]~ed thousands of Hispanic
.~mericans afford college, and ~*.~e are sn %c.rq’cnate to have h,~r working on behal, f of all
America’s student~. "

The Washington Post

Yenty, Janey and Bobb Pledge United Effo~.t to Address issues

3
By Theola Labb@, Washington Bust Staff
Saturday, April 21, 2097;

The District’s mayor, school superintendent and school board president pledged yesterday
that they would work together, proffering a sho~ of unity one day after the 9.C. Counci!
approved a mayoral takeover of ~he schools.

Em÷rging from ~ closed-door meeting that lasted 15 minu£es, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty {D),
Board of Education President Robert C, Bobb and Superintendent Clifford B. Janey stood
shoulder to shoulder before television cameras. They displayed none of the b±ttez~ess and
infighting that marked the battle over the takeover proposal., and said they would
cooperate to iron out issues such as the school budget, a forensic audit of the school
system’s finances a~]d other transitio~ issues.

The meeting of the three men so soon after Thursday’s hJ.storio ~ote was desigr~ed to
reinforce the message that the deterio~’ating schools ~eed attention immediately.

"We think it’s mandatory for the future of this city, and the future of the children in
our school system, that the thzee of us . get together as soon as possible to start
discussir~g how we are going to work together," Fenty said during a 19-minute news
conference at the school system’s headquarters.

There was a suggestion of tensio{~ below the surface.

It became visible when reporters asked about £enty’s proposal to create a new position --
that of a chancellor, who would report directly to the mayor. Fenty deflected quesuions on
who[~i he might select as his chancellor to run the 55,000-student school, system.
But Jan~y, when asked whether he thought he might be th_= fJ.rst chancellor, ~ep!ied, "i
hold myself in high regard. ~ .He said he intended to be a part of the planning for the
transition.

"I expect fully to move forward ~.s part of this team," he said. "I didn’t come here for a
y~ar. I didn’t come here for t~7o years. I came here to make a commitment to the children,
to th~ £ami.].i~s ~nd th~ co~mmunity of ~sh±ng~o~, D.C. "

Reinforcing his p~int, Janey added: "We’re in some stage of transitJ, on -- I’m not."
But ne~.ther Jar;ey’s declarations nor Fenty’s vow to, work with Jam=ey a~’]d Bobb prevented
elected officials an:~ parents from questioning whether Jar.ey would re~.~ain in his job.

"I would like the mayor to make a decision about who is running the &chool system," said
council member Jack Evans (B-Ward 2), ~ho supported the takeover. "Is Clifford Janey
staying? We need to hav~ a chancellor in place by the start of school."

Parent activist Cherlta ~hiting said it was tJ.me for the mayor to reveal whom he intends
as chamcellor.

"Iz’s time for him to come clean and say whether he plans on keeping Dr. ~aney, yes or
no," said Whiting, whose son ]s a junior .at McKinley Techr~ology High School. "If not, who
do you plan on replacing him with? Who are your candidates? And what part wi]} the public
play?"

Evans sa~.d a pri.ority is getting quick approval [rum Congress for a bil.l, permitting the
new arrangement. He said he also would like Fenty’s administra:ior~ to begin evalu:~ting the
school budget, "given [.he state of ~’hat [Chief Fin.~Jncial Of£~cer Nat;~ar M.] Gandhi could
only describe as cha.os. "

Counc~l Chairman Vincent C:. Gray (O) said he expe~ts Fenty, ,.~anay and Bobb to ~.~odern.~.ze
schools so studenks are not raced with "b]oken ba[hro..-..ms and peeling paint" when they
r~turr~ in t~~e..fa.ll.
"From the perspective of ~a±ents and stude~.ts, they wan~_ to know that s,.-.hools aze. going to
~pen on time, " Gray said.

[.’.onna Fower Stowe, execative director of the nonprofih DC Education Compact, said she
didn’z expect to bear specific plans or a I.i~:et:able tot addressing issues. But she said
she was g].ad that after i.’.~onths or often-contentious debate, .it seemed thaq the me~ had
e×changed olive branches.

"It’s not always easy to get to that point [of cooperation] when you’ve been looking
critically at an issue, but they all agree that this is the most important issue in the
city," Stowe said. "It will probably sound a little sappy, but i think that’s good."
Council me,tuber Jim Graham In-Ward I) said the news conference showed cooperation between
the mayor and school board. "It’s a hopeful sign," he said.

Fenty said the three m~n plan to meet next week with Gandhi to discuss the school system’s
finances.
Staff writer Nikita Stewar~ contributed to this report.

The Washington Post

Opinions

Nurse for America?

By John Morrow?
Saturday, Apri! 21, 2007; AI7

This week seniors at some of _~merica’s most prestigiot~s colleges learned whether they’d
beei~ accepted into Teach for ~merica, which recruits <he "heat and brightest" 2rom Yale,
Duke, B~own, Dartmouth ahd other top colleges and p~ts them through intensive summer
tra±nin[. The program is a proven magnet: 10.4 percent of Yale’s Class of 2006 applied, as
did g.6 percent of Dartmomth’s graduating seniors. Scripps College topped the list, with
!5.7 percent.

Most schools of education accept just abomt e~eryone who applies, b~]t Teach for America,
which pmts capable, smart a~d idealistic young men and women into some of the country’s
tomghest pnbl±¢ schools, reje~t~ ~ ~tonishin~ 83 ~rcent of it~ ~ppiicants.
If they don’t make the cut at Teach for America, man;, students ~¢ill fall back to their
second choices, often tou law or business schools or high-paying jobs on Wall Street.

S~venty-seven perce~t of those who are accepted will enter Teach for Ar~erica. By
comparison, only 71 percent of those ace÷prod into Yale choose to enroll. The "yield" J.s
lower at Princeton, at 69 percent, and Stanford, 67 percent.

Teach for America, now in its 18th year, has become the ccun..-..ry’s largest prcvider of
teachers for low-income co:mmunities. What began in 1990 with 500 men and women work.~ng in
six co~mu~r_.ities has grown to 4,400 teachers working with 375,000 students.

The success of ~each £or ~merica has inspired the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation to create a
similar program -- it olans to d~.atribute $I0 million in grants -- to provide guidance and
counseling at high schools Jn nine states. That program will recruit and stain college
seniors to work full time as advisers for crle or two years attar they grade]ate.

"it will be the nexL Teach for .~erica0" Vance <.ancaster of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation
to].d me in an e-mail, although they’re not c~llir~g it Advise for ~,merica. Instead it’s the
College Advising Ccrps.
[]nf<:.rtunately, the success of Teach for .~erica rsveals an unpleasant. [.r’uth abol~t how
]1tt]e we value education amJ uhildrer:. Consider another helping profession tkaL is often
cure,pared with teaching: nursing. Just as there’s a teaching shcrtaqe, the United States
despmralely needs nurses. Nationally, hospitals have about 210,00(} empty nursing slots,
~ccording to the U.S. Eepart~ent of Health and lluma~ Services.
But. there is no "Nurse for America" program, because it’s inconceivable that someone co~id
step tn and provide nursing care after just two months of summer training.
Just imagin.~.: "Hi, Mrs. Lingering. I’m John Merrow, your new z:urse. I just graduated
Dartmo~th. No~" let’s see. It says Vou get two cc’s of this medicine. That’s about ~he same
as a tablespoon, isn’t it? ~d I’m s~0p~csed to e×am[ne you. Do you know which orifice this
instrument goes in?"

No, we will never have a Nurse for America program, because that pro£ession’s standards
are higher than those of teaching. Nobody says, "Those ~ho can, do. Those who can’t,
nurse." That slur is reserved for teaching, an occupation that’s ridiculously easy to
on:or, at least through education schools.

So, two cheers ~or TeaGh for America -- but wouldn’t it be ~onder[ul if Nurse for ~erica
and Teach lot ~merica were equally inconceivable? If teachin~ could become not merely an
honorable calling but ~ise a w~ll-paying, highly respected profession that was difficult
to get into?

The writer is president of Learning M~tters Inc. and education correspondent for "The
NewsHour Wihh Jim Lehrer."

The New York Times

Apzii 21, 2007

Student Lender Discloses Ties to Colleges That Included Gifts to Officials

By S~I~ DILLON

No!net, a major student loan company, yesterday offered a broad accounting of many often
unpubliclzed relationships it has established with universities and their senior
officials, including managing telephone ca!l centers, paying cell.ego officials for
speaking engagements and giving plane tickets to financial aid officers.

The revelations came in a broad new discl[~sure statement the iender made Jn connection
with an agreement to contribune $I million to educate college borrowers and to abide by a
code of conduct governing its relations with colleges.
Nelnet, b~ed in LincoAn, Nob., with $23.8 billion in student .ioan assets, forged the
agreement wiqh the Nebraska attorney general, Jon Bruning. The company’s president,
Jeffrey Noozdhoek, appeared with Mr. Brmninq at a news conference yesterday to announce
it.
The disclosures resulted from a review" by Nelnet of its own practices in the student loan
industry, begun earlier .:his year after Andrew M. Cuomo, New York’s attorney general,
announced tJ,at he was inve.stigating r.he company, said Ben Kiser, a Nelnet spokesman.
]n the ~ews conference in Linco.]~., :dr. 5tuning characterized any wrongdoing by the company
as minimal. "As w~ looked at the scale of mistakes that have been made in the stl~dent
lending industry, Nelnet is at uhe bert.on," he said.

But in New York, Mr. Cuomo said, "Our investigation of Nelnet is con.--inuing."

The company announced an end 1o some of its practices, including a revenue sharing
agreement with ?~es.nern il].inois University under which Ne].ner paid the university a
percentage of all pr.iva-qe college loans that its students took oat with Nelnet.

Nelnet also said it had paid a fee, ,-_.n erie occasion, to a university chancellor for giving
a speech to an advisory board the company ha.,.] established. "Nel[~e~_ inlands to end such
payments," the statemen.-, said.

On another cccasio.n, i.ielnet bought Albany-to-:de~-z York plane tickets for t~u university
financial aid officers so the!/ could qc to the theater. Mr. Kiser dee:iced to identify the
off~c~al2 or :hei~ uz]iversi’zy a[f[liatioE.

Nelnet said it would in tile fuzure limit gifts to university employees to

The company said it would continue to mam~ge telephone call centers fc:r ~he financial aid
c.~fices of seven educational instlt’/tions, but its call ~t~nter operators would n.:~w
"disclose to all callers that they are Nelnet employees when they answer the phone."
~’reviously, students seeking financial aid advice could have been left thinking they were
speaking to a university official. Earlier this year, Mr. Cuomo wrote a code of conduct
governing the relations among universities and lenders, banning revenue-sharing agreements
on student loan volume and gifts he senior officials, and forbiddin9 loan company
employees from ever identifying themselves as college officials.

He has reached agreements with Citibank and Sallie Mae to mbide by the code. Each has paid
$2 million ~o a fund similar to the one to which Nelnet is contributing. Education Finance
Partners, another student lean company that investigators found had paid at least 60
colleges aRd universities across the country for steering studenzs to its loa~s, agreed to
p~y $2.5 million to Mr. Cuomo’s fund.
Mr. Bruning announced yesterday that ~]elnet would abide by a similar code of conduct,
mostly written by Nelnet officials.

"I would say that ~;e primarily wrote it, but worked with Bruning’s office," said Mr.
Kisez, the Nelnet spokesman.

The New York Times


April 21, 2007
Colleges Relying on l,enders to Counsel Students

By JULIZ BUSMAN

Rachel Jones, a senior at Loyola Marg~ount University in Los Angeles, recently was sitting
through a student-loan workshop that university officials had told her was mandatory when
an nneasy feelinq kicked in.

The woman in the front of the classroom asked students to fill out forms with personal
information -- including names, addresses and phone m:mbers of relatives, an employer and
a friend. Ms. Jones zecalled that she also talked about "other loan companies" that would
saddle students Witl] un£avoxabie rates if they decided to consolidate loans on graduation.

Unable te keep qui~t, Ms. Jones raised her hand: "I just said, excuse me, who are you and
what is your affilia.-_ion?" The woman identified herself as an employee of All Student
Loa~:, a California-based lellder.
Jones, a 22-ye~r-old who has $17,000 in student loans, had unwittingly stumbled upon
and}thor undisclosed relationship betweea universities and loan companies.

Recent investigations have largely f.ocnsed on incentives lenders give universities tc get
cove~ed placement on th=_ pre.ferred lending lists students use to take out Loans when they
enter college. But colleges also gl..ve lenders crucial access to students when they are
graduating, using lenders to conduct exit counseling required under federal law for
students who have taken out federally guaranteed student loans.
In some cases, loan company represenbatives come on campus and run sessions fox seniors on
loan repayment. In others, colleges direct students to loan company Web sites, including
Wells Fargo, C~tibank and S9llie Mac. And in man/ cases, the lear, companies ~re pushing a
product: theix o6nsolidaticn loans.

Anne Frisco, the vice president for enrollment management at Loyola, defended the
practice, saying the ]en~e:’s allowed on campus were carefully selected, "Every yeaz when
we have exit interviews we ask i[ <hey want to assist," Ms. Frisco said. "They are just
:here to puovide additional information,°’
Oil]era say the access to students is improper. Heather k’.cDonn,21l, the director of
financial aid at Sarah Lawrence Ce.].]ege in Brenxviile, N.Y., said she th(;ught :.~sJng loan
companies for e×iT c¢,~~nseling was "absolately" inappropriate.

"Behind every lender is a conso].idaZion loan," i.~s, McDonnell said. "] dc~’t allow anybody
to come on my campus io come and do that. I just don’t think iz’s a good idea. I think
that information should be coming directly from the financial aid office."
Many students have vaxious kinds of loans, an<{ consolidation allows them to combine the
!oans to pay a single inherest rate and make one monthly payment.

Karen Gross, the president of Southern Vermont College and a professor of law at New York
Law School, said depending on a studentrs prospective job, income and health,
consolidating loans was often unwise. For example, she said, students who t~ke certain
public sector jobs may sign away available benefits if they consolidate federal loans.
~Tbere is no shortage of erroneous information that a student ~ould receive in a ~ro~p
counseling session," Ms. Gross said. "Student loan consolid~ti0n makes sense for ~any
students, but for many students it is absolutely not the right choice." She Bdded that
"the reason this is bothersome is that students are required to eDgage in exit interviews,
and so lenders have 9 cap:ire audience."

The reason exit interviews are mandatory is that the federal government wants to crack
down on default rates. According to the Department of Education, exit counseling is
intended to explain borrowers’ rights and responsibilities, 10an repayment and the
consequences of default.

Students who consider skipping the sessions are often threatened with severe consequences.
At Loyola, an e-mat! message from the financial aid office said, "A HOLD will be placed on
your account end will only be removed upon your attendance at one of the above sessions.=
A hold typically prevents a student from registering for classes or even receiving a
diploma.

Many institutions send stude~’~s to complete exit counseling online through Direct Loan
$ervici~’..g, part of the Department of Education. But others do not.

Cape].la University, an online institution where the director of financial aid was recently
put on leave for accepting consulting fees from a loan company, allo~s Collegiate Funding
Services, a loan consolidation company, re conduct online exit sessions and introduce its
"consolidation product."
Through a spokeswoman, <:apel].a said that "~s part of the online counseling process,
szudents are asked by C.F.S. whether they have an interest in debt consolidation."

The University ~f Maryland Etstern Shore, according to a recent news release, allows at
].east one lender, Consolidation Resource Center, to co~~duct exit counseling. The s~me news
release also announced the company’s SlO, O00 donation tDa university schol~rship fund.
University offiaials did ~ot return repeated calls for comment.

All Student Loan, which ran exit intervie~;s at Loyola, h~s conducted 25 counseling
sessions at 20 institutions this year, sa~d Joseph Booth, a company spokesman.

The Indiana Institu<e of Technology directs students to complete exit uounseling through
OpenNet, an online service run by Sailie Maa, the nation’s largest lender to college
students. The Web sites of Geo~Be Washington University 9nd Case Western Reserve
~Jn~versitZ in Cleveland show that they do, too~

Before signing in, students must agree to a disclaimer al].o~;.~.ng Saiiie Mac to ,Ise their
data for ~urposes beyond loan process ir.g, "provided the proposed ~]sage does not viol~te
~.p!icable laws and regulat’:ons or any confidentiality obliga:ions."
lhe £[n~ncial ~id director at Indiana Tech, Teresa M. Vasquez, said, "I didn’t know that."
She said Indiana Tech had been using Saliie Mac’s exit counseling for three years.

7om Joyce, a spokesman for $,allie Mac, said the students" data was shared with the
szudents" lenders, whom they i.:lentify i~: the online exit counseling. Sail. to Mac also uses
their e-mail addresses to send solici-?.ations frcm "partners" of Sallie Mac, "where we
struck deals w.~th industry-]e~ding third parties, like Geicc for insuzance," .".[z. Joy~e
said.

At t~;e end of the ccunse.ling, a ],ink lead,<, students to consolidate k:ith Sallie Mac if Lhey
choose, Mr. Joyce said, but it is available or~ly it. students who h~ve already chosen
Sallie Mac as a

The Department of Education does r, ot forbid the use of private lenders to conduct exit
counseling, a spokeswoman, Jane Glickman, said. "A lender may participate in exit
counseling sessions of@ered by the school,’" she said, "provided th-nt the school maintains
control of the session and school staff members are present."

Senator Edward M. Kennedy, -~e~.,:.. Massachusetts_ De:~ocr’at ~.lho is chairman of the education
committee, is examining exit co’ansellng as part of an in~estigation into student lel%ding.
Mr. Kennedy said in a statement, "When schools refer students to these co~]nseling
services, they should be able ’to rely on honest advice about their financial future -- not
be subjected to unexpected marketing pitches from lenders."

Ms. Prisco of Loyola said that next year the university ~ould consider making it clearer
that the sessions were conducted by !endezs. "i’m not saying that maybe we can’t make
things a little more transparent," she said.

Weeks after her exit counseling at Loyola, Ms. Jones is still marveling over the session.
She wrote an opinion column in the studer, t ne~-sp.~per, The Los Angeles Loyolan, denouncing
the workshop as "nothing more than an hourlong advertisem~.nt."
"It just seemed real].y shady and underhanded the ~:ay it was run," Ms. Jones said. "I still
feel like I was duped."

Jonathan D. Glater con<ributed reporting.

Rssociated Press
Investigator makes Justice Department referral in contro:,ersial federal reading program

JESSE J. HOLLAND

Associated Press Writer


WASHINGT©N (AP) A federal, investigator looking into allegations of conflict of interest
and mismanagem~n~ in a $i billion-a-year Edl/~ation Department readir.’.q progra~ said Friday
he has referred the matter to the Justice Depazt[ner~5.

John] Hiqgins, the Educatio.n Departmen{’s inspector genera]° refused 5o ~pecify for
reporters what he has asked government prosecutors to !ook at, but investigators have been
highly critical of the department’s management of ~he Reading First program.

Referrals are made by in’.,,estlgators wizen the;, e~,counter evidence of possible federal
crimes or other misconduct~ which only the Justice Department has authority to pursue.

A spokesman for ~.he U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Columbia, Chan~in~
Philiips: confirmed that the referral had been received by the department’s civil
division. When the civil division handles such referrals, nhe end res:~].t would usually be
a lawsuit seeking to recover funds rather than crimi~a], char~es being filed, he said,
alt.}:ougb it J.s possible that after review criminal action might be called for.

Reading First, cre~ted by President Bush’s signature No Child Left Behi:]d law, offers
int:ensi~.’e reading help for low-income :7.hildren in the early grades. But investigators say
that federal officials interv~.,ed to influence state and local deo.isions abcu-_ what
programs to use, a potential violation of the law. Some of the people who wer~ influencing
those decisions had a financial interest: in the programs that werc being pushed, officials
s.~id.

"’I think we’re very c].0se to a crimi2~al enterprise here,’’ House Educe=ion and Labor
Commit~.ee chairman George Miller, D-Calif., said at an investi~a:iv~ hearing Friday.
"’Have yo:J m~ade any criminal referrals, Mr. Higgins?’’

"’We have made referrals to the Department .~f Justice, ’’ Hiqgins said.

said his committee may also make criminal referrals. "’I think when ~..’e .n.:lt the
e-Tidence together ’^.e ~ay join you in those criminal referrals,’’ Miller told H~ggins.
But Reading First’s former director told lawmakers Friday he did nothing wrongr despite
investigators’ fir, dings that the Education Department skirted the law and ethica!
standards.

In scathing e~c}}anges with Miller, former Reading First program director Chris boherty
defended his and his colleagues’ work implementing the program.

Despite several attempts by Miller to elicit achnissions of wrongdoing, Ooherty refused,


offering explanations for several of the uomp.laints brought by the Education Department’s
inspector general and the Govern-hanK Accountability Office.

"’You’ve suggested because of logistics, because {)f the time frame, becaus~ you might get.
50 mpp~lications all at the same time, you have a ~hele litany of reasons why you didn’t
have to abide by the law,’’ Miller said.

"’We thought then and we think now we did abide by the law,’’ replied Doherty, who stepped
down last year.

An inspector general report late ].ast year stated tha:z the readin._q program was beset by
conflicts of ~nterest and mismanagemer~t.

The inspector genera! stated that the review panels were stacked with people who shared
Doherty’s views and that Doheruy repeatedly ,/sed his influence to push s:ates toward
programs h-e favored.

"’Our work showed that the department did not comply with the Reading First statute
regarding the composition of the application review panel and criteria for acceptable
programs,’’ said John Higgins, the Ed~lcation Department’s inspector general. "’Further,
the department’s actions created an appearance that it may have violated statutory
provisions that prohibit it from influencing the curriculum of schools.’’
More recently, The Associated Press reported that th~ program may have yet another
conflict-of-interest problem. The Education Department contr~c<or hired to help set up ~d
implement key par~s of the Reading First program beginning in 2~02 also has been brought
in tm help evaluaze ho~q well the program is do±nq.

California Rep. Buck McKeon, the education panel’s senior Republican, has proposed a ban
on any contractor evaluating a program that it had a role in implementing. He and
Massachusetts Democrat E4ward Kennedy, who chai:s the Senate Educate.on Committee, are
pushing hills that would tighten conflict-of-interest rules in the reading program and
make it harder for federal ~fflcials or contractors to influence local curriculum
decisions.

’[he Education Department has pledged to make changes to ensure ther~ will not be future
problems in the Readiz]g ~’irst program.

Doherty suggested in prepared testimony that "’a distorted story’’ based on "’the worst
[~ossible interpretation of eyeless’’ h~s been told about the Read~ng First program.

"’We were never told on any occasion we were violating the law,’’ Doherty said at the
hearing.

Hot.~rs before the he.sting beg~n, the Educa~zi<~n Department released statistics showing
Reading First schosls saw improvement in reading fluency and comprehension for first amd
third graders between 2004 and 2006, But from th~ sta.rt, the program has been dogged by
accusations of impropriety.

[.ISA Today

Reading program to ga.:. ,lust. ice review

By .grog Toppo, USA TODAY


April 20, 2007 05:58 PM ET

10
WASHINGTON- The U.S. Ed1~cation Department’s insp÷ctor general, who spent nearly two
}’ears investigating allegations of mismanagement in President Bush’s $i billion-a-year
Reading First program, has referred the matter to the U.S. Justice Department.

It wasn’t immediately clear on Friday who the subject of the investigation might be, or
whether John Higgins, who led the Education Department’s investigation, asked Justice to
pursue criminal charges or a civil complaint.

But Rap. George Miller, D-Ca.[if., who chairs the Hous~ Rducation and Labor Co[~ittee and
is investigating the program on his own, t~..id Higgins: "I think whe~] we put the evidence
together we may join you in those criminal referrals."

Hiqgins’ revelation came during sworn testimony before the c0~.!~ittee. He wouldn’t
elaborate when pressed by reporters afterward, saying he couldn’t comment on an ongoing
investigation.

Re-~ding F~rsz, a centerpiece of Busb’s domestic agenda, aims to help low-income children
learn to read by the time they finish third grade. But mismanagement issues have plagued
it since its inception in 2002. Friday’s hearing focused on allegations that a select
group of advisors steered states toward buying textbooks and tests r_hat they and close
associates developed, and that department officials stacked revie~ panels with reviewers
partial to mat~.rials the administration favored.

In one case heard during Friday’s testimony, Kentucky officials had :o submit their
application four times before Reading First reviewers approved it --and only after
Kentucky agreed to dump a proven reading test and adopt one developed by a Reading First
advisor.
Higgins also found that federal officials jettisoned the program’s own rules for setting
up expert review panels, stacking several with Education Department f~vorites. They also
broke rules by having program staffers alter remarks mad~ by actual reviewers on state
applications for Reading First money.
Three Reading First advisors testified that they have earned six-figure royalties since
schools began receiwi.ng [unding under the program, One, Roland Good, a researcher at the
University of Oregon, said his testing eo~[pany, in which ha holds a 50% share, earned
$1,291,333 from 2003-2006.

Two others, Deborah Simmons, a researcher at Texas A&M, and Edward Kame’en~i, a University
of Ore.gcn researcher, said they earned about $150,000 last year from royalties on a
popular textbook series for young readers.
The revelations prompted Miller to quip, "That sounds like an inside job."

But the program’s former di.--~ctor0 Chris Doherty~ who testified that: be was essentially
forced to resJ..~n in September after the release of Higgins’ first report, on Friday
defe~-~ded the program, noting that several early evaluations have been positive -- and
suggesting the $I billion schools get each year has made a huge difference.

Doberty said the conflict revulves around "an undeniable, underlying :ension" that forces
officials to ensure that s.xhc.ols are using scientifically-based readi~g materials, but
prohibits the officials from prescribing a specific curricui,,m,.

"I can only basically restate that T’m very proud of the progra,.:i," r]oherty sd~d in an
interview afteiT the hearing. "I’m very proud of my [’ole in it. I feel like I implanted the
la~.; in the ~.:ay it was written and the way i: was intended."

Outside of Washington, he said, Readinq b’irst has developed "a real sense of co~.:u~unizy and
family" amo,~g, schools an<i stBte administrators. The mismanagement al!eq~t.~o<s, he 5~id,
are "~bsolutely unrepresentative of the program as a whule."

tie said he spoke with Jusl..[ce l:.~partment ~nvestiga7ors last


"I’ve had one oe.nversa-_ion with the Department ~.~ Justice," .Doherty said i:~ an interview.
"i met with them one time in the first week of K0vem~er and I haven’t heard since."

ii
He added~ "I was invited down to talk to those guys -- I talked with them of my own free
will."
Officials with the Justice Department could not be reached Friday after the hearing, and
Education Department spckeswoman Katherine McLane said she couldn’t comment.

Cindy Cupp, a Savannah, Ga., ed~cator who saw Georgia schools overlook her i~omegrown
phonics program after Reading First reviewers refused tc fund schools who chose it, said
Friday’s hearing "exceeded my expectations."
She first complained abo~~t the oversight three and a ball years ago, she said.

"The fact that it took three and a half years to get here (is) a long tit,e, but I’m
pleased. I’m very pleased."

Bloomberg

Gonzales Among Appointees on School Violence Panel

By Julianna Gold, nan


April 20 (Bloomberg) -- President George W. Bush is naming three Cabinet officials,
including Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, to study violence in ,.America’s schools and
recommend ways to avoid tragedies lake the mass murder earlier this ~aeek at Virginia Tech
university, the White House said.

The two other Cabinet me~ers are Secretary Michael Leavitt of the Depar~ment of Health
and Human Services and Education Secretary Margaret Speilings.
The president plans tO annonnce formation of the group tomorrow in his weekly radio
address. Departing fr’om pzactice, the White Ro~se allowed the news media to report the
~ppointments today imstead of waiting for the broadcast.
"’We can never fully understand what would cause a student to take the lives of 32
innocent people,’’ Bush said in hJ.s prepared radio remarks. He said he asked the thmee
Cabinet officials "’to provide the VJrgJ.nia Tech com~.unity with whatever assistance we can
and to participate in a review of the broader questions raised by this tragedy.’’
The president said the group, led by Lea~.,i.’..l., will travel around the country and consult
with educators, mental heal.it experts and state and local officia!s ab’.d then report back
to him. The White ~[ouse d.~.dn’: announce a deadline for the report.

To contact the reporter on this story: Julianna Gol@man in Washington a: Jgoldman6


@bloomb~rg.net
Last Updated: April 20, 2007 14:04 ZDT

FOX News
Saving ’Me Child Left Behind’ From Ttself Friday, April 20, 2C07 By Dan Lips
Conservative lawmakers on CppJtc] Hili have introduced a bill qha: would let states opt
sut of many of the ma_-_~ates imposed by the federal No Child Left Behind Act

Under the new approach, statas would be [r~e to use federal education funds as they see
fit, provided they maintain student testing to assess their progzess arid make the test
resu].zs publicly available.

So.me I’,]CLR supporters charge that the conservative plan would undermine accounnability.
Sandy Kress, a former Hush a._-tminist±ation education advJser, [.:.ro:ested: "R,=.p~.~blicans used
to stand for z-.[gor." and standards, but no money for education. Now they seem re’. be }or the
money, but no standards."

Hut a closer look sugges=s that the real threat to a¢¢c.untability and transparency in

12
publi¢?educa:ion is NCI,B itself. Indeed, the conservative opt-0ut plan to restore state-
level control may be the best option for salvaging accountability for parents and
taxpayers,

The law requires states to test Students annually and offers a menu of penalties fox-
schools that fail to show p~ogress on those exams. States must measure up against a
baseline that rises every year up to 2014, at which poin< el! students are expdcted to
score "proficient" on the tests.

States, howe~er, establish the content standards and p~sJsg thresholds of the tests
meaning there’s an incentive 2or states ~o lower testing standards to avoid federal
sanctions.
Some are doing this already. Though s~ates can use their own exams to assess performance
among all students, they must also administer the "~ational Assessment of Educational
Broqress" (NABP) to a sample of students. This makes it easy to compare prof£ciency rates
in reading and math as measured by the NAEP with what the states report using their
tests.

Not surprisingly, the comparison sometimes unveils a huge disparity, with Tennessee and
Oklahoma, for example, reporting high proficiency rates on their tests that aren’t matched
by a similar performance on the NAEP.

The simple conclusion: Some states are "dumbing down" ~heir exams to let more students
pass and more schools show ~adequate yearly progress" under NCLH.

Just imagine what parents in Illinois thought when they saw this recent headline in the
Chicago Tribune: ~’Making Grade Just Got Easier." The article reported that "a record
number of Illinois schools escaped federal No Child Left Behind sanctions this school
ymar, largely because of changes in how schools are judged and alterations that made state
achievement exams easier for students to pass."

For the education bureaucracy, it’s far more imperative to avoid bad pubi.icity and federal
sanctions -- whatever it takes -- than to offer honest, usmful performance assessments to
parents and taxpayers. That’s a serious indictment of federal innervention.

Consider what it mea~.s for the future. As we ap~.roach 2014, when all children are supposed
to reach proficiency under NCLS, state benchmarks wi!l rise, as will the incentive for
states to lower the bar to avoid penalties.

In some snares, 201% may arrive wizh all childrmn deciared "proficient" and no schools
labeled "in need of improvement." That may be a happy day for politicians, bur not for
parents who want to know whether their children are learning.

Everyone agrees that public schools should be held accountable. The zeal question is:
Accountable to whom?

~he answer is that schools should be accountable to those who can make a difference.
Ultimately, that’s parents, not politicians oz-b~reaucrats. But NCLB seeks ho make local
schools accountable to fede/al bureaucrats, even though Washington provides only about 8
percent of ~;hat is spent <~n local education.

Unlike hl~r~a~]crats, parents are not so concerned about whether ,.:ii public schools are
labeled "crofter.ant" by ~014. A third-qrader today will be in high school when that day
arrives. Wh~t parent.s waht to know n.sw is whether their children are m~kinq progress in
the classr’oem each day and each school ’_,,ear.

Accountability should be gea~ed towa<.,.d providing transpare~,cy about s.’_-h.nol performance,


thereby e~)owering parents and local citizens, the besL way V.s. dG that is to give those
with the greatest in%crest in children’s s~ccess -- their parents -- the opportunity to
make decision,s based cz: that information.

Ironically, the No Child Left 8ehind "opt-out" provision is the mcs[ promising way to
protect the goals of the ]sw: tc make public education truly transparent and accountable.

Dan Lips is an education unalyst at The Heritage [oundation ’,herikage.crg}, a leading


13
Washington-based public-policy institution,
.pri~ate - Spellings, Mar~laret ................................................
From; McLane, Katherine
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2007 8:47 AM
To; Private-Spellings, Margaret; Farris, Amanda; Canary, Joseph; Rosenfelt, Phil; Landers,
Angola; Evers, Bill; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dorfman, Cynthia; Mesecar, Doug; Dunn,
David; Pitts, Elizabeth; Flowers, Sarah; McGrath, John; Talbot1, Kent; Briggs, Kerr!; Kuzmich,
Holly; Toomey, Liam; Maddo×, Lauren; Scheessele, Marc; McnitL Townsend L.: Beaten,
Meredith; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Tada, Wendy; Halaska, Terrell; Tracy WH; Young, Tracy;
Zeff, Ken; Queries, Karen; Bannerman, Kristin; Welkins, Tiffany; Sampson, Vincent
Ditto, Tr~-~’; Neale, Re.becca; Reich, Held!; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Jufie; Yudof, Samara
Subject: Debate on future of Reading First expands (Education Daily)

Debate on future of Reading First expands (Education Daily)


By Kris Kitto
Education Daily, April 20, 2007
]-oday’s congressional Reading First hearing has inspired the literacy program’s vadous stakeholders to strengthen their
resolve.
The Education Department released dale Thursday showing achievement gains among Reading First students, while
lawmakers prepared to introduce legislation that would reform the program.
At stake is the future of the federal reading initiative, which, despite documented success in improving literacy among at-
risk children, may pay the price for alleged mismanagement as the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act draws near.
Rea~ling First schools have seen a 14 percentage- point jump in the number of first-grade students meeting or exceeding
fluency measures, and a 7 percentage-point increase among third-grade students, according to an ED report on 200~1-2006 data
from 26 states.
"We’re tremendously happy with these gains," said Amanda Farris, ED’s deputy assistant secretar,j in charge of Reading
First. She called 1he increase in this su~roup over a few years =particularly impressive."
One expert saw hope in the findings and prod!clod a bright fulure if the program can weather the controversy that has
swirled around it for the last several years.
"Most Reading Firs~ schools are in the harlem tier of achievement and [are] high poverty," said International Reading
Association Government Relations Director Richard Long, adding that these results are a breakthrough for schools that rarely
see gains in achievement.
But in the wake of the ongoing allegations surrounding the program’s implementation, these results might be too little, too
late, counlered Thomas B. Fordham Foundation Vice President Michael Petrilli.
=It’s encouraging lhal lhe depadment of education is finally mounting a defense of the Reading First program," he said.
"And had they done so six months ago, perhaps we wouldn’t be in the place we are now."
An ED spokeswoman denied 1hat ~he department released the data in anticipation of the congressional hearing. She said
the timing was centered! on an upcoming meeting of state Reading First directors. But Center on Education Policy President Jack
Jennings said the release was no coincidence.
=They’re just trying to put out positive information before the hearing to deflect some of the criticism," he said. But the tight
space between the data’s release and the scheduled hearing left tittle time to analyze the findings and have "a more informed
discussion on the whole program," Jennings said.
Meanwhile, Sleve Forde, a spokesman for Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-Calif., said McKeon and Rep. Mike Castle, R-
Del., are poised to irlroduce legislation today that would reform the program. The legislation would codify many of the
recommendations in the Office of Inspector General’s six-pad audit series on Reading First, Forde said.
The Reading First Improvement Acl would introduce new policies around ED contractors and department oversight to
guard against possible conflicts of interest and improve the program’s overall management, Forde said.
The House Education and Labor Commitlee hearing will feature several people formerly involved in the program, including
Deborah C. Simmons, who, a committee spokesman indicated, responded Ioa subpoena.
~r_!_vate- n~el|ings, Margaret ...................
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2007 8:41 AM
To: Private - Spellings, Margaret; Farris, Amanda; Cona~, Joseph; Rosenfelt, Phil; Sampson,
Vincent; Quarles, Karen; LanCers, Angola; Ever,a, Bill; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia;
Dorfman, Cynthia; Mesecar, Doug; Dunn, David; Pitts, Elizabeth; Flowers, Sarah; McGrath,
John; Talbert, Kent; Briggs, Kerd; Kuzmich, Holly; Toomey, Liam; Maddox, Lauren;
Scheessele, Marc; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Beaton, Meredith; Tucker, Sara Maddnez; Tada,
Wendy; Halaska, Terrelt; Tracy WH; Young, Tracy; Zeff, Ken
Ditto, Try; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof, Samara
Subject: Main Troubled Reading Program Draws Heat From Congress (ABC)

Main Troubled Reading Program Draws Heat From Congress (ABC)


By Joseph Rhee
A_BC News, April 19, 2007
The Department of Education today touted what it called successes in its troubled multi-billion-dollar reading grant program,
even as a prominent lawmaker accused it of hiding information ascot the grant money.
Citing "strong gains" in reading proficiency among American children receiving instruction through the Reading First grant
program, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Education Amanda Farris sai~. it was evidence of "tremendous progress."
The number of first-graders at schools receiving grant money meeting or exceeding reading standards on "fluency outcome
measures" increased by 14 percentage points, the study found, The number of third-graders at. Reading First schools meeting or
exceeding those standards ~r their age level increased by seven percentage points.
"We rarely see this kind of success from a federal education program," Farris said of the ref~od, according to a press
release from the department.
But others saw the report as evidence of a problem. In a letter to the department today, House Education and Labor
Committee Chairman George Miller, D-Calif., charged the Education Depadment with withholding the report for months from his
committee’s investigators.
In late February, Miller wrole, his staff requested a state-by-state breakdown of where the billions of dollars in Reading First
grant money had gone - information that was included in the departmenf.~ repo,’t released today.
But Miller’s staff received the information only yesterday, he wrole. "It is inconceivable to me that the Department withheld
the request information from CommiLlee investigators who had been conducting a formal Congressional inquiry," He demanded
to know of Education Secretary Margaret Spellings whether her staff had deliberately withheld the information from his panel.
The fireworks come on the eve of a major hearing in Miller’s committee on the Reading First program, which has been
plagued with accusations of bias, improper political influence and fraud.
The Education Department’s inspector general has mounted st× separate investigations into the matter, one of which
concluded in February that the program had inapprop~ialely steered billions in grant money towards a select group of companies.
An Education Department official criticized that report, saying it "did not recognize the positive aspects’ of the program’s
activities.
At tor~orrow’s hearing, Miller told ABC News he hoped to determine whether the misdeeds within the program amount to
criminal aclMty. "You could not end up with the result that they ended up with without intending from the very outset to either
ignore the law, violate the law, distort the law," he said in a recent intewiew. "At that point, yes, it: raises question about criminal
activity and criminal intent."
Secretary Spellings turned down ABC News’ request for an interview on Ihe Reading First program.
.._Priva~te - Spellings, Marg.aret
From: katherine mclane
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2007 6:02 AM
To: Dunckel, Denise; scott_m,_stanzet@who.eop.gov; Sampson,. Vincent; Quarles, Karen;
Bannerman, Kristin; Rosenfelt, Phil; Taylor, Jeff; Conaty, Joseph; Farris, Amanda; Benton,
Meredilh; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey: Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David;
Dorfman, Cynthia; Evers, Bill; Kuzmich, Holly;, La Force, Hudson; Landers, Angola; Katie
MacGuidwin; Maddox, Lauren; Private - Spellings, Margaret; McGratl~, John; Mesecar, Doug;
Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Scheessele, Marc; Halaska,
Terrell; Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara Martinez;
Zeff, Ken
McLane, Katherine
Su bj~ct: Testimony alleges mismanagement of federal reading program {USA-[)

Testimony aileges mismanagement of federal reading program By Grog ?oppo, USA TODAY
Federal advisors mismanaged President Bush’s $i billion-a-year reading program and
profited from close ties to the Bush administration, according to testimony released
Thursday -- in one case repeatedly rejecting one state’s funding proposal until state
officials dumped a smccess£ul reading test and bought orle written by a top Bush advisor.
In the firs< of two expected hearings, scheduled for [~riday, House lawmakers will probe
alleged mismanag~m,=.nt of Bush’s $I billion-a-year Readin~ First program. The U.S.
Ed~cation Depa~tment’s inspector genera! found that early ~mplementation of the program ~
a key part of Bush’s 2002 No Cl~ild Left Behind education r~form ~ was plag~ed with
conflicts of interest on :he psrt of top advisors, several o~ whom are authors of reading
textboohs or tests; they also advised eta:as on i.~hat materfals to buy.

According to prepared testimony to be delivered on Capitol Hill Friday, Start Lewis,


Kentucky’s associate cc~missJoner of education, says the< when she and others pointed out
what they uonsi.dered a sleet conflict, a deputy to then-Education Secrezary Rod Paige told
them there were "no conflicts of interest."
Lewis’ writhen testimony was released late Thursday by U.S. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif.,
who chairs the House Education

In her testimony, Lewis says it was only after more than a year’s worth of rewriting that
federal officials approved Kentucky’s Reading First grant -- and only after the state
agreed to drop a favored reading test in favor of the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Literacy
Skills, or DIBZLS, whi.ch was developed by University of Cregon researcher Roland Good, who
served on a federa! committee that reviewed r~adinc tests. She also notes that one member
of a team ÷ssigned to help Kentucky with its proposal trained teachers to use DIBELS.

While printed copies of DIBELS are available free online, Lewis notes in her testimony,
they are ",~nwie]dy, difficult to use and don’t lend ther~sel,~es to "fast turnaround of
zes,lts." ::]...q Kent:.:cky purchased handhold computers that run D, IBELS sc.ftware -- paying a
contractor nearly S725,000 over the past three years for the tests alone. Good and another
Oregon researcher, Edward Za~,e’enui, helped develop the handhold system. Both are
scheduled to testify today.
Federal di$clcsur~: forms show-that in 2C0b, Kame’enui, now a top Bush administration
education ofglcial, earned berween $i00,00"_’ and $] million on royalties from reading
materials he developed.

Miller has ciL~d Ken[ucky pr0bi,_-.:ms as a model of how had.iy managed Reading First was in
its early st.~geS.
Education Secretary Margaret Zpeilin~s has already told lawmakers that she’s bringing more
ovcrsigh: to th~ program, and a few @valumtions have suggested Lhat schools are benefiting
from its materials and training.

£ut Friday’s hearing is expected to bring to light tohe extent -o which Good, Kame’enui and
::there profiqed from their association with :he program they helped develop.
The U.S. Education Deparu~.ent un Thursday released three-year test results for schools
participating in Reading Firstr saying the percentage of students whose reading skills
improved grew sharply. BI]~ department officials offered no comparable d~ta on schools that
did not use Reading First, saying that comparison is not expected until next year.

In the study from 2004 to 2006, the percentage of first-graders meeting or exceeding
proficiency standards on reading f]uency grew from 43% to 579. The percentage of third-
graders improving grew from 36% to 43%.

"We feel like these are very impressive gains," said ~anda Farris, a deputy assistant
secretary of education, who oversees the pfoqra[n_
But Far,is offered no. data on ssudents attending schools that don’t receive a portion of
the $1 billion Reading First annual grants, saying a comparison to schools outside the
program is "a litt].e bit of a difficult question to answer" because states use a variety
of tests to assess reading, even within grades.

Control group compariscns axe expected to be part of a larger Reading First evaluation due
out next year, Farris said.

Thursday’s data release brought a rebuke from Miller, who said his co~aittee asked the
Education Department for stare-by-state breakdowns of Reading Ei:r.st funding and
assessments on Feb. 27 ar, d again on March 29, with no reply until Wednesday.

He said much of the information he requested is the same as that now being released ~o the
media.
"It is inconceivable tO me that zhe department withheld the requested information from
committee investigators who have been conducting a formal Congressional inquiry," he said
in a letter to Spellings.

Miller asked Spellings to tell him whether department staff "deliberately withheld" the
information from the ¢om~:ittee and when the department "first possessed the informazion"
on t2]?es of reading assessments used by the states.

In a terse r~ply sent late Thursday, SDel]ing~ told ~4iller, "My staff has nor ,~ellberately
withheld any requested infurmation."

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Private, .Spe!~l.~i.n~ts, Margaret ......
From: kath~
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2007 5:58 AM
To: Dunckel, Denise; scott_m,_stanzel@who.eop.gov; Sampson, Vincent; Queries, Karen;
Bannerman, Kristin; Rosenfelt, Phil; Taylor, Jeff; Conaty, Joseph; Farris, Amanda; Beaten,
Meredith’, Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; I~unn, David;
Dorfman, Cynthia; Evers, Bill; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Lenders, Angels; Katie
MacGuidwin; Maddox, Lauren; Private - Spellings, Margaret; McGrath, John; Mesecar, Doug;
Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Scheessele, Marc; Hafaska,
Ter~elf; Toner, Jane; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara Madinez;
Zeff, Ken
Subject: F~om At Kamen’s WP cotumn

Rep. George Miller" (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, wasn’t
pleased to find that the Department of Ed~ication waited until this week to provide data
first reported yesterday in Th.=. washington Post -- that showed a $1-billion-a-year reading
program is helpi.r:g kids. Miller shot off an a~gry letter to Education Sect’etary Margaret
Spellings saying that his office, probing cromyism and mismanagem~=nt in the Reading First
program, had asked for the info two mc.nths ago but never ~et

The department tells ..’~ur colleague ££~.it R. ~aley that it doesn’t know what Miller is
talking about and has complied with his requests. Stay t~ned.

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,private - Spellin@s, M,~rgaret mnnnnnnn

From: katherine mclane


Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2007 5:46 AM
Farris, Amanda; Conaty, Joseph; Rosenfell:, Phil; t~unckel, Denise; Bealon, Meredith; Briggs,
Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David; Dorfman, Cynthia; Evers,
Bill; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Lenders, Angela; Katie MacGuidwin; Maddox, Lauren;
Private - Spellings, Margaret; McGrath, John; Mesecar, Doug; Nee]e, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi:
rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Scheessele, Marc; Halaska, Terrell; Toner, Jana; Mcni[t,
Townsend L.; Young, Tracy; Dil.to, Trey; Tucker, Sara Marlines,; Zeff, Ken
Subject: Reading First Paying Off, Education Dept. Says (WP)

Reading First Paying Off, Education Dept. Says By Amit R. Paley Washington Post Staff
Writer Thursday, April 19, 2007; AI9

Students in the Bush administration’s embattled $I billion-~-year reading program have


improved an average of about 15 percent on tests measuring fluency over the past five
years, according zo an analysis of data by the Education Department.

The Reading First program, a central, part of the No Child Left Behind la~;, has been
criticized by congressional Democrats who say it has been riddled with confliczs of
interests and mismanageme~to The House education committee is holding an oversight hearing
on the m~ter Friday.

The data, scheduled to be released today, indicate that students have benefited from the
program, which provides grants to improve reading in kindergarten through third grade.
"That’s the irony," said Jebm, ~. Jennings, president of the Can[or cn Edl]cation Policy.
"The program was poorly -- even unethically -- ad~..~inistered at the federal level, yet it
seems to be having a positive effect in schools."

A department o~ficial said the data show %.hat the n:ambex ef students in R~ading [ir~t
program~ who were proficient on fluency tests increased en average over the past five
years by 16 p~rcent for first-graders,
14 percenz for second-graders and ]5 percent for ~hird-gradezs. On comprehension tests, it
increased 15 percent for first-graders, 6 percent For second-graders end 12 percent for
third-graders. The offisial said the analysis is based on results from 16 states that bare
the most complete data.

"The ~esults show that Reading First is an extremely effective program that is helping our
nation’s neediest students get the skills they need to read,"
ssid .Amanda Farris, e deputy assistant education secretary who oversees the program.

Critics said the res.ults were nor so impressive, considering how much money has been spent
on the program. They said the tesz scow’as are meaningless because uhey are not compared
with the performanue of other students, who nationwide are doing better ~n reading.

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~rivate~_- _Spelling s, Mar~laret ...... :
From: Neale, Rebecca
Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2007 9:34 AM
To: Benton, t~leredith; Briggs, Kerri; Williams, Cynthia; Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Derfman, Cynthia;
Dunn, David; Evers, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Gribble, Emily; Halaska, Terrell; Herr, John;
Kuzmich, Holly; Lenders, Angola; Maddo×, Lauren; Private - Spellings, Margaret; McGrath,
John; McLane, Katherine; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar, Doug; Neale, Rebecca; Pitts,
Elizabeth; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Scheessele, Marc; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent;
Terrell, Juiie; Toomey, Liam; Tracy Young (E-mail): Tucker, Sara Martinez; Young, Tracy;
Yudof, Samara; Zeff, Ken
Subject: William I~cKenzie: Bipartisan Wins Amid Partisan Riffs? (DMN)

William McKenzie: Bipartisan Wins Amid Partisan Riffs? (DMN)


The Dallas Morninq News, Apd118, 2007
Domestic triumphs still key to both parties’ interests
The last few weeks have looked depressing when it comes to Washington doing anything this year, other than rudimentary
bills like the budget or firefights over Iraq spending,
President ~ush’s political capital is so low that even conservative columnist Robert Novak compares his standing to a
Jimmy Cader or Richard Nixon, And despite a 100-hours push in January, congressional Democrats look mostly content - make
that thdlled - to scrub every move the White House has ~nade.
Next up, they’re going after the obscure Reading First program.
But maybe not all is lost, And I’m not saying that because I’m an optimist.
There are 1win pressures at work lo get both parties to make deals, particularly on education and immigration. Each party’s
self-interest demands that it do more than square off. Here are some reasons I’m still hopeful:
Pelosi and Reid need triumphs to retain Congress: Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid can’t expect volers 1o let them keep
running Congress after the 2008 election if their leadership hasn’t produced significant victories.
They aren’t off base investigating the administration, because there’s a genuine rote for an opposition party in reviewing a
president’s mistakes. But that’s not al! there is to governing. It also demands passing bills that resolve public problems.
You can see hints that Speaker Pelosi gets this. When you study the nuance of the immigration debate, for instance,
there’s reason to believe she may work with Mr. Bush to pass a bill this year,
First, she’s on record suppoding tl~e same goals the president wants: tougher border security, a guest worker program and
a chance for illegal immigrants to earn dtizenship.
Second, she’s showing a practical side. My sources in Washington tell me she originally told the White House she wanted
100 House Republicans to back a broad immigration bill. Now, she’s down to accepting 70, tfshe wanled to kill things, she would
have stuck to 100.
Third, there’s a House bill that could bring Republicans and Democrats together. Republican Jeff Flake and Democrat Luis
Gutierrez introduced it ]ast month, and it includes the goals Mr. Bush and Ms. Pelosi support. The speaker has termed it "an
excellent framework," and religious and labor leaders today will join business advocates in supporting the bill,
Let’s turn next to the Democratic Senate and Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Sen. Ted Kennedy co~ltinues his quest to rewdte the No Child Left Behind Act. He reportedly doesn’t want 2008
presidential politics to muck it up, so he’s meeting regularly with Education Secretary Margaret Spellings. You don’t read about
this on the front pages, but they are pressing ahead.
The key will be when the Senate starts the Reading First. investigation. Democrats have been hiring investigators to see if
the Education Department gave Ihe program an unnecessary advantage. Wilt Mr. Kennedy use his muscle 1o get the Senate to
keep moving on No Child? Or will padisan pressures around Reading First deter him?
My bet is that he muscles forward. At 75, he’s inl:erested in legislating - and since ha’s not just any senator, his muscles
matter,
Bush’s legacy is domestic, not foreign: Second-term presidents usually go international to cap lheir tenure. But the Middle
East is such a mess that Mr. Bush can’t go far there. And Democrats won’t offer much help.
That’s why you see him in I~/aces like Yuma, Ariz,, where he visiled after Easter to tout his immigration reform ideas. Three
days later, he held a roundtable in Washington wilh business, education and civil rights leaders Io discuss No Child Left Behind.
Both fronts involve intricate maneuvering. On immigration, for example, the president’s trying to win over conservatives like
Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, who previously opposed a broad reform. If Mr. Bush can enlist more Kyts, he can start negotialing the
architecture of a final bill with Mr. Kennedy and Ms. Pelosi.
I sakl earlier this year that I woukl [rack what’s going or} across party lines to make a difference in Americans’ lives.
These developments don’t promise a bipartisan nirvana. But it’s not unreasonable to think the two parties can make
progress on these two huge fronls, which would help them - and certainly the rest of us.
If we create a saner immigra~tion system and educate the many low-income children coming up in America - a growing
number of them Latino - we can guarantee that our prosperity continues.
William McKenzie is a Dallas Morning News editorial columnist. His e-mail address is wmckenzie@dallasnews.com.
From: Neale, Rebecca
Sent: Monday, April 16, 2007 8:54 AM
To: Beaten, Meredith; Briggs, Ken-i; Williams, Cynthia; Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Dorfman, Cynthia;
Dunn, David; Evers, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Gribble, Em~y; Halaska, Terrell; Herr, John;
Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Pdvate - Spellings, Margaret; McGrath,
John; McLane, Katherine; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Mesecar, Doug; Neale, Rebecca; Pitts,
Elizabeth; Reich, Heldi; Ruberg, Casey; Scheessele, Marc; Tada, Wendy; Talber’q Kent;
Terrelt, Julie; Toomey, Liam; Tracy Young (E-mail); Tucker, Sara Martinez; Young, Tracy;
Yudof, Samara; Zeff, Ken
Subject: KC Comes Up Empty On Reading Funds (KCStar)

KC Comes Up Empty On Reading Funds (KCStar)


By Jo~ Robertson
,Kansas CftyStar, April 16, 2007
The school district test out on millions in U.S. money as il sought to expand its new program.
[he Kansas City School District had a choice.
Stick with its old reading program {n 15 of its struggling schools and get an almost-guaranteed $1.6 million federal grant.
Or make a pitch for $3 million to expand its new reading program.
The district gambled -- and lost it all.
Grant reviewers denied the district largely because it failed to make a con~ncing case for swilching the 15 schools to its
new reading program, Success for All, according to comments in public records obtained by The Kansas City Star.
The district had installed Success for All in most of its schools this year at the urging of new Superintendent Anthony
Amato. But 15 schools had stayed with another program because they were in the third year of a federal Reading First grant.
[he district had received several million dollars in Reading First money, including $2.4 million for the current school year.
To get $1.6 million for a fourth year, the district had to show only thatthe schools were making progress.
Instead, Kansas City competed for ful! funding wilh Success for All.
Twenty-three districts in Missouri had the oplion of reapplying for fourth-year Reading First funding, according to the
Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. All bul Kansas City did.
Kansas City ended up competing with 47 other Missouri districts making first-year proposals. When the state released its
list of t7 winners last week Kansas City was not on it,
Amati) could not be reached for comment Friday. District spokeswoman Cynlhia WheeleFLinden said she did not have
enough information to explain the district’s rationale.
Kansas City sought $3.05 million to expand Success ror All into all grades in the 15 Reading First schools. The rest o! the
district began using Success for All at the start of this school year in what was the most dramatic of many changes the school
board approved in Amato’s first weeks as superintendent,
But the district did not successfully make its case for Success f~ All with the Reading First grant reviewers,
Among their comments:
=It appears there was no formal process to select this program (Success for All or SFA) --just support from lhe top three
administrators in the district. (There are) no data presented on the current program as to why it is being replaced."
"The whole proposal seems to be about the purchase of SFA and program implementation. The intent/focus for RF
(Reading Firs!.) implementation seems to have been missed."
In a memo b Reading First school principals, obtained by The Star, Amato said the denial occurred "due to the quality of
granl application, not due to any bias by the state against the distdct or Success for All."
]he distdct would respond to the reviewers’ comments and apply again for the grant next year, he said.
]-he loss of funding will result in lhe 15 schools losing a reading coach for kindergarten through the third grade, he said. But
the schools will have a literacy coach, and the district will provide all the materials and training to use Success for All.
Only one area district-- Hickman Mills --won a new Reading First grant this year, with a pitch for $2.2 million.
Most area districts are no[ eligible.
~_riv__a~te - Spellin~ts, Margaret
From: katherine mctane
Sent: Monday, April 16, 2007 4:57 AM
To: Dunckel, Denise; scol.-t mo stanzel@who.eop.gov; Sampson, Vincent; Quarles, Karen;
Bannetrnan, Kristin; Rosenfelt, Phil; Taylor, Jeff; Conaty, Joseph; Farris, Amanda; Beaton,
Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David;
Dorfman, Cynthia; Evers, Bill; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Landers, Angeta; Katie
MacGuidwin; MaddO×, Lauren; Private- Spellings, Margaret; McGrath, John; Mesecar, Doug;
Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Scheessele, Marc; Halaska,
Terrell; Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L,; Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara Martinez;
Zeff, Ken
Subject: Textbook scandal reaches Congress (USAT)

Textbook scar~dal reaches Congress


By Grog Toppo, USA TeEnY
A slow-motion scandal surrounding a f÷de~al mul<ibil[ion-dollar reading program has its
first congressiona! hearing this week, but it remains to be seen whether the scrutiny wil!
shed any new light on a complex, contradictory tale of textbooks, tests and allegations of
federal arm-twisting.
A key part of President Bush’s efforts to remake public education, Reading First was
launched in 2002, giving schools $i billion a year to improve reading in early elementary
grades. Five years later, early evidence suggests that it may be helping. But
investigators say a handful of advi.sers have rm~i.roaded schools into buying textbooks and
other materials that they and associates developed.
The result: a conflict-of-interest case that took t~-~O yesrs to jel! as investigators in
the Education !lepartlnenz conneuted the dots. To date, no crimil]al charges }’_.ave been filed,
but Democrats, now in control cf Congress, promise to give the case a full airing.

"The purpose of Beading First is %0 help schoolchildren learn to read, not feather the
nests of a select group cf well-connected ind{~-iduals and ~rganizations," says R~p. <~orge
Miller, D-Calif., who. chairs the House Co~,~.littee on ~’.ducation and Labor.
Miller and Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., are conducting probes. Kennedy plans hearings
later this spring.

Miller wil! preside at the first he~ring Friday, which brings togethea- Chris Doherty, the
program’s former dire:-:tor, and three top advisers,

Atop the wizness list: John Higgins, the Zducation Department’s inspector general, who has
issued six reports detaili,~g how Reading First leaders and contractors looked the other
way at possible conflicts cf interest among advisers and o:hers -- several of whom
authored textbooks. He alsn found that D0her<y and others strong-armed states and school
districts into choosing from a small selection cf materials that stress phonics.
In one e-mail Higgins cited, boherty said of a publisher whose books downpleyed phonics,
"They are trying to crash our party, and we need :o beat the
(expletive} out of them in front of .all the other would-be party (:rashers who ~re standing
on the front lawn w~Jting to see how we welcome these dirtbags."

Doherty quit in September after ~he reporL’s release.

Higgins also found that a 2002 conference for educators focused too ex:::lusiveiy on a few
programs, creatin,~ what investiga-.’cxs said was a per~:eprion that there was an "approved
list" of texts.
A related probe last month by the Governmen= Acrx}untability Office fonnd that officials
from i0 s~ates complained that the Educatit.n Department told them re eliminate reading
programs or tests that th~.y didn’t endorse. Federal rul~s prohibit [.he department from
endorsir~g any c[~rr~cul~m.

Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, who until 2005 was a WhiL~ Hollse domestic policy
adviser, says the troubles occurred before her move to the Education Department, But Mike
~etrilli, ~ former associat~ deputy secretary under Spellings’ predecessor, Rod Paige,
says Spellings "micromanaged the implementation of Reading First from her West Wing
office." She already has told lawmakers she is beefing up oversight of the program.

But even a few critics cautious±y concede that the program has been a boon to schools. The
Center on Education Policy, a Washington think tank that has criticized Bush’s education
progra~, in September said ~eading First is having "a sign±ficant impaut" in schools.

A five-year, $30.5 million evaluation, begun in 2003, should produce complete results next
year.

Cindy Cupp, a Savannah, Ga., educator, was among the first to complain in 2005, after
Reading First schools in Ge0r~ia passed over her homegrown pho~.£cs program.
Cupp compiled a huge dossier outlining the links between publishers, federal advisers,
universities and the Bush admin~.s-~ration. In findings issued last January, Higgins largely
upheld her
She says it’s irrelevant whether Remding First works:
"To rationalize breaking the law hy s~ying the program has been effective is just that
a r~tionalization."
She also notes that part of the evaluation bid went to BMC Research Corp., which Higgins
cited for turning a blind eye to conflicts of interest among three top advisers it hired.
All three are scheduled to tes<ify Friday.

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Private - Spelling, s, Margaret
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2007 8:31 AM
To: Private -Spellings, Margaret; Conaty, Joseph; Farris, Amanda; Lenders, Angola; Evers, BEll;
Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dorfrnan, Cynthia; Mesecar, Doug; Dunn, David; Pitts,
Elizabeth; Flowers, Sarah; McGrath, John: Talbert, Kent; Briggs, Kerri; Kuzmich, Holly;
Toomey, Liam; Maddox, Lauren; Scheesseie, Marc; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Beaton, Meredith;
Tucker, Sara Martinez; Tada, Wendy; Halaska, Terrell; Tracy WH; Young, Tracy; Zeff, Ken;
Quarles, Karen; Bannerman, Kristin; Watkins, Tiffany; Sampson, vincent
Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof, Samara
Subject: With subpoena, witness list reveals RF hearing focus (Education Daily)

With subpoena, witness list reveals RF hearing focus (Education Daily)


By Kds Kitto
Education Daily, April 1I, 2007
The House Education and Labor Committee made good on hints Lhat it would make rare use of its subpoena power to
assemble the witness Iist for the upcoming Reading First hearing, a proceeding that now looks to be focused oa the tangled web
of alleged conflict of interest surrounding the program’s widely used assessment test.
A trio of members from the Education Department’s now-defunct cornmitlee on reading assessments was called to testi~
at the April 20 hearing. Roland H. Good, a pro;~essor at the University of Oregon and the author of the Dynamic Indicators of
Basic Early Literacy Skills assessment lest, and Edward Kame’enui, an ED employee who used 1:o direct the University of
Oregon’s Reading First technical assistance center, voluntarily agreed to appear before the commit"lee.
But Deborah C..Simmons, a former Oregon colleague of Good and Kame’enui now at. Texas A&M University, was served a
subpoena Monday after Simmons’ a~torney was elusive about his client’s attendance, according to a committee statement.
lhe hearing’s other two confirmed witnesses are John P. "Jack" Higgins, ED’s inspector general, and Chris Doherly, the
former program director for Reading First.
Experts said the witness list indicates that Congress members want in-depth answers 1o questions about the literacy
program’s implementation before taking the possible next step of calling Secretary Margaret Spellings to a future hearing,
"1 would presume ,.. that the committee wants 1o get |he facts straight before asking Ihe Secretary questions," said the
Center on Education Policy’s Jack Jennings, "and they have all the key characters who can give them the facts."
Spotlight on DIBELS The roster of witnesses also reveals a locus on Good’s reading assessment, DtBELS, which is now
one of the most commonly administered early literacy tests, according to several sources.
The Office of Inspector General’s February audit ~ound that several ED materials on Reading First, some of which were
written by Karne’enui and Simmons, appeared lo promote DIBELS. Good had also made presentations on DIBELS to state
directors during the program’s 2002 inil:iation.
The three were also a part of one of the three technical assistance centers ED set up to provide help to states
implementing the literacy program.
The centers were a subject of IG scrutiny ir~ an audit that cited them for conflicts of interest among their employees.
Success for All Foundation’s Robert Slavin, one of the first to complain to IG about the program’s implementation, said the
committee has rightty focused on DtBELS to bring ethical issues 1o light.
"There’s no benign way to explain what happened with DIBELS," he said, commenting on the assessment’s quick growth,
which he said can’t be attributed Io marketing or research. "In some ways, it’s the clearest story that simply has no other
explanation."
But Simmons will have to respond to the subpoena in order for Congress members to get their desired background on the
billion-dollar-a-year program. Her allorney, Gaines Wesl, told Educalion DailyTM that his client has not yet decided what she will
do.
Spokesman Tom Kiley said the committee chose to take the unlikely step of issuing a subpoena because it "is critical that
[Reading First] be managed in the best interests of schoolchildren and taxpayers."
West said Simmons was given only five days lo respond to lhe commiltee’s invitation, and West’s request to took for
alternative dates went unanswered by the committee’s chief investigative counsel, Michael Zola.
Jennings and The George Washington University congressional expert Chrislopher Oeering both said they can’t remember
the last lime a congressional subpoena was used for edu ses.
Thomas B, Fordham Foundation Vice President Michael Petdlli said the witness list reveals thai partisan politics are at play.
"f lhink il’s clear thai they are going after some of the organizations that have gained tinancially because of Reading First,"
he said, "I hope they consider whelher or not these programs are effective and are helping kids learn how 1o read."
Private~o: Spel!!,ncjs, Mar~laret .................................. :
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: Wednesday, April 04, 2007 8:29 AM
To; Private - Spellings, Margaret; Farris, Amanda; Canary, Joseph; Rosenfelt, Phil; Eitel, Robert
S_; Taylor, Jeff; Landers, Angela; Evers, Bill; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dorfman,
Cynlhia; Mesecar, Doug; Dunn, David; Pitls, Elizabeth; Flowers, Sarah; McGrath, John:
l-albert, Kent; Bdggs, Kerri; Kuzrnich, Holly; Toomey, Liam; Maddox, Lauren; Scheessete,
Marc; Mcni~.t, Townsend L.; Beaton, Meredith; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Tada, Wendy; Halaska,
Terrell; Tracy WH; Young, Tracy; Zeff, Ken
Ditto, Trey; NeaJe, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof, Samara
Subject: Watchdog’s Oversight Is Having Wide Impact (EDWEEK)

Watchdog’s Oversight Is Having Wide Impact (EDWEEK)


By Micheile R. Davis
Education Week, April ,1-, 2007
Inspector general’s Reading First reports have boosted visibility.
~en Cindy Cupp met with lwo lawyers from the Department d Education’s office of inspector general in Decernbar 2005
about her complainls that the Reading First program was biased toward some providers, she was Impressed.
They listened intently, took notes, and seemed to have near-photographic mernodes for the information she provided. After
months of trying to get federal officials to take notice of her concerns, it was a relief, she recalled recently.
"At the time, I thought they were the two most brilliant people I’d ever met," said Ms. Cupp, the Savannah, Ga.-based
pul~lisher of a reading series that bears her name.
Staff members from the inspector general’s office routinely fan out across the country to investigate allegations of misuse of
federal education funds or lack of compiance with program rules, as well as to perform routine audits. But in its unlque role, the
office also has to turn a critical eye on the Educatbn Department itself. The office reports to the secretary of education, but also
serves as a watchdog-both within the department and for how federal programs are carried out by its grantees.
"Our job is to prolect the integrity of government programs and operations; improve program efficiency and effectiveness;
prevent and detect fraud, waste, and abuse in federal agencies; and keep agency heads, Congress, and the American people
fully and currently informed of the ~indings of the IG’s work,° Educalion Depadrnent Inspector General John P. Higgins Jr. wrote
last week in response Io written questions fro~ Education Week.
The inspector general’s office has been at the center of a high-profile storm over the $1 billion-a-year Reading First
program, with a series of critical reports on how the initiative was administered.
]’he office also has made news with its investigative reports in other areas.
For example, in 2005, Mr. Higgins investigated the Education Department’s public relations activities-then under fire after
the hiring of the conservative commentator Armstrong Williams under a deparlment contract to help promote the Ito Child Left
Behind Act. Mr. Williams had not publicly disclosed the financial arrangement until it came to light in media reports.
In a review of the department’s public relations contracts, Mr. Higgins found that the arrangement with Mr. Williams did not
conslitute covert government propaganda in violation of federal law, bul said that the public relations effort had failed to include
disclaimers that would have alerted lhe public that the government was underwriting the message.
Cred~ Cards to Grants
The office, which has 300 staff rner~bers in 17 locations, is charged with conducting financial audits of department
programs, investigating alleged wrongdoing, and inspections. Some inquiries are requested by the secretary of education or
members of Congress, although the Reading First investigation was prompted by complaints from vendors of reading materials.
The lG’s office also investigates reports of employee misuse of Fducation Department credit card s, examines allegations of
grantees’ improper use of federal money, and evaluates federal programs Io make sure they’re following federal mandates.
In a May 2006 report to Congress on the office’s previous six monlhs of work, Mr. Higgins told lawmakers that his office
had identified $1.5 million in questioned costs and more lhan $5.6 million in costs that did not appear to have been spent
according to law, and concluded that more than $10 rnillion in spending could have been put to better use.
Mr. Higgins’ own caree~ path is interwoven with the history of the inspector general’s office. Ha has sewed in vadous jobs,
including deputy inspector general, for some 30 years, including time when il was part of the Department of Health, Educalion,
and Welfare.
When Rod Paige became Presidenl Bush’s first secretary of eduction in 2001, he tapped Mr. Higgins to lead a committee
that assessed management problems within the Education Department. In 2002, Mr. Higgins became the inspector general.
Mr. Higgins said the office has had a significant impact in several areas within the department, particularly on student-
financial-aid programs and operations. During the 1980% the OIG consistently found abuses involving such practices as
colleges’ enrollment of ineligible students or pui’suit of loans for "ghost students," and lenders’ falsification of information o n loan
applicants.
The $400 billion federal student-loan program continues to be a strong focus of the office’s oversight, Mr. Higgins said. A
recent OIG investigafion led to the arrest of a Nevada grandmother, who was convicled of using more than 65 false identities to
apply [or $1 million in federal student aid.
The office has also helped improve organizationat structures within the department, which in Ihe 1990s was plagued by
financial mismanagement. As a result, in part, of the office’s recommendations on internal management, the department received
its first clean outside audit, from the accounting firm of Ernst & Young in 2003, Mr. Higgins said,
"We helped put mechanisms in place to help the depadment stay the course, and they have, receiving a clean opinion for
live years in a row," he wrote.
These days the o~ce is spending more time on federal elementary and secondary education programs, as the federal No
Child Left Behind Act has provided increased aid in that area, said Catherine Grant, a spokeswoman for 1he OIG.
A Natural Tension
Generally, Mr. Higgins said, the office’s recommendations are well received. For example, the Education Department says
it has adopted every recommendation the office has suggested for the Reading First program.
Because the office has no enforcement powers, it’s cdtical for it 1o be viewed within the department as an objective entity,
said Lorraine P. Lewis, Mr. Higgins’ predecessor, who served as inspector general under Secretaries of Education Richard W.
Riley and Rod Paige from 1999 to 2002.
"The key is to do that in a professional and credible and smart way, so that when [the inspecto~ general’s office] may bear
bad news-and they oftentimes do-the recipient will say, ’That’s a tough thing to read, bull understand what they’re saying, and t
understand the recommendations,’" Ms. Lewis said.
But recommendations are "not a done deal," said Bdan W. Jones, who served as the general counsel for the Educalion
Department during Presi~lentBush’s first term, said there are many times "when the IG brings a very good perspective because
[the office is] not vesled in the practical day-to-day of the program. But it would be a mislake to assume the IG necessarily has
an infallible perspective on lhings."
On Reading First, Ms. Cupp saw the results or the office’s investigalion in the form of an inspector general’s report released
in January, and she was generally phased, The report found that the state of Georgia had mismanaged several aspects of the
Reading First program, including the appearance of unfair treatment when it came to some possible Reading First providers.
(" Inspector General Faut~s Handling of ’Reading First’ in Go.,* Jan. 3!, 2007.)
But she thought lhe mpod didn’t tell the whole sl:ory.
"What they put down was accurate, but they left out huge pieces," Ms. Cupp said, adding that some omissions pertained to
what she viewed as failings by Education Depadment employees. "! can’t say they were susceptible to pressure, but I know that
major parts have been omitted.°
The inspector general’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment on Ms. Cupp’s statemenl.
Ms. Lewis said that criticism is not unusual, and that the inspector general and those who work in the office know that their
jobs are difficult because of the critical eye they musl cast on the department.
"if it gets to be difficult or unpteasanl, that’s part of the job," she said. ’At the core is the independence that guides you in your
work."
Private ,: Speilin~s, Margaret
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: Tuesday, April 03, 2007 6:33 PM
To: Private - Spellings, Margaret; County, Joseph; Farris, Amanda; Rosenfelt, Phil; Warder, Larry;
Landers, Angola; Evers, Bill; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dorfman, Cynthia; Mesecar,
Doug; Dunn, David; Pitts, Elizabeth; Flowers, Sarah; McGrath, John; Talbert, Kent; Briggs,
Kerri; Kuzmich, Holly; Toomey, Liam; Maddox, Lauren; Scheessele, Marc; Mcnitt, Townsend
L; Benton, Meredith; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Tada, Wendy; Halaska, Terrell; Tracy WH;
Young, Tracy; Zeff, Ken
Subject: Reading Probe Will Continue on Capitol Hill (EDWK)

Published: April 4, 2007

Reading Probe Will Continue on Capitol Hill


States report program is raising achievement.
By Kaflaleen Kennedy Martzo <!ew!contributors/kathleen.manzo.html>
The recent wTap-up of an intensive, two-year examination of the federal Reading First initiative is not expected
to halt debate over the pro~arn.
Given the broad agreement in seven federal reports that serious problems occurred in the oversight of the
program’s implementation, the findings have sparked interest on Capitol Hill, as lawmakers continue their own
review of Reading First, prepare for hearings on the program this month, and consider the reauthorization of the
No Child Left Behind Act.
The problems are oflget by reports that the $1 billion-a-year program aimed at improving reading instruction and
achievement in low-performing schools seems to be doing just that, and that most states are satisfied with the
guidance and support they received from t~deral officials once their grants were approved.
The lalcst review of Reading First, released March 23 by the Government Accountability ()ffice, reiterates the
findings outlined in six reports by the U.S. Department of Education’s inspector general: Federal otticials failed
to safeguard against potential conflicts of interest in administering the program; and they directed some states’
and districts’ choices of reading texts and assessments, despite legal prohibitions.
But the GAO report sets a more positive tone than the critical audits by the inspector general unveiled over the
past six months. It highlights the eftEcts that Reading First, which was established under the 5-year-old NCLB
law, has had on instruction in underachieving schools, based on su~’ey responses fi:om slate olt]ciats.
Even the title, "Reading First: States Report Improvements in Reading Instruction, but Additional Procedures
Would Clari~ Educatien’s Role in Ensuring Proper Implementation by States," emphasizes the positive.
"The report demonstrates that states were satisfied with the forms of guidance and technical assistance they
received during the appliemion and implementation process for the Reading Firs! program,:’ Deputy U.S.
Secreta~" of Education Raymond J. Simon w:rote in a response to the GAO.
Yet while department officials say that agency policies and procedmes have been ti~tened as a resuh of the
repo~ls, and that Reading First is working well, the program and the actions of federal officials and consultants
are drawing greater scrutiny fi-om Congess.
Con~,ress~onal Digging
Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, promised "vigilant
oversighl of Reading First" in a statement responding to the GAO report. He has hired a~ investigator to look
into aIlegations of bias and cronyism within the progranl, m~d is planning hearings on the subject this month.
"We must continue to investigate how Reading First was implemented to lean from past mistakes and prevent
fitturc abusc~," Mr. MiIler said.
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who heads the Senate education committee, has issued t~rmal requests for
documents from at least eight individual consultants and RIvIC Research Corp., the Portsmouth, N.tl.-based
contractor that provided tectmicaI assistance to states for Reading First.
"More infbmlation is needed to determine why specific programs or assessments were eliminated under the
Reading First program," Mr. Kennedy, D-Mass., said in a statement.
A recent review of Reading Recovery, a one-on-one tutoring program that federal officials worked m shut out of
Reading First, raised new questions among observers and Reading Recovery, supporters about how those
officials determined whether commercial materials were suitable for use in participating schools. The review by
/he l?deral What Works Clearinghouse found positive effects for the program on students’ reading achievement.
Yet several states were told they could not include Reading Recovery in their Reading First proposals because it
did not, in the opinion of grmat reviewers or federal officials, meet lhe requirements for scientifically based
materials.
Both the IG reports and a review of e-mail doctmaents by E&wation Week show that some federal officials
worked to prevent states from using Reading Recovery in their Reading First plans. (’.__’!~asing Rules Over
Schools Gains Favor," </ew/articles!2007/03/I 6/28autonomv.lz26.html> Feb. 21, 2007.)
im 2005, the Reading Recover)_, Council of North America was one of three vendors to register complaints that
led to the reviews by the Education Department’s inspector general and the GAO, the investigative arm of
Congress. The Baltimore-based Success for All Foundation also complained, citing the loss of clients among
Reading First schools despite significant evidence that the group’s whole-school-refoma program has been
effective.

’Proven and Tested’


Success for All founder Robert E. Slavin is among the educators, researchers, and la,,~nakers who have called
for a clarification of the legal requirements for scientifically based instruction.
"Given the timing of the reports [after the program has been implemented], there’s no~ a great deal to do about
the current program," Mr. Slavin said last week. "My great hope is that there will be l~nguage in the [NCEB]
reauthorization that will specie’ in detail what it means to be research-proven."
Some members of Congress are looking for such an explanation as well.
~’The No Child Left Behind A,ct refers to scientifically based programs over I00 times," said Mark Hayes, a
spokesman for Sen. Richard G. Lunar, R-Ind., who was one of a bipartisan group oft~deral lawbreakers to
~equest the GAO audil. "The senator wo~ld like to see a strengthening of that definition and a re~urn to the
original intent of the law, that we’re using programs because they are proven and tested."
Many of the issues surrounding Reading First have already been addressed, said Am,’mda L. Farris, a deputy
assistant secretary for elementm3, and secondary education.
The GAO report includes a len~hy chart submitted by the Education Department summarizing the steps
2
officials have taken Io address the inspector general’s reconm~endations.
"This has been more of a process question tbr those of us at the department who are working on Reading First.
It’s a conversation that is very focused on Washin~on, D.C.," said Ms. Farris. "At the state level, in most cases,
the programs continue to be ~’ong, and it continues to be good for kids."
State officials agree, according to ~e GAO, which conducted a Web-based sun, ey of each state m~d the District
of Columbia, in-depth interviews vAth officials in 12 states, and visits to four. According to the survey results,
69 percent of the respondents reported "great or vel)" great improvement in reading instruction," while 80
percent said teacher professional development had improved significmltly.
Most of the hard data on student achievement under Reading First, however, have not yet been compiled.
independent review of test scores for Reading First schools is due out later this year. But tl~e GAO found that
the Education Department’s ambitious plan for monitoring each state’s implementation of the program was
muddled by a lack of written procedures. Ultimately, "states did not always understand monitoring procedures,
time[ines, and expectations lbr taldng corrective actions," fl~e GAO report says.
Allhough the problems with the progrmn and the federal reviews have cast a negative liO~t on Reading First,
Ms. Farris said the department has tried to use the information to improve its pro~ams.
:’We would rather that all of this would not have happened," she said, referring to the problems with the
program and the subsequent reviews. "But we’ve tried to make it as productive an experience as we can, and we
continue to want to do eve~’thing we can to improve [Reading First], because we know it produces better
outcomes for kids."
Department Safeguards
The U.S. Department of Education says it has taken action on all of the recommendations of its inspector
general to ensure that department employees and represemmives tmdersmnd proper procedures and legal
boundaries related to the Reading First program.
.RE COMMENDATION: Evaluate the office of elementary," and secondary education’s processes Ibr assessing
potential conflicts of intm’est when a panel review process is used and make improvements.
ACTION: The ogice of the general counsel issued guidelines to program managers to help offices avoid
conflicts of interest, and to help ensure a fair, impartial, objective, and transparent peer-review process.
RECOMMENDATION: Review all Reading First applications to determine whether all criteria for funding
have been met.
ACTION: Review completed, and some additional work on a few state applications was recommended.
RECOM~IENDATION: Develop guidance on the prohibitions againsl t~deral officials" mandating or
directing state mad local curriculun~ and assessment decisions.
ACTION: Officials" memoranda to program managers reminding them of the importance of impartiality and
outlining steps for ensuring that curriculum is not directed, controlled, or endorsed.
RECOMMENDATION: Ensure Ileal future programs, including those modeled after Reading First, have
internal controls in place to prevent similar prol~lems.
ACTION: The office of general counsel will work with department staff members to provide annual training on
the issues raised by the Reading Firs~ audits.
SOURCE: Govenlment Accountability Office
.,Pdvate - Spellin~ls, Mar~laret .........
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2007 8:42 AM
To: Private - Spellings, Margaret; Conaty, Joseph; Farris, Amanda; Rosenfelt, Phil; Landers,
Angola; Evers, Bill; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dorfman, Cynthia; Mesecar, Doug; Dunn,
David; Pilts, Elizabeth; Flowers, Sarah; McGrath, John; Talbert, Kent; Briggs, Kerri; Kuzmich,
Holly; Tourney, Liam; Maddox, Lauren; Scheessele, Marc; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Benton,
Meredith; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Halaska, Terrell; Tracy WH;
Young, Tracy; Zeff, Ken
Quesinberry, Elaine; Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie;
Yudof, Samara
Subject: Out-of-Favor Reading Plan Rated Highly (EDWEEK)

Out-of-Favor Reading Plan Rated Highly (EDWEEK)


By Debra Viadero And Kalhleen Kennedy Manzo
Edu~!ion Week, March 28, 2007
U.S. researchers see gains from Reading Recovery.
Reading Recovery= a popular one-to-one tutoring program that Bush administration officials sought to shut out of a high-
profile federal reading program, has .gotten a rare thumbs-up from the federal What Works Clearinghouse.
The posilive rating comes after prominent researchers and federal reading officials tried to dissuade states and districts
from paying for Reading Recovery with funds from the $1 l~illion-a-year Reading First program, which calls on school systems to
spend their grant money on programs backed by "scientifically based research.° In their objeclions to the tutodng program, critics
raised questions about its cost and cited problems in the studies attesting to its effectiveness.
°I think this is good news for all the school superintendents who kept Reading Recovery alive in their schools," said Jady
Johnson, the executive director of the Reading Recovery Council of North America, a nonprofit group based in Wodhington,
Ohio. "I’m hoping this report will signal a change in direction for the [U.S. Education] Department."
Yet some of the program’s early critics said in interviews last week that many of their original concerns remained.
"I never said Reading Recovery is ineffective," said Jack M. Fletcher, one of 32 researchers who signed a widely circulated
2002 letter critiquing the program, qhe real issue with Reading Recovery is the idea thai it has to be done individually, when
there’s a substantial research base on small-group interventions that shows there’s no drop-dr in eflecliveness."
impeded to the United States from New Zealand in 1984, Reading Recovery is an intensive, 12- to 20-week pullout
program that targets the lowest-achieving 1st graders. Proponents eslimate it has served more than 1.6 million students in this
country.
In the What Works review, posted online March 20, the clearinghouse said the program had ~positive~ effects-lhe highest
evidence rating possible-on students’ alphabetic skills and general reading achievement. The reviewers also determined lhat the
prog ram had "potentially positive° effects, its next-highest raling, on reading fluency and comprehension.
On the clearinghouse’s "improvemenl index," a measure used te provide a common metric on program effects, researchers
found that lhe average 1st grader who completed Reading Recovery could be expected to score 32 percentile poinls higher in
general reading achievement than similar students not in the program. Methods Questioned
That’s high praise from the clearinghouse, which the Department ot Education’s Institute of Education Sciences created in
2002 to vet research on "what works° in education. So few education studies meel the clearinghouse’s tough research~quality
criteria that some critics have dubbed it the "nothing works" clearinghouse. ("’One Stop’ Research Shop Seen as Slow to Yield
Views Thai Educators Can Use," Sept. 27, 2006.)
Of the 78 studies lhe clearinghouse reviewed on Reading Recovery, for instance, only five passed muster at varying levels.
Most oflhe five studies, which involved a tota! of 700 sludents, were experimenls in which groups of students were randomly
assigned to either a Reading Recovery group or a comparison group.
°Our job is not to weigh in on whelher Reading First had the right curricula in the programs that districts have chosen,° said
Phoebe H. Cottingham, the commissioner or the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, which
oversees the clearinghouse. ’We’re simpiy giving people research facls so they can decide on their own how much weight they
want to put on the findings and make their own judgments."
She also said the clearinghouse plans to publish 20 more reports on reading inlerventions by Jt~ly.
Nonetheless, Mr. Fletcher raised queslions about the measures researchers used to track reading progress in the five
studies on which the cleaminghouse’s Reading Recovery report is based. The studies used a mix of standardized reading tests
and a scale called the Clay Observation Survey, which was developed by Reading Recovery founder Marie Clay. Mr. Fletcher
said the instrument may be biased toward what is taught in Reading Recovery lessons and may have other technical faults.
Those objections were countered last week by Richard L. Allington, an education professor al the University of Tennessee
in Knoxville and a former president of the International Reading Association.
"1 don’t think Ithe Clay Observation Scale is] any more of a concern than using DIBELS," he said, referring to the Dynamic
Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills, a test that is widely perceived to be the Bush administration’s favored measure for
gauging students’ reading progress under Reading First. That test was devised by Reading First consultants and is being used to
tout the federal iniliative’s success.
’The question now is are we going 1o lake all the interventions off the Reading First Web sites that don’t meet the What
Works criteria," Mr. AI]ington continued. "1 don’l have a lot of confidence that anyone in Washington actually cares about l:he
evidence."
The Web sites feature reviews of reading series and programs that Reading First consultants directed states to for
guidance on products that would pass muster for use in participating schools. The sites, at the Universit/of Oregon and Florida
State Universily, were not endorsed bythe Education Department, but the consultants’ advice led I:o perceptions that they
represented a federally approved list of research-based reading programs, the department’s inspector general found. Complaints
Backed
Reading Recovery proponenls were among three groups that filed complaints in 2005 with the inspector general alleging
that federal Reading First officials and consultants tded to steer states and districts toward reading programs and assessments
that they favored-and, in some cases, had financial ties with-and away from other programs with substantial research track
records.
The inspeclor general largely substantiated those complaints in a sedes of reports issued over the past five months as part
of a broad review of the Reading First program, which was launched five years ago as part of the f~deral No Child Left Behind
Act.
For instance, the first of those six reports found, then-Reading First Director Christopher J. Doherty, in a conference call in
late 2002 with six Kentucky school officials, told the group that Reading Recovery was "not scientifically based.°
The report also noted that Susan B. lteuman, who was assistanl secretary for elementary and secondary education at the
Education Department during the grant-application proce~ for Reading First, advised Mr, Doherty in January 21:)02 that
language in the program guidelines should not encourage the use of Reading Recovery.
Mr. Doherty and Ms. Neuman have since left the department.
According to an Education Week review of e-mail documents, federal officials repeatedly discussed Reading Recovery, and
their desire to .~reven1 stales from allowing use of the program in Reading First schools, during 2002 and 2003, when states were
submitting their grant proposals.
Elaine Quesinberry, an Education Department spokeswoman, said last week that the department "is prohibited from
endorsing any particular curriculum, and we will not encourage states to use any one curriculum over another." Ms. Neuman said
in an interview that the instructions she relayed to Mr. Doherty were not to discredil Reading Recovery, but only tu ensure that
Reading First funding went mostly to comprehensive core reading programs, nol pullout programs [hat benefitted only a handful
of students.
According to Reading Recuvery’s Ms. Johnson, the negative publicity and the department’s effort hurt the program’s
popularity. The number of students padicipating, she said, dropped from t59,000 a year in 2002, the first year of Reading First,
to 109,000 four years later. Cost-Effective?
G. Reid Lyon, an influential adviser to the departmenl on reading issues at the time and a critic of Reading Recovery, did
not dispute lhe What Works review.
’The evidence is what it says," said Mr. Lyon, who headed the reading-research branch of the National Institute for Child
Heaith and Human Development until 2005. "So the question we need to ask is what level of professional development is
needed to implement a program with [idelity? Can the district provide that? Can we cover lhe expense of the program? Is it cost-
effective?"
Some expeds consider [he program costty because it requires one-to-one tutodng and because the teachers who
supervise the program in their schools must undergo a year of university-based Iraining. Reading Recovery advocates, however,
contend those costs are largely offset by the savings thal come as fewer children are referred to special education.
Critics have also noted that must of the studies were conducted by researchers affiliated with Reading Recovery, which is
not unusual among the studies the clearinghouse reviews.
Alan E. Farstrup, the executive director of the Newark, Del.-based International Reading Association, said debates over the
best methods for teaching reading miss the point. "There are no best methods, but there are best matches between the needs of
individual children and evidence-based practices," he said. "1 would coil this report useful evidence, so that [here’s a broader
array of programs to choose from."
Vol. 26, Issue 29, Pages 1,14
Private - Spellings, .....Ma,,r~laret , ..
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2007 8:33 AM
To: Private - Spellings, Margaret; Conaty, Joseph; Farris, Amanda; Landers, Angela; Evers, Bill;
Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dorfman, Cynthia; Mesecar, Doug; Dunn, David; Pitts,
Elizabeth; Flowers, Sarah; McGrath, John; Talbert, Kent; Briggs, Kerri; Kuzmich, Holly;
Toomey, Liam; Maddox, Lauren: Scheessele, Marc; Mcnitt, Townsend L_; Beaten, Meredith;
Tucker, Sara Martinez; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Halaska, Terrell; Tracy WH; Young, Tracy;
Zeff, Ken
Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof, Samara
Subject: Letter. Reading First Is Making Progress (LVS)

Letter: Reading First Is Making Progress (LVS)


Las Ve~, March 28, 2007
Regarding the Las Vegas Sun’s March 17 editorial, "Accountability First":
With all the talk about the Readin~j First program, one simple but important message has gotten lost along the way. As
Education Secretary Margaret Spellings has 1old Congress, "More students are being taught to read,"
Reading First was created to meet a real and growing need. From 1971 -99, reading scores for 9-year-olds rose only 4
points nationwide, according to the klation’s Report Card. In the 1990s scores actually feli among fourth-graders.
Reading First trains teachers in proven, research-based instruclional methods, such as phonics and phonemic awareness,
based on more than two decades of research into how best children learn to read. It’s an importanl component of the No Child
Left Behind Act, which has helped produce rising test scores in reading and math.
Success has been notable. From 2004 -06, first- and third-graders in Reading First schools r~ade double-digit percentage
gains in fluency and comprehension. Heady every category of second-graders - economically disadvantaged, English language
learners, students with disabilities, black and Hispanic - made significant gains in fluency.
It is true that a report by the U.S. Department of Education’s in~ecter general found that mistakes were made in the early
implementalion of Reading First. Spellings concurs with the inspector general’s recommendalions and has completed needy all
of them. Nevertheless, some critics continue to use the findings to try to end not only the program but also No Chad Left Behind
itself.
This would be a tragedy. No Child Left Behind and Reading First are we~king, and deserve to be reau|horized. Just as
important, your readers deserve to know why.
Tori Halada, San Francisco The writer is U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings’ deputy representative for Region IX,
which includes Nevada.
Page I of 10

Private - Spellings, Margaret

From: Neale, Rebecca


Sent: Sunday, March 25, 2007 9:41 AM
70: Cariello, Dennis; Halaska, Terrell; Dunn, David; Terrell, Julie; Rosenfelt, Phil; Pitts, Elizabeth;
Tucker, Sara Martinez: Ruberg, Casey; Kuzmich, Holly; Scheessele, Marc; tacnitt, Townsend L;
Flowers, Sarah; Williams, Cynthia; Toomey, Liam; Tada, Wendy; tracy_d.__young@who.eop.gov;
Reich, Heidi; Landers, Angela; Talbe.rt, Kent; Colby, Chad; Briggs, Kerri; McLane, Katherine;
Simon, Ray; Pdvate- Spelfings, Margaret; Neate, Rebecca; Herr, John; Ditto, Trey; Maddox,
Lauren; Beaten, Meredith; Yudof, Samara
Subject: WEEKEND NEWS SUMMARY, 3.25.07

WEEKEND NEWS SUMMARY


March 25, 2007
1. The New York Times - States Praise Reading Program Despite lts Troubles, Report Says
2. The Washin~on Post -- To Be AP, Courses Must Pass Muster
3. Assoei.~ted Press -- Experls: U.S. testing companies "buckling" under weight of NCLB
4. Associated Press -- Arizona State: A university tries to be both big and great

States Praise Reading Program Despite Its Troubles, Report Says


By Diana Jean Sehemo
The New York Times
March 25, 2007
WASHINGTON, March 24 -- Despite irregularities in the management of Readirtg First.. President
Bush’s initiative to teach reading to low-income children, a majority of states credit the program with
improving reading instruction, aecord~g to a report by the Government Accountability Office released
Friday.

The G.A.O., the investigative arm of Congress, surveyed education officials across the nation about
Reading First, which awards $1 billion a year in grants to states to buy texls omd curriculums. According
to the report, 69 percent of those surveyed praised the program for "great or very great improvement in
reading instruction.’" About 80 percent said the program had vastly improved teacher training.

The a’eport also found that most states were satisfied with the help they had received f~om lbderat
officials and private contractors in applying for grants.
But the accountability, office, echoing criticism in a series of reports by the Educmion Department’s
inspector general, found that department officials m~d private contractors might have broken the taw in
either steering 14 states toward specific reading programs or advising them not to use others. Those
states were not identified in the report.

The law authorizing Reading First requires that grants go only to districts using reading approaches
backed by scientific research. I1 prohibits Education Department officials from promoting, or even
endorsing, specific curriculums.

Education Secretary Margaret Spellings declined to comment on the G.A.O. report.

4t22/2008
Page 2 of 10

The reports from the inspector general also found that federal officials had overlooked conflicts of
interest among contractors advising states applying for grants, and that in some instances, contractors
had had a financial stake in programs competing for the money.

The report by the accolmtability office found that of 3,400 districts eligible for Reading First, 2, 100
applied for grants, and 1,200 are receiving them. In most states, officials gave the program high marks
Ibr improving the way reading was taught.

States reported that teachers were working more syslematically to build children’s skills in phonies,
reading filoud, vocabulary and comprehension, and that schools were devoting more time to reading,
typically 90 minules or more a day.

addition, al! states said prol~ssionaI development of teachers had improved under the program.

Reading First has come under heavy fire in Congress m~d elsewhere. Previous audils of the program, mad
some local school officials, said the department had used the law to promote reading programs with a
heavy reliance on phonics, which focuses on the mechanics of sounding out syllables, rather than
methods emphasizing additional strategies for making sense of texts. The House and the Senate are
planning hearings.

The G.A.O. report incorporated reconunendations from the earlier inspector general reports that the
Education Department should guard against conflicts of interest in administering the proga’am.

In a response attached to the report, the deputy secretary &education, R~’mond Simon, wrote that the
depamnent agreed with its recommendations.

To Be AP, Courses Must Pass Muster


Teachers Required To Submit to Audi{
By Daniel de Vise
The Washington Post
March 25, 2007

While her students at Blake High School prepare for an Advanced Placement exam that measures
whether they know college-level world history, Saroja Ringo is being asked to prove she knows how
teach ik

The College Board, publisher of college-preparatory extorts, is auditing ever3’ Advanced Placement
course in the nation, asking teachers of an estirna*ed 130,000 AP courses to furnis1~ written proof by
June I that the courses they teach are worthy of the brand.

An explosiort in AP study -- participation in the program has nearly doubled this decade -- has bred
worD’, particularly among college leaders, of a decline in the rigor for which the courses are "hmwn.
Once the exclusive province of elite students at select high schools, AP study or its equivalenl is now
more or less expected of any s~udent who aspires to attend even a marginNly selective college.

In ~he haste to remain competitive in the AP arms race, schools somelimes award the designation to
courses that barely resemble the college curriculum the program is meant to deliver, according to
College Board officials and educators. Until now, there has been no large-scale effort to weed out such
abuse.

"Anybody could .just say, ’I’m teaching an AP course; I’m an AP teacher. There’s n~ protocol,’ " said

4/22/2008
Page 3 of 10

Ringo, who teaches AP World ttistory at the Silver Spring school and works as an official grader of the

Beginning with the 2007-08 academic year, only teachers whose syllabuses have been approved by the
College Board may call their courses AP. Each teacher must submit an audit form, along with a syllabus
fol’ the course he or she teaches. Depending on how well the teacher’s syllabus -- assuming he or she has
one - reflects the rigor expected by the CoIlege Board, the process can be brief or time*consuming.

The task has been met with no small amount of grumbling. Montgomery County teachers loosed an
angry volley of e-mails oyez the exercise, mostly along the lines of "Why me?" and "Why now?" But
many faculty begrudgingly accept that some quality control is needed, lest the AP program spiral ou~ of
control.

"I thit~ the teache~s are sympathetic in hindsight," said Stephanie Valentine, who oversees the program
at Springbrook High in Silver Spring. "Not while they’re doing it."

The implications for high schools and colleges, students and teachers are enormous.

One woutd be a probable decline -- after years of double-digit growth -- in the number of courses
labeled Advanced Placement. College Board officials have set a goal of approving at least 105,000 AP
courses, of an estimated 130,000 nationwide. The attrition, they predict, would come mainly from
teachers who decline to participate. No school will be restricted from giving the exams, although
students without adequate preparation are malikely to take them.

Tom Matts~ a College 13oard official who oversees the audit, said its purpose is to help leachers elevate
their courses.

"We’re not trying to eliminate any courses," he said, "but to help teachers understand M~at needs to be in
the course and to provide evidence in the syllabus" that college-level material is being taught.

Since its 3an, 23 launch, the audit has drawn submissions fi’om 55,000 teachers, Malts said_ University
professors review the courses and usually respond within two months. Sevcnt3’-four percent of courses
have been approved to date. Unsuccessful teachers are encouraged to resubmit up to three times, with
guidance li-om the College Board. Once approved, teachers and their syllabuses ~e sanctioned until they
move Io another school or the course requirements change.

Wendy Bo~relli, who has taught AP Literature and Composition at Springbrook High for two years,
earned approval on her first Ix3.’. She completed the audit in a day and submitted it the first week the
College Board would take it.

"The bulk of what I sent them was the real syllabus that I give my students each semester," Borrelli said.
She concedes that the audit would be more work "if you weren’t the kind of organized or, shall I say,
ana!-retentive teacher that I am."

For college admissions officers, the audit might assuage rising doubts abou~ the value of the AP stamp
on an applicant’s transcript. They, more than any other group, pushed for the review: driven by the steep
increase in applicants claiming an AP pedigree.

"Is it possible to expand these courses as fast as they have and maintain their quality?" asked Andrew
Flagel. dean of admissions at George Mason University in Fairfax County. "Anecdotatly, what we’re
hearing t~om people is that that’s a huge challenge: that the classes have gotten significantly larger and

4/22/2008
Page 4 of I0

that the push to get so many people into [them] has led to a tendency or a temptation to lower the rigor
of the course."

Marts said college officials nationwide were "curious to know what has happened to fl’re curriculum
when we’re seeing a 150 percenl increase in lhe number of students t’~ng these classes over the past l 0
years." He cited well-traveled anecdotes about schools that "simply make up courses and call them AP."

Although fast-growing AP programs in the Alexandria, Fairfax, Momgomery and Arlington County
systems retain a uniformly high caliber, veteran teachers there say, they have seen or heard of scofflaws
elsewhere. In a typical scenario, a school co~nbines disparate groups of honors and AP students into a
vaguely defined AP course without intending to teach the advanced curriculum or to prepare students for
lhe end-of-course exam.

"Yhey’lt cal! it AP, but you end up with two of 26 kids taking the AP test," said Mel Riddile, principal of
T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria. "Is that really an AP course?"

Studentg might have the most at stake. An aspiring pro-meal student might learn in the fall that the AP
biology cottrse on her high school schedule has been downgraded to the more generic "honors." This, in
tttn~, could affect what she is tauglat in the class and her chances for taking, let alone passing, the prized
AP biology exam, a galeway to college credit and advanced standing. (Taking an AP course by itself is
not enough to earn college credit; a student must take and score well on the corresponding extort.)

Also at stake might be the prestige factor of the course on a high school trtmscript and the potential for
lost bonus points awarded for AP stttdy, with a corresponding effect on c]ass rank.

Some teachers remain skeptical of the audit: What’s to stop lazy, AP teachers from copying artother
teacher’s syllabus and passing it off as their own? Who will ensure tt~at lesson plans approved by the
College Board will actually be taught?

Supporters of the a~dit effort, however, say it’s a step in the tight direction.

The mean AP exam score dipped from 3.01 in May 2000 to 2.89 in May 2006, on a five-point scale, a
modest erosion in a span of years when the number of exams taken doubled to 2 million.

Of greater concern lhan the scores - to critics, at least -- is the growing number of AP students who
never take the exam.

Marts, of the College Board, contends that "sludents benefit even without the exam."

But Riddile says the tesl is the ultimate measure of AP success.

"What’s the only way you can assure that’s an AP course?" he said. "That’s that the student in that ~ourse
took the AP assessment, and here’s their score."

3. Experts; U,S. testing companies "buckling" under weight of NCLB


By Megan Reichgott
Associated Press
March 24, 2007

CHICAGO - To motivate juniors on last April’s assessment exams, Springfield High School ofli~r~d
coveted lockers, parking spaces near ~he door and free prom tickets as incentives for good scores.

4/22/2008
Page 5 of I0

But the incentives at the central Illinois school went mMaimed m~til earlier this month, when Illinois
finally published its 2006 test scores - more than fore" n~onths after they were due.

Critics pounced on tlaxcourt Assessment lnc., which lost most of its $44.5 million state contract over
delays - caused by everything from shipping problems to messing test pages and scoring errors -that
made illinois the last slale in the nation to release scores used to judge schools trader the federal No
Child Left Behind Act.

But experts say problems are more widespread, and poised to get worse. A handful of companies create,
print and score most of the tests in the U.S., and they’re straggling with a workload that has exploded
since President Bush signed the five-year-old education reform package.

The testing, industry in *he U.S. is bt~ckling under the weight of NCLB demands," said Thomas Toch,
co-director of Education Sector, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.

When Education Sector surveyed 23 states-in 2006, it found that 35 percent of testing offices in those
states have experienced "significant" erro,s with scoring and 20 percent didn’t get results "in a timely
fashion."

Illinois saw more problems this month, when students took achievement tests that contained as many as
13 errors, officials said. But lllinois isn’t fl~e only state that’s experienced difficulties:

Connecticut last year fined its testing company $80,000 after a processing error caused wrong scores
~or 355 students on the 2005 test. Tide problem came a year after the state canceled its contract with
another company after scoring problems caused a five-monlh delay in reporting scores.

The Texas Education Agency passed 4,160 10th-graders who initially failed the math section of the
~exas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills in 2003 after officials discovered a test question had more
than one correct answer.

_Michigan Educational Assessment Program results were delayed Iast year, and there were previous
problems under another contractor. In 2003, 3,400 MEAP scores were delivered months late and nearly
1,000 results went missing.

_Alabama education offieia]s said a testing company mistakenly failed some schools while passing
others that should have t~iled, after scoring problems on fl~e 2005 assessment test.

_In Oregon, the state Education Departmenl complained that a computerized state assessment test was
pIagued by system problems. The testing company later terminated its contract WJ|llt ~he state, claiming it
was owed back payments, and the sta~e sued the company for breach of contract. Now, thousands of
students who haven’t completed online exams will take them in lvlay using paper and pencil.

Causes of the problems are multipronged, testing company and education experts say.

The number of studenls being lested has rgsen sharply since the No Child Left Behind Act took eft’eel.
Illinois: for exaJnple, used to test only third, fifth and eight graders but now tests students in third
through eighth grades.

To meet NCLB requirements, states administered 45 million exams by spring 2006, and the number
keeps rising. By the end of the 2007-2008 school year, il will reach about 56 million tests.

,ti22i2008
Page 6 of 10

What’s more, each state has its own test, and many want them customized, said Michael Hanson, chief
executive officer of Harcourt Assessment, which no longer administers illinois’ tests but still is involved
in developing and grading them. Before NCLB was signed into law, states used exams like the Stanford
Achievement Test, and publishers created new tests every six to eight years.

"Not orgy (have) s~ates wanted different content in terms of tlie tests, but they also have very mmay
different requirements as to logistics, detiveD,, look mad feel, color, how the questions are organized,
horizontal, vertical ... you name it, it was on the table," Hanson said.

On top of that, experts say, are rigid NCl,B-driven deadlines.

"That means March and April we are completely ... at peak capacity and so is every one of our
competitors," Hm~sen said. "But also then when the tes! results come in, they (schools) need the test
results hack as soon as possible ... so the tmnaround from the time that the test is taken, to (when) we
need Io report the results is extremely till and it’s getting ~ighter mid tighter."

Others say the problems are exacerbated by little competition or regulation.

The NCLB testing industry is dominated by four companies: San Antonio, Texas-based Harcourt;
Monterey, Calif.-based CTWMcGraw-Hi!I; Iowa City, Iowa-based Pearson Educational Measurement
and Itasca, Ill.-based Riverside Publishing.

"It’s not entirely a monopoly, but it is an oligopoly,, ~4th vein little regulation," said Walter Hanev,
professor at the Center for the Study of Testing E~ aluation mid Educational Policy at Boston Coliege.

Both state education departments and testing companies are "overtaxed and bursting at the seams," said
Becky Watts, former chief of staff at the Illinois State Board of Education.

"it’s logical. Any time ym~ have a relatively small industD’ ... it’s a tall order. What is demanded of the
testing industry,’, what is demanded of the states~ it’s huge," Watts said.

Bet~veen 2002 and 2008, states will spend between $1.9 billion and $5.3 billion to develop, score and
report NCLB-required tests, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office. Ultimately,
the price tag depends on ~vhether slates prefer exams with open-ended ques|ions - which are hand-scored
and more costly - or multiple-choice questions.

But it’s a mistake to blame only the vendors for the problems when lawmakers are notorious misers in
funding state testing agencies, said TocK from Education Sector.

States spend lcss than a quarter of I percent of school revenue - or between $10 to $30 a student - on
testing programs, even though fbderal, state and local spending per pupil adds up ~o more fi~an $8,000 a
year, Toch said.

"That’s not enough to produce high-quality tests in the tight timelines that NCLB requires. It’s
ludicrous," Toch said.

The Office of Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Education said last year it would study
whether high-stakes tests need federal oversight. The office has not begun working on the study, but
officials hoped ~o do so this year, said spokeswoman Catherine Granl.

4/22/2008
Page 7 of 10

Last year, Congress gave states $408 million to develop standardized testing under NCLB, but the slates
can use the money in lots of ways, and many of them use it for tasks unrelated to test-building, Toch
said.

The U.S. Deparunenl of Education must be more active, Toch said.

"Instead, Secretary (Margaret) Spellings has largely washed her hands of this problem, said it’s a state
problem, which is a peculiar ... response because it’s the federal government that has required the states
to take these actions," Toch said.

Arizona State: A university |ries to be both big and great


By Justin Pope
Associated Press
March 24, 2007

EDITOR’S NOTE _ It’s one of the bandamental challenge s for colleges in the 21 st century: how to make
higher education ser~,e a growing and diversi~-ing population wilhout compromising quality.
Universities are being catled on to do more for the best and brightest, but also to help more people get a
bachelor’s degree in a professional world where a college education is vital.

TEMPE, Arizona (AP) _ Like the state it serves, Arizona State University is big, bustling and
relentIessly new.

If colleges were countries, most would resemble the developed nations of the West stable, working to
improve but thronging onIy gradually m~d growing slowly, if at all. Arizona State w~’uld be China. Its
campuses are giant construction sites. New schools and programs spring up nearly e~’ery week.
Hundreds of facul~" are being hired, thousands of dorm rooms are being built.

There are 280 undergraduate n~ajors, three sepayate schools of business, 32 on-campus dining options,
and 601 student clubs.

ASU is a city in itsel£ With 51,000 students on the main campus, plus 10,000 more at three branches
around Phoenix, il is already among the largest traditional universities in the United States. But tmlike
any CUl:rent rivals [br that title, ASU plazas ~o keep growing _ to abo~t 90,000 students over the next
decade. That would make it easily the largest university of its kind in America.

Michael Crow, ASU s pre.~dent, calls his school the "new American m~iversity" m~d sees it as the
university of the future.

It’s a model that takes on b,x,o chNlenges some see as conflicting: to be a great university, and to be an
enormous one, with its doors open to a huge number of students with widely varying abilities.

Arizona: Crow says, needs ASU to be a grea universib’, with top-tier researchers solving pressing local
problems like water resource management. But it also urgently needs to expand access to four-year
college degrees. The slate’s population is growing and diversifying, with a half-dozen new higli schools
opening each year. But there are just ~ree public universities to accommodate the growlh.

"’This is a university on the front line of dealing wifl~ a ,~0) million-person America going to a 450-
million person ,~nerica," Crow says.

Schools in Mexico, Emope and Asia ha-v-e enrolled 100,000 students or more, but traditional American

4/22/2008
Page 8 of 10

ones have topped out at around 50,000, excluding multi-campus state systems and for-profit chains such
as the University of Phoenix. Most have preserved a flagship campus for the strongest students and
channeled grov~th elsewhere.

Crow doesn’t believe quality has to suffer when a university scales up to this size.

"’in higher ed, that’s what p~ople think is needed: io create this very grand school for the best, and give
ever),’body else generic campuses:" Crow says, "’ We’re like, ’Why?’"

And so, ASU is a place of extraordinary variety. There is a l~rowing roster of high-profile faculty doing
cutting-edge research, working ’alongside insmtctors in more vocational programs like goIf-course
management. There’s an elite honors college for exceptional sludents, but it’s set within the larger
university that accepts 92 percent o fits applicants.

Some critics says it’s a lkntasy to think a u~versity can simply ignore the t-inanity-vs.-quality lradeoff.

"’ASU will very clearly get worse: much worse, not better, so long as they keep driving the enrollment,"
says Geoffrey Clark, an anthropology prot~ssor and 35-year faculty veleran. He says the m~versity is
overcrowded and has sold it soul for corporate sponsorship. ASU could have became a distinguished
public research university, like University of California, .Los Angeles, h~ says; instead Crow has turned it
into just another slate eoIlege.

"’The new" American uni’~’ersity in my opinion is a fraud," Clark says. "You can’t get big and good at the
stone time."

But even skeptics say that, if anyone can pull it off, it’s Crow.

After holding seniur administrative jobs at Iowa State University and Cohunbia University, Crow came
to ASU in 2002 and has been bus5’ since _ building, recruiting, fundraising and lobbying, mad generally
kicking up the desert dust.

There’s a massive new campus in downtown Phoenix. Eight news schools within the ~m~iversib: have
opened in the current academic year alone. There’s a new Biodesign Institute that went from idea to
funclioning laborato~~ with 500 workers in just a few" years _ a pace unimaginable at many universities.

Crow has raised ASU’s p~’ofile substantia!ly with donors, voters, the legislature and the regents, who
have Forked over new money and freedom to a school that traditionally has played second fiddle to the
University of Arizona in Tucson.

He’s also brought in some top-shelftalem __ a business school dean from Wharlon business school, a top
fundraiser from Harvard. Wellington Ratter, the dean of the College of Design, said he was drawl~ by
"the chance of making a difference 0’4 a scale that was inconceivable in a place like IV[IT," where he
was a professor.

AS(.! has a strong record luring top students, too. Test scores are rising. ]’hcy are lured with sunshine
alld access to the small classes oflhe Barrett Honors College. And they’re lured with money.

Of the cash ASU awards as financial aid, nearly 80 percent is given on the ]oasis of merit _ much of it for
out-of-stale sludents with good grades.

"Arier visiting MII and tIarvard I just felt like a number," said Car), Anderson, a junior fi-om Apple

4/22/2008
Page 9 of t 0

Valley-, Minnesota. "’Then I found out I can go here for nothing _ actually get paid to go to school."
Three personal phone calls from the dean sealed the deal.

Ambitious universities like ASU have faced criticism for spending too much money to attract bright
students who improve a college’s academic ranking, but don’t necessarily need the money to attend
college. Rankings are clearly importaaat at ASU: In an unusual arrangeme~t, Crow’s contract includes a
$10,000 (euro7,490) incentive for boosting ASL!’s standing in U.S. News & World Report magazine’s
ra.nkings of the top U.S. schools.

But Crow says recruiting top students impsores the intellectual atmosphere on campus _ and that ASU
is still backing up its commitment to widen the gate. Abou! two-thirds of ASU’s financial aid, even if it’s
awarded for merit, goes to students with need. The number of students from the poorest families has
increased by about 500 percent since 2002 while the number of black, native American and Hispanic
students have all more thm3 doubled over the last decade.
ASU’s graduation rate is also improving, though still a problem. Only 56 percent of freshmen entering in
2000 had a degree by 2006. Rates for Hispanics (51 percent) and Native Americans (23 percent) are
lower still.

One of the key factors in strong graduaiion rates is close attention from faculty. That’s a chalIenge hm’e.
ASU’s student-faculty ratio is 22-1, and even then only 63 percent of faculty are tenured or tenure-track;
the others are lecturers, instructors and adjuncts.. Overall spending per student is low, largely becmlse
ASU has received comparativety little state support.
In the School of Life Sciences, Professor Ronald Rutowski says faculty are trying to give the 1,000 or so
majors, plus students from outside the department, an engaging experience in d~e classroom. But
capacity, is crmmhed, with classes and labs oversubscribed and lecture hails in short supply.

"’We’re trying," he says. But "’there’s no question the demand fga exceeds what we’re able to oiler at this
poinl."

Honors college students get more pampered treatment and praise the ASU experience. Still, some say
they have concerns about the scale of growth.
Adding 30,000 students is "’too much," said senior Taylor Jackson, a senior from Haitiesburg, Miss. "’1
won3, the money’ will become even thim~er and the class sizes ,,,,ill become even larger."

(’,row says ASU plans to hire 500 more faculty above the enrollment grma-lh rate i~ the coming years,
which would improve its ratios. It also plans to add 6,000 new dormitoD, beds over ttzree years; Crow
guesses $I billion (euro750 million) worth of new residence halls are in the works. Students who live
on-campus are g’picatly more successful, so that could improve the graduation rate.

But there will still be thousands of students who have to commute, and are inevitably less connected to
the university.
"’1 wish I could be in the band and the Ctzristian Bible groups here but I just don’t have time for it," said
Tim White, a geography major from nearby Glendale who commutes from home on Mondays and
Wednesdays. He calls ASU "’satisfactou" but says he doesn’t really feel like part ofa communi~.

Crow says his goal is to build a great universitT, where greatness rubs otT on and inspires students in

4/22/2008
Page 10 of !0

every comer of the institution_ and he insists ASU is o~ its way to makir)g that happen.

Still, some critics maintain ASU is growing too tiast, doing too many lhings but none of them well
enough.

"’We’re increasingly relying on part-timers, contract Nculty, grad students, adjm~cts," says Clark, tile
anthropology professor. "’And yet we’re ratcheting up tuition," which costs $4,690 (euro3,510) for in-
state studertts this year.

"’ASU students, or a good chunk of them, are going to be paying (four-yore’) university tuition and
they’ll be getting a (two-year) community coltege education for it."

4122/2008
, Private - Spell,,!ngs, ,Mar~laret
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: Friday, March 23, 2007 8:12 AM
To: Private - Spellings, Margaret; Farris, Amanda; Conaty, Joseph; Landers, Angola; Evers, Bill;
Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dortman, Cynthia; Mesecar, Doug; Dunn, David; Pitts,
Elizabeth; Flowers, Sarah; McGrath, John; Talbert, Kent; Briggs, Kerri; Kuzmich, Holly;
Toomey, Liam; Maddox, Lauren; Scheessele, Marc; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Beaton, Meredith;
Tucker, Sara Martinez; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Halaska, Terrell; Tracy WH; Young, Tracy;
Ze[f, Ken
(~c: Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terretl, Julie; Yudof, Samara
Subject: Report finds Education Department improperly backed aspects of reading program {AP)

By NANCY ZUCKERBROD
The Associated Press
Friday, March 23, 20077

~A~HIIq~TO~~ -- Education D~partment officials and their contractors appear to have


improperly backed certain types of instruction in ach~inistering a $I billion-a-year
reading program, congressional investigators found.

Yhe Government Accountability Office report supports assertions by the inspector general
~f the Education Department, wh@ has rmleased severa! reports in rec~nt months into the
Reading First program.
The px’ogram is a key part of the 2002 No Child Le[t Behind law. It offers intensive
reading he.[p for low-income and struggling schools.
The GAO, Coneress’.. investigative and auditing arm, surveyed
the program.
In a report due out Friday and obtained by The Associazed Fress, the GAO states that so~e
states said the}, received suggestions from federal officials er conLractors tO adopt or
eliminate cerzain programs or tests.

Federal law prohibits the departme[~t from requiring cert,5in curricula or directing states
to use specific programs.

Officials "may have violated the statutory prohibition against mandating or directing
loca! :~urricular decisions by effectively endorsing or directing the ~se_~tlon
..... * of
particular Reading First programs," the SAO said.
In i0 states, officials said they received suggestions to get rid of certain programs or
tests, according to the report. And officials in four states said they received
suggestions to adopt specific programs or tssts, the GAO said. The repurt did not name the

An inspector general report released late last year stated that the reading pro.~ram was
beset by conflicts of interest and m[smanagemenz. It found that people who had clear
conflicts of interest due to their ind:lstry connections were able to serve as grant
reviewers under the p.~ogram.

The inspecLor general stgted that the review panels were st.=_cked ;’;ith people who shared
.<he views of tho former program director, Chris Doherty. The report state.:J th.~t Doherty
repeatedly use~ his influence to steer money toward states that used a readJnj approach he
favored, called Direct Instruction.
The GAO rep{~rts that state officials b~lieve reading ~nstruction has improved under the
federal pxoqram due partly t.c- ~.he increased tocu~ :t placed on reading efforts.

Deputy Education Secretary [{ay Simo~ wrote .~n a respons~ to the GAO report [.hat the
departme~t would Fake steps to avoid future problem, s.
"we will provide wri:ten guidance in the near future to all d~partment staff reminding
them of the importance of impartiality in the performance of their dnties and not
construing progra~ s<atutes to authorize the department to mandate, direct or control
curricul~mm and instruction, except to the extent authorized by law," he wrote.

The No Child Left Behind law is scheduled to be rewritten this year, and there has been
some speculation on Cap~.tol Hill as to whether the reading program will be renewed.
The two lawmakers in charge off the committees that oversee educatio~ issues say hearings
into Reading First are likely.

"We must continue to investigate how Reading First was implemented to learn from past
mistakes and prevent future abuses," said Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., the chairman of
the Ho~se committee.

"The GAO report confirms th.~ the department failed to ta~e appropriate steps to give
states clear guidance and impartia! assistance in i~iplementing Reading First. Our students
and teachers deserve better~ " said Sen. Edward hi. Kennedy, D-Mass., chairman of the Senate
committee.
From: Neale, Rebecca
Sent: Monday, March 19, 2007 9:05 AM
To; Beaten, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Car!clio, Dennis; Colby, Chad; Di~o, Trey; Dunn, David;
Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Herr, John; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela; Maddox,
Lauren; Private - Spellings, Margaret; McLane, Katherine; Mcnitt, Townsend L.: Neale,
Rebecca; Pitts, Elizabeth; Reich, He]d!; Rosenfelt, Phil; Ruberg, Casey; Scheessele, Marc;
Simon, Ray: Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Terrell, Julie; Toomey, [Jam; t:racy_d.
_young@who.eop.gov; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Williams, Cynthia; Yudof, Samara
Subject: Young Readers Reap Benefits (PNT NM)

Young Readers Reap Benefits (PNT NM)


By Karl Terry
Portales (’NM) News-Tribune, March 18, 2007
Haylee McGilI, a second-grader at James Elementary, toads a worksheet handed out during a Reading First class
Thursday in Joe Ortega’s class. Students finished New Mexico Standards Based Assessments testing earlier that day. (PNT
Photo: Karl Terh’)
Teachers say a federal reading program designed to help schools meet the standards of the No Child Left Behind Act is
having a big impact on Poflales schools, but it’s probably nol going to solve the problem of meeting lhe state’s AYP (Adequate
Yearly Progress).
Reading Firsl, a national reading program funded bylhe federal government after the NCLB act went into effect five years
ago, focuses on kindergarten through third-grade students. Its goal is to have all sludents reading at grade level by the time they
finish third grade, according to Reading First’s Web site.
Podales schools have been involved in the program for the lastthree years. Last fall statewide scores on the DIBELS
(Dynamic Indicators of Basic Eddy Literacy Skills) tests showed Portales schools scored among the highest in the slate in
reading wilh No. 1 rankings in two categories, according to a Pod.ales Municipal School District news release.
"One of lhe reasons we tooketJ ai implementing the Reading First program was because we had looked at the AYP
scores," Direclor of Federal Programs for PMSD Trina Valdez said. "ll’s (Reading First) affected it {reading achievement) in a
very positive way. One of ~.he things we’re doing now is looking at the data, and lhat data is driving our programming."
The program provides for 90 minutes of Reading First activities daily in the classroom and albws proficient readers to move
up to a more challenging group while providing intervention for those sludents having problems.
Valdez said the program provides the dislrict with the latest research-based strategies and techniques for advancing
readers and provides 1he benchmark m~dels to judge how students are progressing.
"We’ve seen our students’ achievement improving,’ Brown Eler~entary Principal Jackie Burns said.
James Elementary Principal Mike Terry agreed with Burns’ assessment of the program, saying he has noticed the results.
He also said it’s having an effect on students’ self-esteem at his school.
°1 think students are prou~ of the achievement they’ve marie," Terry said. "There are some who are becoming more
proficient readers, and they’re proud of [hat."
According to Vatdez, one of the most valuable tools the Reading First program provides is a professional development
componenl for teachers and administrators.
Burns agreed, and added that it allows schools to idenlify students with weak reading skills and provide quicker
intervention. She also said being able te compare the Portales district wilh the g0 other districts involved in the state is a big help
in identifying palterns.
Steiner Elementary Principal Becky Flen said one of the biggest benefits she has seen from the program is that it has
teachers and administrators better aligned on reading curriculum. She says that has provided better continuity between grades
for the students.
Why, then, would the schools be failing to meet AYP?
Teachers and administralors say that it’s because of the subgroups for special education and English language learners.
They say that while reading achievement has gone up appreciably overall, they fear those subgroups will still be falling short. It
may take more than Reading First to change that, lhey say.
Federal lawmakers are scheduled 1o rewrite [he NCLB law that aims to close achievement gaps, and have all students
reading and doing math at grade-leveE by 2014.
In the meantime, wilh the required state Standards Based Assessments wrapped up this past week, educators will cross
their fingers lhrough the summer and try to adjust their instruction the best they can. They say the lag in getting the lest results
back puts them behind in planning next year’s curriculum.
"Right now we feel very good about our testing, but we won’t know until the end of July,’ Terry said.
Pr_ivate - Spellin~ls,, ..Ma,[garet
From: Neale, Rebecca
Sent: Monday, March 19, 2007 8:45 AM
To: Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Carietlo, Dennis; Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Dunn, David;
Flowers, Sa[ah; Halaska, Terrel!; Her, John; Kuzmich, Holly; Lenders, Angola; Maddox,
Lauren; Private - Spellings, Margaret; McLane, Katherine; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Neafe,
Rebecca; Pitts, Elizabeth; Reich, Heidi; Rosenfelt, Phil: Ruberg, Casey; Scheessele, Marc;
Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Terretl, Julie; Toomey, Liam; tracy_d.
__young@who.eop, gov; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Williams, Cynthia; Yudof, Samara
Subject: Reading First editorial (LVS NV)

"Schools have already chosen their reading programs, and Spellings’ revisions have come too late to help, Still, Reading Firsfs
shortcomings and conflicts illustrale some of the reasons Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act is a poody crafted law that should not
be renewed in its current form.~
Editorial: Accountability First (LVS NV)
Las Vegas Sun, March 17, 2007
Bush’s Reading First program shows problems of No Child Left Behind Act
The Bush administration’s Reading First literacy program for schools serving children from low-income families has been
previously criticized by federal auditors and also came under fire in Congress this week as lawmakers discussed reauthodzation
of the program’s fur~ding.
Reading First, which is at the heart of Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act that is up for renewal, dedicates $1 billion a year I:o
seeking out scientifically proved, research-based programs for improving reading education. The money pays for teacher training
and materials to be used in schools that serve low-income families.
But audits by the Education Department’s inspector general show that Reading First has been riddled with mismanagement
and conflicts of interest, pushing lucrative federal contracts to untested reading programs and materials created by former
employees or friend s of the Bush administration,
Reading Firs1 has relied largely on the work of private contractors who chaired the panels that awarded federal grants to
states for vadous literacy programs. But often these contractors, while working for the federal government, also were paid
royalties by the creators of untested reading curriculums and texts that were chosen and recommended to states through the
program.
The inspector general also found that Reading First officials failed to properly screen curriculums for scientific validity or
make certain that granl guidelines were followed.
According to a recent story by’the Washington Post, Education Secrelary Margaret Spellings told a Senate subcommitlee
that she was adopting all of the recommendations made by the deparlment’s inspector general, which included removing
program leaders and hiring additional employees so that fewer outside contractors would be used.
Spellings promised to create an outside advisory council tO oversee the program and promised that the Education
Department’s general counsel would examine lhe records of contractors accused of having conflicts of interest. Those
determined to presen!: actual conflicts would be removed.
We are skeptical that the Education Depadment’s leadership is capable of convening an objective outside advisory council
or has the ability lo recognize what constitutes an actual conflict of interest, seeing as how such conflicts were alJowed to exisl for
more lhan five years.
Schools have already chosen their reading programs, and Spellings’ revisions have come too late to help. Still, Reading
First’s shortcomings and conflicts illustrate some of the reasons Bush’s !to Child Left Behind Acl is a poorly crafted law that
should not be renewed in its currenl form. It is a lravesty that private gain and favoritism were allowed to take precedence over
such an impodant task as teaching poor children to read.
Private - Spellings, ,,,Mar,~l aret
.....
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2007 6:49 PM
To: Private-Spellings, Margaret; ’scott m. stanzel@who.eop.gov’; Beaton, Meredith; Bdggs,
Kerfi; Colby, Chad; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson,
Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; !.anders, Angela; Maddox, Lauren; McGrath, John; Mcnitt, Townsend
L.; Mesecar, Doug: Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray;
Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; Tracy Young; Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Ditto, Trey; Neaie, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof, Samara
Subject: Lawmakers Eye Changes to Education Law (AP)

Lawmakers Eye Changes to Education Law


B., NANCY ZUCKER_BROD, AP Education Writer
Thursday, March 15, 2007
(03-15) t 5:03 PDT \VASHINGTON, (AP) --
President Bush’s signature No Child Left Behind education law is headed for fimdamental changes as Congress
rewrites it this year, including a likely softening of do-or-die deadlines.
School administrators long have complained about the annual deadlines, which punish schools that do not make
adequate progress toward having all children pertbrm at their grade levels.
School officials also have rcbelled at requirements that students with limited English ability or with lem’ning
disabilities perform as well as their ga’ade-leveI peers.
Now, those complaints are being taken up by lawmakers spanning the political spectrum.
Key Democrats who control the federal purse strings are demanding changes. Moderate RepubIicans say the law
must be more flexible. On Thursday, they were joined by dozens of GOP conservatives who want an even more
radical overhaul.
Lawmakers say’ a major flaw is that schools that miss achievement targets by a little are treated the same way as
schools that miss those goals by a lot. Schools then are labeled as needing improvement and face the same
penalties.
"We can’t ha~e one-size-fits-all:" Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., said Thursday. He led a group of House and
Senate lav~xnakers in introducing legisIalion that would let states opt out of No Child Left Behind requirements
without losing federal education money.
Cu~rently, any stale that does not adhere to the requirements of the $23 billion program cannot get the federal
dollars that come with it. The requirements include annual testing in math and reading in grades three through
eight, and once in high schbo]. The tests must show steady yearly progress toward a goal of gelling students
working on grade level by lhc year 2014.
House Republican Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri is supporting the conservatives’ bill, even though hc voted for
the taw in 2001.
"The overriding intrusion in No Child Left Behi~d is too large to deal with unless you fundamentally change the
legislation," Blunt said.
A ±brmer education secretary, GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, said, "That’s a visceral reaction to too
much federal involvement in local schools_"
Alexander is not backing Hoekstra and Blunt in thei, effort but said their concerns must be taken into account
when the law is rewritten.
Education Secretary. Margaret Spellings has testified oll Capitol Hill this week, heating from Republicans and
Democrats who want changes.
Rep. James Walsh, a senior member of the House appropriations subcommittee that oversees education
spending, wants the law loosened tbr schools that are failing due to the performance of irmnigrant students who
do not speak English fluently.
The governmcn~ exempts students who are just learning English for less than a year from taking reading tests.
After that time, those students have to be tested and schools are held accountable for their scores.
"We’ve gotta find a belier way to test the progress of these ldds," said Walsh, R-N.Y., who expressed the
popular view that a year is not long enough.
When ~oups of children, such as those ]earning English or special education students, fail lo meet the taw’s
achievement goals, entire schools can be labeled as failing ,-rod could lace consequences such as having to fire
their staffs -- which lawm~ers say is unfair.
Rep. Bert), McCoIIum, D-Minn., also on the committee that oversees education spending, told Spellings she was
upset that some states have lowered the requirements for what students must be able to do on reading and math
tests to avoid the law’s penalties. That creates a situation where some slates look like they are per~brming well
when they may not be.
"We look like we’re doing a poor job when compared to states that set the bar low-," McColhlm said.
The issue has led some law~nakers to call for national educational standards to be included in the law when it is
rewritten.
Spellings heard criticism from Wisconsin Democratic Rep. David Obey, chairman of the tIouse Appropriations
Committee, and Iowa Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin, who heads ~he Senate Appropriations subcommittee that
oversees education spending. Both said they were upset about the law’s $1 billion reading program called
Reading First.
Aa*t Education Department inspector general’s investigation found thal people in charge of running the pro~am
and reviewing grants, had conflicts of inlcrest and sleered money toward certain publishers of reading curricula.

Spellings expressed concern that the program might be in jeopardy, saying, "1 hope we don’t throw the baby out
with the bath water."
Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., and Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., who lead the cormnittees in charge of
rewriting the education law, have indicated they support the reading program but intend to make changes to it.
,Private - Spellings, M~_rgaret
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2007 8:35 AM
To: Private- Spellings, Margaret; Benton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Colby, Chad; Dunn, David;
Evers, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers,
Angola; Maddox, Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Mesecar, Dou9; PiEs, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara
Martinez; Scheessete, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; Tracy
Young; Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Quesinberry, Elaine; Farris, Amanda; Conaty, Joseph; ’scott m. stanzel@who.eop.gov’; Ditlo,
Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi.; Ruberg. Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof, Samara
Subject: Oversight Is Set For Beleaguered U.S. Reading Program (NY-F)

Oversight Is Set For Beleaguered U.S. Reading Program (NYT)


By Diana Jean Scherno
The New York Times, March t5, 2007
WASHINGTON, March 14- Under attack for improprieties uncovered in its showcase literacy program for low-income
children, the Department of Education will convene an outside advisory committee to oversee the program, known as Reading
First, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said Wednesday.
Facing tough questions at a headng before a Senate subcommi[tee considering appropriations for the Bush
administration’s signature education law, known as No Child Left Behind, Ms. Spellings also promised to clean up the reading
program in other ways.
In about a half dozen repods in recent months, the department’s inspeclor general detailed irregularities in the program,
which awards $1 billion a year in grants to states to buy reading materials and teacher training. The reports also t’ound that
federal officials overlooked conflicts of interest among pdvate contractors who advised states applying for the grants. Ms.
Spellings said her office’s general counsel would examine the records of contractors accused of conflicts of interest, and remove
those with actual conflicts from any role in the program.
Her promises came as Reading First faces growing attacks while heading for reauthorization. Representative David R.
Obey, Democrat of Wisconsin and chairman of the House Appropriations Commiltee, said this week that the problems with the
program "make it. even more difficult to persuade a number of people, including me, to vote to renew programs like No Child Left
Behind," of which Reading First is a part.
Acknowledging that "there’s cedainly room for improvement" in Reading First, Ms, Spellings told the Senate panel
Wednesday that her department had removed the program’s leaders; expanded its staffto seven employees from two, to reduce
its reliance on so many private conlractors with the potential for conflicts; and accepted all the recommendations of the
department’s inspector general.
°I’d hate to throw the baby out with the bathwater," the secretary said, adding that despite the problems, the program was
improving reading among poor children.
At Wednesday’s hearing, Senator Tom Harkin, the Iowa Democrat who is the subcommitlee’s chairman, said he, too, was
disturbed by the accusations against Reading First. "It has an odor that I don’t like," Mr. Harkin said. But he said he was not
considering eliminating financing.
After Ms. Spellings left the hearing, Robert Slavin of Johns Hopkins University, whose Success for All reading program was
shut out of many states under Reading First, said he did not think the secretary’s promises went far enough, ’1 haven’t seen the
slighlest glimmer of even intenlion to change," Dr. Slavin said.
Because schools had already chosen their readng curriculums, promises to clean up Reading First now meant little, he
said. He compared them to linding eight innings into a baseball game with a score of 23 to 0 that the opposing team had been
playing with cork bats.
"Then they say, ’From now on, we’re using h~)nest bats.’" Dr. Slavin said. ’Tin sorry, it’s 23 to nothing. You can’t just say,
’From now on.’"
Reading First was required by law to finance only reading programs backed by "scientifically based reading research," and
the Educa!Jon Department was prohibited from mandaling o~ even endorsing specific curriculums. But the program has been
plagued by accusations that states were steered toward a handful of commercial reading programs and testing inslruments,
With only two Education Department employees in charge ot= the vast program, the administration relied largely on private
contractors to advise states on their applications for grants, screen products for scientitic validity and weigh applications. The
inspector general found that several of lhese contractors wrote reading programs and Lesting instruments thai were competing
for money, and that they gave preference to products to which they had ties.
Ms. Spellings has maintained, and said again under questioning Wednesday, that the problems with Reading First
occurred before she became education secretary.
She denied accusations from a former political appointee at the depadment, Michael Petrilli, who said she had essentially
run Reading First from her post as domeslic policy adviser at the White House. Mr. Petrilli is now a vice presidenl at a nonprofit
education research foundation. Asked about Madison, Wis., where educators gave up $2 million in Reading First money because
they would have had to drop a so-called balanced literacy reading program that they said had been successful for the district,
Ms. Spellings said she was unfamiliar with the particulars of Madison’s reading program. But she defended Reading First’s
ground rules under her predecessor, Rod Paige, saying the program did no~ exclude s ~ecific reading curriculums, but intended
only to ensure 1hat they were backed by research.
..Pr_ivate - Spellings,Margar, et
McLane, Katherine
Sent: Monday, March I2, 2007 9:03 AM
To: Private -Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Colby, Chad; Dunn, David;
Evers, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers,
Angola; Maddox, Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Mesecar, Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara
Martinez; Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; Traey
Young; Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julia; Yudof, Samara
Bush Claims About NCLB Questioned (EDWEEK)

Bush Claims About NCLB Questioned (EDWEEK)


By 13avid J. HollAnd }(athfeen Kennedy Manzo
Education Week, March 14, 2007
Data on gains in achievement remain limited, preliminary.
Is the No Child Left Behind Acf working?
President Bush says it is, pointing to student-achievement results from a single subsection or the National Assessment of
Educational Progress and tentative Reading First data. But the evidence available to support his claim is questionable.
"Foudh graders are reading better," the president said during a March 2 visit to a school in New Albany, Ind. "They’ve made
more progress in five years than the previous 28 years combined."
In mathematics, he said, elementary and middle school students "earned the highest scores in the history of the test."
"[he data Mr. Bush cited at that event are from just the =long-term trend" NAEP in reading and math, researchers say. All
available data, they add, show modest hlprovements that can’t be altributed to the 5-year-old taw. Instead, progress in
achievement is more likely a continuation of trends that predate the faw.
"There’s not any evidence that shows anything has changed," said Daniel M. Koretz, a professor of education at Harvard
University’s graduate school of education.
Other researchers suggest that the standards and accountability system ol~ the NCLB law is drawing attention to
achievement gaps and other inequalities and is causing educators 1o change their practice. But il’s too early to say whether the
federal law will result in achievement gains, they contend.
]he law’s "mechanisms are just coming inlo play, and not enough time has passed 1o ~stablish a trend," said Adam
Gamoran, a professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
’I’m Lobbying Congress’
Portraying the No Child Left Behind law as a success is a critical element in President Bush’s argument that Congress
should renew it on schedule this year. The president signed the legislation, an overhaul of the Elementary and Secondary
Education Act, with much fanfare in January 2002 and has cited it as his most impodant accomplishment in domestic policy.
"I’m not only speaking to you, I’m bbbying," Mr. Bush said at the Silver Street Elementary School in New Albany earlier this
month. "I’m lobbying Congress. I’m setting the stage for Congress to join me in the reauthodzation of this important piece of
legislation."
Congress is laying the groundwor,~ for reauthorizing the measure. This week, the Senate education commiltee held a
hearing on the iads teacher-quality requirements, Nexl week, the House and Senate education committees plan to hold a joint
session on an overview of the law.
Rap. George Miller, D-Calif., and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., the chairmen of the education committees and two of
the architects of the bipartisan taw, say they hope to renew if this year. But.many observers expect the process will be delayed
until next year or even after Mr. Bush leaves office in 2009.
A1 the New Albany school, Mr. Bush highlighted the gains on the national assessmenI’s long-term-trend tests in reading
and mathematics. Secrel:ary of Eduuation Margaret Spellings pointed to the same NAEP data on the laws fifth anniversary in
January, and during several other recent speeches.
Between 1999 and 2004, the reading scores of 9-year-oids climbed from 212 to 226 on the test’s 500-point scale. The gap
between African-American and white studenls that age narrowed to 26 points in 2004, compared with 35 points five years earlier.
The gap between Hispanic 9-year-oids and their non-Hispanic white peers tapered from 24 points 1o 21 points in that same time
period.
On the math test, 9-year-olds’ scores rose by 9 i~oints, and the gaps between Hispanics’ and ANcan-Americans’ scores
and whites’ scores narrowed slightly as well.
Although the results for 9-year-olds on the reading test are positive, researchers say they can’t be linked to the law. The
testing window extends back to 1999-three years before President gush signed the NCLB legislatbn into law and even before he
was president.
"With some of the claims that Spellings has made, for most of ’,he time period there was no NCLB, so she can’t really say
[any improvemenl] is because of the law," said Gerald W. Bracey, the author of Reading Educational Research: How to Avoid
Getting Statistically Snookered,wha runs a LIS-t-SERV, or e-mai! forum, tracking what Mr. Bracey calls the administration’s
"dis!n formation."
Mr. Bracey, a frequent critic of tesling programs, points out that implementation of the law began in 2002, but didn’t start to
fuel significant change in schools until the 2003-04 school year. ~So I guess [the Bush administration] should be sharing some of
the credit with the Clinlon administration,~ he said.
In math, the gains since 2002 are the extension of an upward trend that dates back more than 20 years, researchers say.
°They jusl pay orient!on to what happened after NCLB," said Jaekyung Lee, an associate professor of education at the
State University of New York at Buffalo. "Part of it is just a continual!on of a trend from pre-NCLB."
The administration appears to ignore other data that suggest the taw has had little or no posilive effect on achievement.
On a different NAEP exam, gains haven’t been as significant, Mr. Lee said. What is known as the "national" NAEP, as
distinguished from the long-term-trend tests, shows 4th grade reading scores the same in 2005 as three years earlier, when the
law was signed. Math scores rose 1 point belween 2003 and 2005. While that increase was statistically significant, it was smaller
than the 9-point gain between 2000 and 2003.
The scores on the °national° NAEP demonstrate that the NCLB laws impact is incomplete, said Katherine McLane, the
U.S. Department of Education’s press secretary.
"The secretary is the first tu say we have more work to do,"~ Ms. McLane said in response to the criticisms. "That is one of
the issues we have to look at in education."
Regardless of whether NAEP scores go up or down, it’s almost impossible to link those changes to the NCLB law without a
well-designed research study, said Mr. Koretz of Howard. That would compare a group of students who were exposed to NCLB
policies against one 1hat hadn’t participated in the testing and accounlability measures in the law.
Those are the types of sludies that the Bush administration says must be presented as evidence to select reading materials
for the Reading First program and to win approval for research grants from the department.
Also, scores in the upper grades on both versions of the national assessment are for the most part unchanged from before
the law’s passage,
NAEP is given to a sampling of students nationwide. Scores on stales’ own tests, however, are used to determine whether
schools have made adequate yearly progress under the federal law. Mr. Gamoran of the University of Wisconsin said the debate
over NAEP scores is probably irrelevant Even in 2005, the laws most significant policies weren’t fully phased in. Those include
the requirements that all teachers be "highly qualified~ and that all slates annually assess math and reading achievement in
grades 3-8 and once in high school, said Mr. Gamoran, the director o! the university’s Wisconsin Center for Education Research.
’Reading First’ Results
In addition to speeches ciling the NAEP long-term-trend data, members of f~he Bush administration have laude(I the
success of the $1 billion-a-year Reading First program, the largest new initiative in the NCLB law.
In the administration’s blueprint for the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act, unveiled in January, lhe Education
Department described Reading First as "the largest, most focused, and most successful early-reading initiative ever undertaken
in this country.°
Few disagree that it is the largest and most focused. The initiative, which requires that participating schools use
"scientifically based" materials and assessments, includes more than 5,600 schools in 1,600 districts. An estimated 100,000
teachers have had some kind of professional development associated with the program, according to the blueprint.
But there is scant empirical evidence showing the program’s effect on student achievement. An independent interim study
on Reading First implementalion, released lasl year, included survey results from state officials. It showed the1 the program had
led to signit]cant increases in lhe time participating schools spent on reading instruction, as we!l as more substantive professional
development and support for teachers, and the use of assessment data to inform instruction.
A laler survey, conducted by lhe Center on Education Policy, a Washington-based research and advocacy group, indicated
that states were generally pleased with the program, with most claiming some improvement in student scores on state tests.
President Bush’s blueprint includes preliminary results showing some gains in students’ reading fluency. "For the 2004-05
school year, students in Reading First schools demonstrated increases in reading achievement across all performance
measures," Education Depaflment officials wrote in Lhe blueprint.
"The percentage of 2nd grade students who me1 or exceeded l;roficiency in reading on Reading First outcome measures ol
fluency increased from 33 percent in 2003-04 to 39 percent in 20044)5 for economically disadvantaged students; from 27 to 32
percent [or [limited-English proficient] students; from 34 to 37 percent for African-American students; from 30 to 39 percent for
Hispanic students; and from 17 to 23 percent for students with disabilities," the document adds.
Those gains, however, are based on a compilation of all test results in annual state repeals for Reading First.
Thal compilation includes results from the DIBELS assessmenl, or Dynamic Indicators of Basic Eady Literacy Skills,
developed by researchers at the University of Oregon and used in more than 35 states to monitor student progress on fluency
and other measures. But they also include results from a variety of other assessments, including the Iowa Test of Basic Skills
and Terra Nova.
"The results show that more kids in the eady grades are making great progress on learning 1he basic components of
reading under Reading First," Ms. McLane, the department’s press secretary, said of the data reported in the blueprint.
Although such an assemblage of test scores can provide a general view of student progress, some researchers queslion
whelher the compilation says much about reading proficiency.
"If the goat is just to see if studenls are improving, I think there is nothing wrong with using different tests as long as it is
established that the tests are reliable and valid, and reasonably comparable," Stephen D. Krashen, an education researcher and
linguist a~ lhe University of Southern California, in Los Angeles, mote in an e-mail. However, "many [researchers] feel that
DIBELS is not valid."
Critics of DIBELS cite lhe tendency of some educators to teach to the tests or give the measures too much weight in
judging reading ability. They also question whether a test that gauges how many words a student can read accurately in a
minute, as DIBELS does, is a vatid indicator of their proficiency. ("National Clout of DIBELS Test Draws Scrutiny,’ Sept. 28,
2005,)
According to Mr. Bracey, fluency-lhe ability to read a text accuralely and quickly-is not a good indicator of reading mastery,
which requires comprehension.
"Kids can be very fluent and not have a clue about what they just read," he said.
Success of Standards
While most researchers say it’s too early to measure the NCLB law’s impact on achievement, many are beginning to see
evidence that educators are changing their behavior as a result of both the federal taw and policies that took root in the 1990s at
the onset of the movement for higher standards and greater accountability in education.
"The big success of No Child Left Behind so far is to galvanize allention to the challenges we face, particularly the
challenges of inequity," Mr. Gamoran said.
But critics of the law question, in any case, the central place it gives to test scores. They say it puts too much emphasis on
the negative consequences of failing to meet annual student-performance targets and glosses over the professional
development and other interventions needed to improve struggling schools and get to the head of elevating student
achievement.
°Whal’s troublesome about it is the idea that you can eliminate [achievement] gaps by putting pressure on schools and
nothing else," said Gary A, Odield, the director of the Civil Right Project at Harvard and lhe University of California, Los Angeles.
"It’s making a bad situation worse."
Vol. 26, Issue 27, Pages 1,26-27
Pr!vate - Spellings, Mar~laret ......
From: katherine mclane
Sent: Friday, March 09, 2007 5:50 AM
"To: rebeccca.neale@ed.gov; Quesinberry, Elaine; Conaty, Joseph; scott m. stanzel@ed.gov;
Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David;
Evers, Bill; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Private -
Spellings, Margaret; Mesecar, Doug; Simon, Ray; Reich, Heidi; rob Saliterman; Yudof,
Samara; Scheessele, Marc; Halaska, Terrell; Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Young,
]-racy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara Martinez
In War Over Teaching Reading, a U.S.-Local Clash (NYT)

March 9, 2007
in War Over Teaching Reading, a B.a.-Local e!.ash

By DIANA JEAN SCHEHO


b~DISON, Wis. -- Surrounded by five first graders learning to read at Hawthorne Elementary
here, Stacey llod±ewicz listened as one boy struggled over a word.

"Purapkin," ventured the boy, Parker Kuehni.

"Look at the word," the teacher suggested. Using a method known as whole language, she
prompted him to consider the word’s size- "~s it long enough to be pumpkin?"
Parker looked again. "Pea," he said, correctly.
Call it the $2 miliion reading lesson.

By sticking to its teaching approach, that is the amount Madison passed up under Reading
First, ths Bush administration’s ambitious effort to turn the nation’s poor children into
skilled readers by the third grade.
’~he progr:am, which gives $i bi.llion a year in grants t.c states, was supposed to end the
so-called reading wars -- the battle over the best method of teaching reading -- but has
ip_stead opened a new and bitter front in th~- f~ght.
Accordinj to interviews with school off~.cials and a string of federal audits ~nd e-mail
messages made public in recent months, federal officials and contrac~:ors used the program
tO p~essure schools to adopt approaches that emphasize phonics, focnsing o~ the mechanics
of sounding out syllables, and to discard methods ~rawn from whole language that play down
these mechanics and ~.:se cues like pictures or context to teach,

Federal officials ~ho ran Reading First maintain that only curriculums including regular,
systematic phonics lessons had the backing of "scientifically based reading research"
required by the program.

But in a str~ng of blistering reports, the Ed~/cation Department’s inspect_or gelleral has
found that federal efficla.ls may have violated prohibitions in the law against mandating,
or even en4orsing, specific ,~urriculums. The reports also found that federal officials
overlooked c~nflicts of /.~,reres~ among the contra<:tors that advised states applying for
grants, and that Jn some instances, these contractors wrote reading programs competing for
the money, and stood to oolle~t ~oyaities if their programs were chosen.

?~du.:::ation Secretary Margaret Spellings has said that the problems in Reading First
occurred largely before she took over in 2005~ and that her office has new quidel.~nes for
awardinq gran:_s. She declined a request for an interview.

M.~dison c-fficials say ~hat a year after 91isccp.sin joined Reading First,
cont~acto<s p~essured them to drop their approach, which blends some phonics with ~.~’hole
lanqua~e .:.=-: a ~:rogram ~:~].]ed Balanced L~ter_~cy. Instes.d, they gave up the money -- about
million, according 70 officials here, who say their program raised re~..-.{i[~
in New Yo.rk C.ity, under pressure from federal officials, school authorities in 2094
dropped their citywide balanced literacy approach for a more structu~ed program stronger
in phonics, in 49 low-income schools. At stake was S34 million.

Across the country -- in Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maine and New Jersey -- schools
and districts with programs that did not stress phonics were either rejected for grants or
pressured to change their methods even though some argued, as Madison did, tbat their
programs met the law’s standard.
"We had data demonstrating that our children were learning at the rate that Reading Firs<
was aiming for, and they could not produce a single ounce of data to show the success
rates of the program they were proposing," said Art Rainwater, MadJ.son’s superintendent of
schools.
Both the Nowise and the Senate are laying the groundwork for tough hearings on Reading
First, which is up for renewal this year.

Robert Sweet Jr., a former Congressional aide who wrote much of the Reading First
legislation, said the law aimed at breabing new ground by translating research into lesson
plans. Under the law, the yardstick of a reading program’s scientific ~ali,Jity became a
2000 report by the National Reading Panel.

That panel, created by Congress, with members selected by G. Reid Lyon, a former head of a
branch cf the National Institutes of Healzh, set out he review the research and tel!
Americans what worked. It n.mmed phonics and related skills, vocabulary, fluency and
reading comprehension as the cornerstones of effective reading inskm~ctJon.

Mr. Sweet firmly believes that phonics is the superior method of instruction; he is now
president of hhe National Right ~o Read Foundation, a p~o-phonics group. |’|is e-mail
~ddress begins phonicsman.

With Reading First, he said, "we felt we could put education on a new path."

Or. Lyon, another architect of the legislation, also strongly favors phonics. Teaching
children to read by reason and context, as ~arker did in Madison, rather than by sounding
o~t letters to m~ke word~, is anathema, he sa%d in an interview, ~t~gge~ting that teachers
Of the whole language approach be prosecuted for "educational malpractice.~
Mr. Sweet agreed. "You’ve -got billions usad for the purchase of programs that have no
validity or evidence that they work, and Jn fact they don’t, because you have so really kids
coming out of the schools that can’t read," he said.
But educators in M~dison and elsewhere disagree about the efffectiveness, of phonics, and
say theft results prove their method works.

Under their sy~<tem, the share c.f third graders readin’g at the top two ].evels, proficient
and advanced, had risen to 82 percent by 2~04, from 59 percent six years earlier, e.ven as
~n influx of students in poverty, to
42 percent from 31 percent of Madison’s enrollmen.-_, could have driven down rest scores.
The share of Madison’s black st[~dents reading ar the top l=~vels had doubled to 6,1 percent
in 2C04 from 31 percent six }’ears earlier.

And while 17 percent of African-Americans lacked basic reading skills when M~dison started
.its reading effort in 1998, that number had plunged to 5 percent hy
The exams changed after 2004, making it impossible ~o compare recent results ~ith thos~ of
1998.

Other reading eape=ts, lik~ Richard Allington, past president of the International Reading
Association, also challenge the case for phonics. Dr. Allington and oqhers say the
national. }~anel’s review showcd only mir:cz benefits from phonics through first grade, and
no strong support for one style of ir~.~t--umzion. They also ,--.or~te~hd that children drilled in
phonics end up with poor comprehension skills when they ~ackle more advanced books.

"This revisionist history of what the zes~arch says is ~ildiy popular," Dr. Allingtcn
said. "But i?.’s the main reason why so n~uch of the [ea.:J~n@ comm[~nity has largely rejected
-the National Reading Panel report and this large-scale vision cf what an effective reading
program looks !ike.’~
0nder Reading Firstr many were ShOOt, raged to use a pamphlet, "A Consumer’s Guide to
Evaluating a Core Reading Program Grades K-3," written by two special ed1~cetion
professors, then at the University of Oregon, to gauge wheLher a program was backed by
research.

But the guide also rewards practices, li~e using thin texts of limited vocabulary to
practice syllables, for which there is no backing in research. Dr. A!lington s~id the
central role Washington assigned the guide effectively blocked from approval all but a few
reading programs based on "’made-up criteria."

Deborah C. Simlnons, who helped write zhe guide, said it largely reflected the available
research, but acknowledged that even now, no studies have tested whether children learn to
read faster or better through programs that rated highly in the guide.

Fatally for Madison, the guide does nmt consider consistent gains in zeading achievement
alone sufficient proof of a program’s worth.

in making their case, city officials turned to Kathryn Howc of the Reading First technical
assistance center at the University of Oregon, one of several natiomwide paid by -the
federal Education Department that helped states app].¥- for gr~nts. But early on, they began
to suspect than Br. Howe wanted them to dump their program.

At a workshop, she showed them how the guide valued ezposin~ all children to identical
instruction in phonics. Madison’s program is based on ~ai!oril]~ strategies individually,
with i~ss emphasis on drilling.

Dr. Howe used the Houghton Mifflin program as a model; officials here believed that
approval would b~ certain if only they switched to that program, they said.

In interviews, Dr. Howe said she had not meant to endorse the I]o~ghton Mifflin program and
used it only for illustration° and had no ties te the company. She added that she might
have been misunderstood.
"I certainly didn’t say, \You should buy Houghton Miff!i.n,’ " she said. "I do rome.niger
saying: ’You can do this without buying a purchased progFam, it’s easier .if you have a
purchased program, so you might think about that.’ "

Dr. Howe said Madison’s program might have suited mosz studenzs, but not those Jn the five
schools applying for grants. "Maybe those students needed a different approach," she said.

Mary Watson Paterson, Madison’s reading chief, said the city did use intensive phonics
instruction, bur only far struggling children.
After providing Dr. Howe extensive documentation, Madison offi.cials received a !etzer from
her and the centez"s director, saying that because t}~ ui%y’s program lacked uniformity
and relied too much on teacher judgment, they couid not vouch to Washington that its
approabh was grcunded ~n research.

Ultimsteiy Madison withdrew from Reading First, said Mr. Rainwater, the superintende~t,
because educators here Grew c6nvinced the: approval would never come.
"It really hc[led down to, we weze going to have to abandon our reading program," the
sunerintendent said.

A subsequent le:ter from Dr. Ho~,’e seemed ts confirm his vi.~w. "’Madisc.n made a good
decision" in wi~_hdrawing, she ’,.;rote, "since Reading First is a very prescriptive program
that does not match your dis.trict’s readi:,g program as it stands

Never miss ansmall age.in!


Y:~hoo: Toolbar H]ert~ y.~n the insta~it new Mai! arriv~=s.
http: iitco].s, search, yahoo, com/too!bar/featt~.esimai!/
..Private. Spellin~ls,....Margaret ..............
FrOlTI: McLane, Katherine
Sent: Wednesday, February 28, 2007 8:43 AM
To: Private - Spellings, Margaret; Conaty, Joseph; Farris, Amanda; Benton, Meredith; Briggs,
Kerri; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terreli; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich,
Holly; Landers, Angola; Maddox, Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Mesecar, Doug; Pitts,
Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert,
Kent; Toomey, Liam; Tracy Young; Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof,
Samara
Subject: Great RF story: Reading Rituals (EDWEEK)

=The superintendent said thal we will only apply for this grant if pad: of our time is spent on dissemination of the Reading First
model to the other schools in the district," Grog Lewis, the districl’s Reading First director, recalled recently. °I’ve been involved in
a lot of reforms, but they never made any difference in the classroom. But now instruction has changed, and, not surprisingly,
performance has changed.’F
Reading Rituals (EDWEEK)
By Kathleen Kennedy Manzo
Education Week, February 28, 2007
The Ogden, Utah, schools have used the mandates of the federal Reading First. grant program to i~ne-tune instruction
districtwide, and students’ scores are way up.
In 2002, big dreams were infectious in this small manufacturing city where the Wasatch Mountain Range provided the
backdrop of some of the ski events of the Olympic Games.
]hat year, educators in Ogden’s schools set their sights high as well, when they turned to a federal grant program to
transform reading instruction and student achievement in low-performing schools.
But ofli~ials envisioned a broader goal for the 12,300-~tudent district, with its growing Hispanic population and widespread
poverty. If they were going to make a commitment to improve reading, they would have to spread the Reading First model-
including intensive professional development, research-based instruclJon, and monitoring of student progress-beyond the four
schools participating in the initiative to all K-5 classrooms.
Over Ihe past several years, schools in this manufacturing and tourism hub have dramatically changed how they teach
reading, and built a more knowledgeable teaching corps in the process. Steady improvements in student test scores-and a
dramatic leap at two schools-have followed.
"The superinlendent said 1hat we will only apply for this grant if part of our time Is spent on dissemination of the Reading
First model to the other schools in the dislrict," Greg Lewis, the district’s Reading First director, recalled recently. "I’ve been
Involved in a lot of reforms, but they never made any difference in the classroom, But now instruclion has changed, and, not
surprisingly, performance has changed."
Reading First was approved by Congress in 2001 under the 11o Child Left Behind Act ~o bdng scientifically based reading
methods and materials to struggling schools. The $1 billion-a-year initiative has been plagued by controversy over how it was
implemented by federal officials and consultants, including charges of interference in state and local decisionmaking and of
favoritism toward certain reading programs. ("E-Mails Reveal Federal Reach Over Reading," Feb. 21, 2007.)

The program has found favor, though, in many of its 5,70.0 grantee schools. While the grants go Io districls only for
specified schools, the federal initiative allows states and districts to use part of the funding to provide Iraining in the Reading Firsl
model to teachers in all schools.
A federally commissioned report and a 2006 survey by lhe Washington-based Center on Education Policy found that
Reading First schools are devoting more time to reading instruction, conducl more substantive professional developmenl in the
subject for teachers, and are more likely than nonparticipating schools to use assessment resulls to inform instruction.
Those changes are evident in Jenny DeCorso’s 2nd grade classroom at. Gramercy Elementary School, where rows of
desks have been replaced with Iables for small-group instruction, shelves are stocked with books sorted by genre and reading
level, and centers allow studenls to tackle a variety of lileracy activities designed to build their fluency and comprehension.
Lessons are punctualed with explicit and carefully sequenced skill-building drills, and opportunities to practice what
sludents have learned. Vocabulary words such as "strategy~ and "unexpected" are posted on the window next to a cover
illustration from the latest book selection, Annie and the Wild Animals. Punctuation rules and other writing conventions adorn the
walls.
Ms. DeCorso, an 11-year veteran of leaching, remembers when she and her colleagues each foilowed their own daily
plans for teaching reading, and struggle~] in solitude to figure out how to reach students who weren’t learning from them. "We
closed our doors and did our own thing," she said,
"It used to be more commonplace to have kids who could read nothing when they came to 2nd grade," she added. "Now,
there are only a few who can’t read at this point,"
Of the 435 students at the school, more than half are Hispanic, and 87 percent are poor.
After completing a number of graduate courses in reading-a requirement for teachers in Reading First schools here-Ms.
DeCorso says she is now more knowledgeable about how to teach the skill, and belier equipped to carry out the structured
curriculum and to provide supplemental lessons where needed.
She and the other 2nd grade teachers meet regularly to refine lessons, share insights and strategies for helping struggling
readers, and analyze data from regular student assessments. On a recent Tuesday morning, a reading expert from Utah State
University observed lhe teachers at work, as he does at schools here each week, and gave detailed feedback on how welt their
lessons and classroom structure reflected research on effective practices. The critique, while harsh at times, prompted Ihe
teachers to justify their approaches, or hash out. how to improve them.
In the 2rid grade classroom next door, Shannon Cook follows a similar structure as other teachers here for the three-hour
reading and language arts block each morning. In one corner, Ms. Cook sits with just a handful of her 25 pupils, helping them
pronounce in rapid succession words wilh the "long e" sound, a lesson out of Harcoud Trophies, lhe text used in Reading First
schools here. She holds up a slick card with an illustrated eagle and turns it over to reveal the spelling as the children say the
word in unison. Next is a leaf, then a bead.
It’s evident that all five pupils can decode the words, and have grasped the sound. They move on to a poem and highlight
words with the "long e" sound in a clever verse, They complete several other related activities before Ms. Cook, who is in her
third year of teaching, calls together another group to work on a more challenging set of drills.
In the far qomer of the room, several pupils are getting a quick course of phonics drills from a teacher’s aide,
The rest of the children are working diligently at the literacy centers set up around the room. Lissete Landaverde is sorting
cards with words that include the "long e." Mortice Sanguino is finishing a popular chapter book before she answers questions
about the author she has been studying, and Alexia Lopez is thinking of descriptive words to include in her stop/about her
favorite summertime memory. Other students are sitting on the floor wilh headphones for a listening exercise.
"1 rea[t really well,° said Ibrahirn Njie, who looked up from the story he was wdting to boast about his improving fluency. ’Tin
reading faster than ever ... 95 words a minute the last time I wen1 to computer lab."

Teachers in Ogden have that kind of information, and other data, at their fingertips and receive continuing advice on how to
use it to target their lessons to students’ individual needs.
During planning time at Dee Elementary School, for example, the 2nd grade team held its weekly meeting with reading
coach Margaret Young to analyze test scores and figure out which specific skills students were having ~ouble mastering.
Those sessions have helped teachers pinpoint pupils’ weak spots and find better instructional slralegies for strengthening
their skills. Teachers at this school, which until recently was rated as the most challenged in the slate, never had Olympic-size
dreams before. Their goals for raising reading proficiency, however, are no longer considered unattainable.
"During my first year here at a parent-teacher conference, I had no clue what to tell the parents, ! had no data about how
they were doing," said Stephanie McGaughey, who has taught at the school for eight years. "Now, I can show them where their
child is compared to the ciass average and benchmarks, and explain why we are concerned about their progress."
Before she attended the reading classes and workshops through Reading First, "I just taught the children the same way,"
Ms. McGaughey added. "If they got it, they got it; if they didn’t, I still moved on." Now, she said, she has an arsenal of slrategies
for helping each student master all the essential skills, and support from a coach to help her use them.
Throughout the district, teachers are drawing on the lessons learned al the Reading First schools to improve instruction
more broadly, A state-sponsored iniliative, Performance Plus, allows the district to offer some of the same professional
development and support services to the schools that aren’t part of the federal grant, albeit with a fraction of the funding.
Convincing administrators and teachers of the benefits of the voluntary program has been a hard sell at some schools,
according Io Reed Spencer, the district’s executive director of curr}culum and assessment. Some 80 percent of the 125 leachers
in lhe district’s non-Reading First schools have signed on to the program, which requires that they a~tend workshops and classes
after school hours and on weekends.
But now, all teachers are bound by contract to adhere to the principles of effective instruction outlined in the Reading First
plan, whether they’ve participated in the additional training or not. That means they are expected to teach, explicitly and
systematically, the five components required of grantees’ programs under the federal law: phonemic awareness, phonics,
fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. In addffion, 1he state directs them to develop students’ oral-language and writing skills,
as well as several other areas that influence reading comprehension.
"We reserve lhe dght to speak to any teacher at any moment about the explicitness of their instruclion. Thal’s a direct
outgrowlh of Reading First," said Mr. Spencer. "And principals understand that they can’t supervise things that they don’t know
about."
Principals and reading coaches throughout the distdct get the grounding they need in monthly meetings and pedodic
workshops that focus on effeclive instruction, assessment, and classroom observation. Administrabrs from Reading First schools
meet as a group each week lo update one another on how the program is working.
The intense focus on reading instruction is paying off in ir~proved results on tests, Mr. Lewis said. And last school year, all
of the Reading First schools met goals under lhe No Child Left Behind law for adequate yearly progress in reading for the first
time.
Teachers here are celebrating those gains. But the proof of the program’s impact, they say, is in the day4:o-day changes
they’ve seen in their own practice and in children’s achievements in the classroom.
"t never thought a kindergartner could go beyond letter recognitbn, but now we’re seeing them tea&" said Melissa Brock, a
veteran kiadergarl:en teacher at Bonneville Elementary School, where nearly half l:he 45t) students are Hispanic, and 80 percent
qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. Full-day kindergarten has given Ms. Brock and her colleagues more time to build a
foundation for reading. Reading First, she said, has introduced a sounder instructional approach.
°Bef~e, ] was kind of flying by the seat of my pants," she said. "Now, 1 actually feel more competent and capable as a
teacher."
Coverage of distdct-level improvement efforts is underwritten in pad by grants from the Carnegie Corporation of New York
and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundatior~.
Vo]. 26, Issue 25, Pages 27-29
Private - Spellings, Margaret
From; McLane, Katherine
Sent: Monday, February 26, 2007 8:49 AM
To: Private - Spellings, Margaret; Conaty, Joseph; Farris, Amanda; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs,
Kerri; Dunn, David; Eve~s, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich,
Holly; I.anders, Angola; Maddox, Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Mesecar, Doug; PiEs,
Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Scheessele, Marc; Simon. Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert,
Kent; Tourney, Liarn; Tracy Young; Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudol:,
Samara
Subject: IG again slaps ED for wrongdoing in Reading First program (Education Daily)

In a letter of response, Deputy Secretary Ray Simon said ED agrees thai, "at the RLAs, Depadment officials could have
and should have done more to clarify that the Department was not promoting or endorsing specific reading programs, materials,
assessment instruments or models of instruction." But Simon added 1hat the departmenl doesn’t agree fully with lG’s findings
because it neglected to consider the conferences’ positive impact on the program,
IG again slaps EB for wrongdoing in Reading First program (Education Daily)
By Kris Kitto
Education Daily, February 26, 2007
.The Education Department unlawfully promoted specific reading curricula and a reading assessment test when laying the
groundwork for the $1 billion-a-year Reading First Program, according b an Office of Inspector General audit released late last
week.
Auditors combed through comments from Reading First conference participants and e-mails from ED personnel to
determine [hat the department showed favoritism toward certain reading programs, such as Direct Instruclion and Open Coud,
from the time the national program launched in 2002,
The audit focuses on the department’s Reading Leadership Academies, three conferences held shortly after the program
was authorized through the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act. The academies were intended to help state administrators
implement programs founded on scientifically based reading research, but several portions of the conferences seemed like
targeted promotions to many attendees.
°I felt like it was simply a push for a national curriculum,° reads one attendee comment cited by the audit. "1 think t’11 go buy
shares in Open Court!" The audit is the fifth in a six-part IG sedes thal has embroiled a program otherwise heralded as a
substantial effort to make strides in Iiteracy among at-risk children.
I[ also found thal ED seemed to encourage use of lhe Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills Assessment Test in
conference materials.
Bob Slavin, chairman of the reading-based school reform model Success For All and one of the original complainants to IG,
said the audit confirmed what many people in the industry already knew.
Any vindication Slavin may feel, though, [s outweighed by the time lag that now prevents fhe possibility of a just solution,
he said,
"What’s discouraging about this.., is that at the time when these issues were first brought up, it was possible to have done
something," Slavin said, explaining he had repealed meetings with ED officials to express his concerns. Those meetings fell on
deaf ears, he said, forcing him to take his complaint to 1G in June 2005.
The program’s money has now been allocated, he said, making it difficult lo correct ED’s influence on Reading First
curricula.
In a letter of response, Deputy Secretary Ray Simon said ED agrees that, =at the RLAs, Department officials could have
and should have done more to clarify thai the Depadment was not promoting or endorsing specific reading programs, materials,
assessment instruments or models of instruction."
But Simon added that the department doesn’t agree fully with IG’s findings because it neglected to consider the
conferences’ positive impact on the program.
The audit also examined the Reading First Web site and an April 2002 guidance book, finding that both were in compliance
with the law.
Private - Spellings, ~argaret
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: Monday, February 26, 2007 8:46 AM
To." Private - Spellings, Margaret; Beaten, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill;
Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Ho!ly; Lenders, Angola; Maddox,
Lauren; Mcni[l:, Townsend L; Mesecar, Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara Martinez;
Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; Tracy Young;
Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Co: Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof,
Samara
Subject: Study: Bias By The Billions In Flawed Ed Program (ABC)

In a written response to the report, Deputy Education Secretary Ray Simon said the depadrnent agreed that "there were
areas for improvement," but was concerned that the report ’did not recognize the positive aspects" of the educational panels and
materials reviewed.

Study: Bias By The Billions In Flawed Ed Program (ABC)


By Justin Rood
ABC News, February 23, 2007
Top Education Department officials, including former Secretary Rod Paige, allowed specialists to improperly encourage
state and local officials to spend billions of dollars in federal grant money with a small group of companies, government
investigators have concluded.
In educating state and local officials about the department’s Reading First grant program, officials loaded expert panels wilh
speakers who overwhelmingly preferred products from a handful of educational companies, according to a report released
yesterday by the Education Departrnent’s inspecl~or general.
"It sounded like a sales job," one attendee complained in comments to the department which were reviewed by IG officials.
"Why are certain approaches disregarded[?]" asked another. "We did not get the whole picture," wrote a third.
"Arrogant! You must I:hink us stupid and uncaring,’ wrote another. "What else would explain how you talk down to us,
preach to us, treat us like morons. I don’t experience this level of a ’sell’ job when I buy a car," The sessions, known as "the
[Education] Secretary’s Readership Language Academies," were largely controlled by senior Education Department officials, the
investigators found.
The department is barred from interfering with curriculum decisions by state and local education officials.
What’s more, the department appointed certain advisors 1o help state and local officials make spending decisions with their
grant money, despite the fact that they had financial ties to the companies whose products were under consideration by those
officials, the reporl found.
Education Department officials failed to ’adequately assess issues el= bias and lack of objectivity," the report concluded.
In a written response lo the report, Deputy Education Secretary Ray Simon said the depadment agreed that "there were
areas for improvement," but was concerned that. the report "did not recognize the positive aspects" of the educational panels and
materials reviewed.
Reading First is a multi-billion-dollar grant program that was supposed to boost reading efforts for underachieving young
students. It has been plagued with accusations of bias, improper politicat influence and fraud. The Education Department’s
inspector general has mounted six separate invesligations into the matter, and lawmakers have called for hearings 1o look into
the program.
p..= ri_v.ate - Spell!,n~ts, Margar._e__~
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent; Friday, February 23, 2007 8:31 AM
To: Private - Spellings, Margaret; Beaten, Meredith; Bdggs, Kerr!; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill;
Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnsor~, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela; Maddox,
Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Mesecar, Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara Madinez;
Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; -ralbert, Kent; loomey, LiaR]; Tracy Young;
Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Held!; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof,
Samara
Subject: Despite stumbles, Reading First imbues science into instruction (Education Daily)

Despite stumbles, Reading First imbues science into instruction (Education Daily)
By Jeanne Sweeney and Stephen Sawchuk
Education Daily, February 23, 2007
Reading First, the No Child Left Behind Act’s K-3 reading initiative, has, for all its troubles, managed to quietly shepherd an
evolution in reading instruction that has most researchers, educators, and policymakers agreeing on at least one thing: science
can tell us much about the way children become readers.
The scandal over whelher the Education Department favored some commercial programs has a[tracted media attention to
the program, but for local ofi;cials, that has overshadowed the program’s real success - a sea change in how teachers approach
reading instructior~.
Motivated by NCLB’s demand that all children read at grade levet by 2014, districts are increasingly adopting research-
based practices to teach a set of specific skills defined by the National Reading Panel as essenliaf for every proficient reader.
That change has fostered collaboration among teachers and consistency behind classroom doors.
’Teachers are all speaking the same language, they have a cerumen vocabulary," said Sandra Koczwara, who wrote
Putnam County {Tenn.) Schools’ Reading First grant.
As districts focus on instruclion, however, the program is engendering new debates over whelher classroom instruction is
too rigid and scripted, whether the focus on the five reading skills is toe narrow, or whether it is appropriale to prescribe one
method of teaching when children’s reading skills vary widely in the early grades.
Also up in the air is the program’s ~uture. Education stakeholders generally believe the program will be part of the No Child
Left Behind Act reauthorization, but questions remain about what tweaks Congress might make to Reading First in light of the
scandal - and whether those tweaks could impact the program’s instructional components.
"People want to get their pound of flesh politically," said Andrew Rotherham, co-direclor of the Education Seclor.
Five componenls Enacted at a critical time in the decades-long "reading wars" between proponents of old-style phonics
instruction and advocates of whole language, observers declared Reading First a win for the traditionalists. The tegislai~ion
speci[ically adopted the NRP’s recommendalion that al! children be instructed in five skills: phonemic awareness, phonics,
vocabulary, fluency and comprehension.
ED officials implemented this requirement to the point of misconduct, according to a sedes of internal reviews (see box),
turning down states’ grant applications until they promised to adhere to EB’s narrow specifications.
But as money started flowing, acceptance of the NRP’s recommendations grew.
"We’re not here to experiment with our children," said James Herman, director of Reading Firsl in Tennessee. "We have to
know wh at works."
And as one former federal Reading First official says, whichever program dislricts ultimately selected, its impact lay in how
well leachers used it to instruct to the five cornponenls.
"Most programs will say they have lhose five components," said Sand! Jacobs, former Reading First program officer. "[But]
if you’re not talking about explicit and systematic instruction, then you’re not necessarily talking about scientifically based reading
instruction."
Teacher prep While controversy at the national level has centered on Iextbooks and favored publishers, school officials say
the most fundamental element of’ their Reading First programs has been staff development, That’s because most practicing
teachers were not educated in the five components of reading, and are not equipped to apply research-based strategies in the
classroom.
"We had to reeducate our teachers in the five components," Koczwara said.
"It’s really three pieces," Jacobs said, noting 1hat professional development and instruclior~al strategies are ultimately
grounded in ongoing progress monitoring of students’ growth and areas of weakness. ’Anylhing that says this is all about a
textbook is just totally wrong."
Louisa Moats, a reading consultant and researcher with Sopris West, said the combination has especially impacted high-
needs schools.
"What Reading First has been able to engender through professional developmenl, coaching, accountability, leadership
training and an understanding of the practices that work be~ter than others, is a complete change in the functioning of a school
culture," Moa~s said.
Too scripted?
A teslament to thal change is districts are now debating the hows rather than the whys of scientifically based reading
instruction.
For example, several popular curricula, such as the widely used Open Court, have instructional routines on each oflhe five
components that dictate what the teacher is to do and say when introducing l:he reading lechnique.
Some leaders have praised that approach l~or facilitating program fidelity.
"We’ve stayed pure to the curriculum, leaching the standards," said Nancy Lucia, associate superintendent in Elk Grove
(Calif.) Unified School District, which uses Open Courl.
Others, lhough, characterize the approach as overly "scripted.°
"[Many districts] use the series like a cut and dry recipe and it doesn’t always work well,~ said Cathy Roller, director of
research and policy for the International Reading Association.
Moals said such curricula are highly structured and help teachers internalize a routine.
And administrators agree their teachers do more than adhere to a script. In Elk Grove, academic support teams set annual
targets for each student, monitor progress regularly and adjust instruction as necessary, Lucia said.
Still, reading is much more complex than five components, Roller argues. °Motivation is crucial," she said. "It doesn’t do any
good to cover the five components if you’ve got kids who don’t want to do it?
Tweaking the model One of the concerns for some researchers is whether it is appropriate to assume all children - even all
at-risk children- need idenlical instruction in the primary grades.
In a typical Reading Fiml: model, all children receive gO to 120 minutes of daily core instruction in a whole-group setting,
often called Tier I, with supplemental instruction and intewenlions in successive tiers for strugglers.
But even within Tier I teachers should tailor activities to the skill level ofindiviclual children, says Carol Oonnor, a
researcher at Florida State University and lha Florida Oenter for Reading Research, one of the ED4undecl Reading First
technical assistance centers "There is a lendency to rely too much on the core curriculum," she said. °We don’t want everyone to
be on the same page al the same time.’
Administrators share her concern.
"Our upper quintile students are nut making as much progress,~ Koczwara said. ~That is one of the areas we need to look

Moats said ideally, teachers differentiate instruction from the beginning and use the ongoing progress monitoring to adjust
instruction. Such a practice models the li’aditional tiered "reading groups~ used in American elemenlary schools. The difference,
Moals noted, is the focus on getting students with the weakest skills caught up.
Jacobs said the bes! approach is probably a mix. "The key is ensurinfl that time is well and appropriately spent.’~
Private_- S pe,,!lin~lsLMa rgaret ...........................
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: Friday, February 16, 2007 8:23 AM
To: Private - Spellings, Margaret; Beaten, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill;
Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela: Maddox,
Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Mesecar, Doug; Pills, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara Martinez-
Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy: Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liarn; Tracy Y~ung;
Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof,
Samara
Subject: House Members Seek Ways To Target Education Funds (Ed Daily)

House Members Seek Ways To Target Education Funds (Ed Daily)


By Patti Mohr
Educalion Daily, February 16, 2007
A day after the Senate completed work on legislation to fund federal education programs through the remainder of FY
2007, a House subcommittee examined national eduoation trends to begin establishing its spending priorities for FY 2008.
Rep. David Obey, D-Wise., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and the House Subcommittee on Labor,
Health and Human Services, Education, kicked offthe subcommittee’s first headng of the year, saying members’ primary
purpose is to "address inequities.’
Witness alter witness argued that Congress should direct federal dollars to low-income students. Although pDverly is not a
new topic for Hill lawmakers, the issue has gained traction as a high priority for several Democratic-led House committees.
The main question was how to allocate resources in a way that will produce the most effective resulls.
"Given the federal government’s relatively limited investment in education," Kati Haycock, president of Education Trust,
advised lawmakers to leverage funds to force states to distribute them to disadvantaged populations. She also suggested
evaluating the effectiveness of each program - particularly NCLB’s Title II teacher training grants.
Similar goal, multiple methods
Even though the headng maintained a common theme of addressing academic and economic inequities, witnesses
proposed wide-ranging solutions, Their endorsements ranged from early education, to GEAR Up and TRIO college-prep
programs, summer learning programs, math and science training for teachers, a differentialed-pay Teacher Incenlive Fund and
Reading First.
The discussion, however, focused on Tille I grants for disadvantaged communities. Haycock suggested lawmakers rewrite
the Title I funding formula to address inequities at every level.
’11 is based on a sort of fiction," Haycock said, arguing that Title I provides an unbalanced distribution of dollars among and
within districts. "Your formula rewards states that spend a lot on education.°
Subcommitlee limitations
Though Thursday’s hearing generated a lively discussion about the nation’s education pdofilies, Obey said the
subcommittee’s influence on the budget process is limited.
Despite the "interesting and useful suggestions," Obey said, "we do confront a reality."
For one, lhe subcommittee members are not empowered to rewrile programs unless they also sit on the House Education
and Labor Committee.
"We do not design these programs. We simply fund them," Obey said, Furthermore, he said, funding choices are more
restricted given a budget that supports tax cuts and wars in traq and Afghanistan. "By process of elimination, the domestic
portion of the budget gets creamed .... -there ain’t going to be no money for nolhing."
.private- Spellings~_Margaret
McLane, Katherine
Monday, February 12, 2007 8:02 AM
Private - Spellings, Margaret; Benton, Meredith; I~riggs, Kerri; Dunn, David; Flowers, Sarah;
Halaska, ]’errell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Mark ;
Mcnitt, Townsend L; Pit[s, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy;
Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; 1racy Young; Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof,
Samara
Subject: Chesler Finn & Martin Davis: Remember Phonics Vs. Whole Language? The War ls Back On.
(CGaz VVV)

Remember Phonics Vs. Whole Language? The War Is Back On. (CGaz WV)
By Chester E. Finn Jr, And Martin A. Davis Jr.
Charle.ston (V~/) Gazette, February 11, 2007
For more than three decades, advocates of °whole-language" reading inslruction have argued - to the delight of many
teachers and public school administrators - that learning to read is a "natural" process for children. Create reading centers in
classrooms; put good, fun books in children’s hands and allow 1hem to explore; then encourage them to "read," even if they cant
actually make out many of the words on the page. After all, they can use conte;d clues and such. Eventually, they’ll get it. So say
fhe believers.
Seven years ago, the National Reading Panel issued a report that was - well, that should have been - devastating to whole-
language proponents. It identified five essential elements that every child must master to be a good reader: phonemic
awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. Early-reading programs that fully incorporate these t]ve elements
into their materials and methods are propedy termed "scientifically-based reading research" programs.
But what should have been the death knell of whole language programs has instead become a new ticket to prosperity. For
instead of accepting the panel’s conclusbns and truly reworking - or ending - their products, they’ve relabeled themselves,
reworked their marketing materials, added happy talk about ~e five elements and now claim to be scientificaliy based programs.
Only they’re not.
More than a few people have been fooled, including the leaders of such large districts as Denver, Salt Lake City and New
York City. How could so many professionals be misled? Some, no doubt, craved the illusion, because their own habits, their own
training or their ideology predisposes them to favor whole-language instruction. (How romantic to rail against "scripted," "soulless"
research-based interventions]) The faux-scientif]c based programs provide a screen behind which they can continue doing what
they want.
In part, though, the problem adses from the ~ve elements themselves.
As set forth by the National Reading Panel, these oversimplify the complex scientific findings on how children learn to read.
Reality is more complicated. The most effective scientific-based programs weave the key elements together, instead of teaching
each in isolation, so that students learn phonics and explicit speech sounds, for example, as they’re mastering word meaning
and grammar.
if the buyer isn’l atluned to these complexities and views lhe panel’s elements more like a checklist of elements that a
reading program must assure him that it includes, it’s not hard b slip a faux science-based program by him. Yet the results of
selecting the wrong program are profound. Most children identified before second grade as having trouble learnir~g to read can
learn to real well with a bona fide science-based program. But if children fall through the cracks in these early years, the odds of
ever bringing them to proficiency fall sharply. Which helps to explain the nation’s depressing reading achievement results -
particularly in the middle- and high-schooJ years - over the past decade and a half.
That whole language has nine lives is no surprise to Louisa Moats, who seven years ago warned the country in an earlier
Fordham report. °Whole Language Lives On: The Illusion of ’Balanced’ Reading’," about the lengths whole-language advocates
would go to keep their flawed programs alive and on the market. That appraisal remains one of our most-sought works.
Whole language may be back, butso is Louisa, this time with a flew report: ’Whole-Language High Jinks,° which explains
how prospective buyers can tell when a leading program’s claims are written to dupe lhem.
But her report is more than a "how-to" guide, tt also provides impodanl context to the battles still raging in Washington and
several state capitals over the federal Reading First program, which offers $1 billion per year to the nation’s neediest elementary
schools to implement science based programs.
To its credit, the U.S. Department of Education hasn’t been halve about the "whole language wolves in scientific sheep’s
clothing" problem. Exactly because it knew that non-science-based programs would pretend to be something that they weren’t
(after all, much money was at stake), it pushed states and districts hard to purchase only the real deal. And for this, members of
Congress, the Department’s Inspector General, sundry editorial writers and, especially, the vendors of whole language programs
have all cded foul.
But as Sol Stem explains in an excellenl n~w City Journal article, "If [Reading First Director Chris] Doherty’s sin was to lean
on a state education agency or two to promote a reading program backed by science over one that wasn’t, well, that’s just what
the Reading First legislation intended."
And guess what? True science-based programs yield strong results. Birmingham, Ala., for example, has adopted such a
program, has trained its teachers thoroughly in how to best instruct students and has seen significant improvement not only in
reading but also in reading-dependent subjects such as history. Other districts are beginning to take notice.
Yes, there’s a scandal to be reported about reading. But it’s not about overzealous federal olficials pushing states and
districts to purchase p~e-determined programs. It’s about the purveyors of discredited reading programs cynically re-labeling their
products as something that they are not, all in the cause of reaping a cash windfall. All while children’s futures are at slake.
Where’s the outrage about that?
Chester E. Finn Jr. is president and Marlin A. Davis Jr. is senior writer and editor at the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation.
This commentary originally appeared in "Education Gadfly," the foundation’s weekly electronic newsletter.
Private - Spellin s, Margaret
From: katherine mclane
Sent: Monday, January
To; Neale, Rebecca; Terrell, Julie; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad;
Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Landers, Angela; Maddox,
Lauren; Private - Spellings, Margaret; Simon, Ray; Reich, Heidi; rob Saliterman; Yudof,
Samara; Halaska, Terrell; Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey;
Tucker, Sara Martinez
Subject: Education OfficiaJs Faulted (NYT)

January 20, 20(17


Educati.un Of£iciais Faulted

By DIANA JEAN SCHEMO


State education officials in Georgia mishandled their part in Reading First, a $1-bil!ion-
a-year federal program intended to teach low-income childre,l to read by third grad÷, a
report by nhe federal Education Department’s inspector _general found. The report said
officials set unwarranted restrictions on local dis<riots, creatin~ "the appearance of
preferential treatment" for a handful of pregrams. The state also failed to protect
against conflict of interest, hiring the author of one program comp~tin9 for use in
Reading First schools to screen ~za[it applications submittmd by distr.icts. Kathy Cox,
state school superinter~dent, said seve~al of the audit’s findings had been remedied.

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Private - Spellings, Margaret

From: Yudof, Samara


Sent: Monday, February 04, 2008 7:09 PM
To" Anderson, Christy; Aud, Susan; Benton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Cariello, Dennis; Casarona. Emily;
Chloube(, Patricia; Cohn, Kdstine; Colby, Chad; Colvin, Kelly; Davis, Jim; Dmytrenko, Orysia; Dunn,
David; Earling, Eric; Eitel, Robert S.; Evans, Wendy; Evers, Bil!; Flowers, Sarah; Foxley, Donna;
Galko, Vincent; Gartland, Lavin; Gribble, Emily; Halaska, Terrell; Hancock, Anne; Hatada, Tod;
Heard, Denby; Hervey,-I-inn; Jones, Diane; Kuzmich, Holly; Lepore, Kristen; MacGuidwJn, Katie;
Maddox, Lauren; Private - Spellings, Margaret; McGrath, John; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar,
Doug; Morffi, Jessica; Neale, Rebecca; Oldham, Cheryl; Pills, Elizabeth; Ridgway, Marcie; Ro.bb,
Carly; Rosenl=elt, Phil; Ruberg, Casey; Scheessele, Marc; Sentance, Michael; Skandera, Hanna;
Smith, Valarie (SRR); Steams, Hannah; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Terrell, Julie; Toomey, Liam;
Tracy Young; Truong, Anh-Chau; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Williams, Cynthia; Wright, Christopher;
Wurman, Ze’ev; Young, Tracy; Yudof, Samara; Zoetlick, Todd
Subject: {Bloomberg) Bush Proposes Budget Increase for No Child’ Program

Bush Proposes Budget Increase for "1No Child’ Program (Updatel)

By William McQuiilen

Feb. 4 (Bloomberg) -- President George W. Bush proposed today a $59.2 billion budget for the U.S.
Education Department, a 3.5 percent increase.

Bush is seeking a 2.9 pcrcent increase tbr fiscal year 2009 in the progrmn that provides most federal
funding for "’No Child Lefi Behind," which requires annual reading and math tests for almost 50 million
children in public schools.

No Child Lefl Behind has been Bush’s signature domestic achievement. The president has resisted calls
for changes from teachers’ unions and some Democrats, who say- it places too much emphasis on
standardized tests and penalizes schools with hard- to-teach students. While the law was passed Mth
biparlisan support, Democrats say the administration hasn’t provided the money it promised for the
program.

"’This budget pro~’ides the necessar?" resources for critical programs that equip Anaerican students with
the skills they need to compete and succeed in the knowledge-based economy," Secretar3, of Education
Margaret Spellings said in a statement.

Democrats, who contend the No Child law has been shorted by $55 billion over the past five years, said
the added spending is insufficient.

Budget "’Not Enough"

"The president’s proposed increase t\~r funding for public schools through the No Child Left Behind law
is not enough even to keep pace with inflation," said George Millcr, the chairman of the l Iouse’s
educalio~l committee, in a sU~tement. "’The president has made it clear that he intends to end his
administration the same way he started it -- by breaking his promises to public schools and
schoolchildren."

The budgel plan boosts discretionary funding for Poll grants, a form of aid to college undergraduates, by

4/22/2008
Page 2 of 2

19 percent. Bush signed legislation in September increasing the maximum value of the assistance to
$5,400 a year for each student by 2012, from $4,050 in 2006. The increase will be funded tt-n’ough cuts
to subsidies for student-loan pro’,’iders, such as SLM Corp. in Reston, Virginia.

Bush is proposing a total federal budget of $3.11 lrillion for fiscal 2009, up 6 percent from the $2.93
trillion for the current year. The plan projects that continued economic growth and spending cuts will
produce a $48 billion surplus Ivy 2012.

Schools Serving the Poor

Bush’s proposed budget of $14,3 billion for Title I programs to help schools se~’ing low-income
residents is a 2.9 percent increase. Schools stand to lose Title 1 aid if they don’t meet requirements of the
No Child Left Behind law.

The law was enacted in 2002 and was up for renewal last year. Even without congressional
reauthorization, No ChiId Left Behind wilI remai~a on llae books in its current form.

Bush’s budget calls for $1 billion, up from $393 million this year, Ibr Reading First, a program that
resulted in congressional mid Justice Department investigations into potential conflicts of interest.

Reading First was criticized by congressional Democrats la~ year al-ler reports alleged mismanagement,
including allegations that some people who chose course material had connections to the companies that
produced the material.

Spellh~gs said lhe program has since complied with suggestion made by the inspector general. The
program, which was cut 62 percent by Congress for the current year’s budget, had been making progrees,
she said.

"" It’s regrettable to take a cut of that magnitude overnight," Spellings lold reporters on a conl)rence call.
"’I hope Congless will have some sense about it."

Improving U.S. education is critical to ensuring that poor children have an oppommi~" to succeed, Bush
said his State of the Union address on Jan. 28. He suggested a $300 million voucher program for low-
income students. Spellings said the program would ’target students in"chmnically low performing
schools."

"’We must trust stude~Rs to learn if given the chance, and empower parents to demand results from our
schools," Bush said.

]he voucher plan, dubbed "Pell Grants for Kids" by Bush, will face congressional opposition. Miller, of
California, called it a "bad idea" and said Congress would re.iect it.

To contact the reporter on this sto~’: William McQuillen in Washington at b~_~qc.q.uil_t._en,£~b!o.omb~zg.~.e._t.

La.~t Updated: Fe brz~a~3, ,l. 2008 15:23 EST

4122/20{)8
Page l of 2

Private - Spellings, Margaret


From: Evers, Bill
Sent: Monday, February’ 04, 2008 11:00 AM
To: Anderson, Christy; Aud, Susan; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Cadello, Dennis; Cohn, Kristine;
Colby, Chad; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill; Farace, Meredith; Flowers, Sarah; Fdedland, Bruce; Gribble,
Emily; Halaska, Terrell; Jones, Diane; Kuzmich, Holly; MacGuidwin, Katie; Maddox, Lauren;
McGrath, John; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Mesecar, Doug; Morffi, Jessica; Pitts, Elizabeth; Private -
Spellings, Margaret; Rosenfelt, Phil; Ruberg, Casey; Scheessele, Marc; Skandera, Hanna;
Spellings, Margaret; lrada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Terrell, Julie; Toner, Jana; ]’oomey, Liam; ’Tracy
Young’; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy; Yudof, Samara
Subject: see comment that follows article

News Blog
Iligher-edueation new~ from around Web
February 3, 2008

Bush to Seek $1-Billion for Controversial Reading First Program

Reading First, a federal program that provides grants to improve reading instruction at low-
income elementary schools, would see its full $1-billion budget resto[ed in the 2009 fiscal
year under the spending blueprint President Bush will present tomorrow, according to The
Washington Post.

Democrats in Congress had slashed the program’s funds for this year to about $393-mitlion
after it came under sharp criticism. Several university-based consultants who advised states
on how to spend their Reading First grants have been .a__c..c__u_s_e.d_._o_f~_0._an_c_j.al confl.i..cts 9f
interest. The consultants have strenuously denied any wrongdoing.

The U.S. secretary of education, Margaret Spellings, told reporters on Friday that Mr. Bush
was "going to work hard to get that funding restored, to ask for the billion dollars and help
Congress see the error of their ways," according to the PosL

In another provision reflecting a disagreement with Congress, Mr. Bush again will propose
eliminating funds for the Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship Program, the newspaper
reported. Mr. Bush has made similar proposals in his last three budgets, but Congress has
continued to support the program, which received about $40-million this year. The program is
named for one of the president’s harshest critics in Congress, Sen. Robert C. Byrd, a West
Virginia Democrat.

Information about the president’s budget began leaking oul on Friday, when the Associated
Press reported that Mr. Bush would seek a $2._§_-biili.op increase for the Pell Grant pr0_gLa_m.
--Charles Huckabee

Comments

412212008
P~. 2 of 2

I want to express my heartfelt thanks, that here, in the years just before my death, I
managed to squeeze into my short lifespan deep personal experience of the worst
President our nation has ever had. No more effective way to undermine "conservatism"
and "republican party° stuff has ever been devised. Nothing beats personal experience
of evil combined with deep incompetence. The nice thing about evil is it is petty,
providing endless entertainments like the above issues. It is not that Satan is powerful
and hurts all, it is like the movie Satan some decades ago, sitting in some Dallas or
Kennebunkport basement stripping random pages out of books hung on clotheslines,
as his daily bread. I thought that that movie Satan was fiction till this boob, front man to
Cheney, was "elected°. Americans deserve richly every single bad thing that happens to
them. They twice chose evil incompetence over incompetent goodheartedness.

-- Richard Tabor Greene Feb 4, 08:59 AM

Note from Bill Evers: I circulate articles within ED that are pertinent to educational
policymaking. Articles are circulated because they are of interest, not because ! or
OPEPD or anyone else in ED agrees with them.

4/22/2008
Page 1 o£22

Private - Spellings, Margaret


From Yudof, Samara
Sent: Sunday, February 03, 2008 12:06 PM
To: Cariello, Dennis; Aud, Susan; Davis, Jim; -[racy Young; Stearns, Hannah; Skandera, Hanna;
Halaska, Terrell; Dunn, David; Gall~o, Vincent; Terrell, Julie; Rosenfelt, Phil; Ridgway, Marcie; Pitts,
Elizabeth; Earling, Eric; Tucker, Sara Martinez; MacGuidwin, Katie; Wurman, Ze’ev; Smith, Valarie
(SRR); Ruberg, Casey; McGrath, John; Kuzmich, Holly; Heard, Denby; Scheessele, Marc; Mcnitt,
Townsend L.; Flowers, Sarah; Young, Tracy; Williams, Cynthia; Mesecar, Doug; Truong, Anh-Chau;
Lepore, Kdsten; Eitel, Robert S.; Zoellick, Todd; Jones, Diane; Colvin, Kelly; Toomey, Liam; Tada,
Wendy; Hervey, Tina; Gartland, Lavin; Cohn, Kristine; Hatada, Tori; Talbert, Kent; Colby, Chad;
Robb, Carly; Sentance, Michael; Chlouber, Patdcia; Briggs, Kerri; Evans, Wendy; Private -
Spellings, Margaret; Casarona, Emily; Morffi, Jessica; Hancock, Anne; Foxley, Donna; Evers, Bill;
Dmylrenko, Orysia; Maddox, Lauren; Beaton, Meredith; Anderson, Christy; Yudof, Samara; Wright,
Christopher; Oldham, Cheryl; Gribble, Emily
Subject: 02.03,08 In the News

02.03.08 In the News

1) ABC News: Bill Clinton Blames Kennedy for No Child Left t~ehind Flaws
2) Yahoo! News: Bill Clinton Campaigns... Agaiust Ted Kennedy (John Nichols)
3) Washington Post (Editorial): A Boost for D.C. Schools; President Bush’s,new budget would
fund badly needed reforms
4) Washington Post: President’s Spending Plan Would Riva| 2004 Deficit (Michael Abramowitz
and Jonathan Weisman)
5) Washington Posl: Area Schools Set To Lose Millions Under Medicaid Policy Changes (Maria
Glod)

6) Washington Post: An All-Too-Quiet Reaction Over D.C. Schools’ Future (Mare Fisher)

7) Associated Press: Focus on reading produces a Philadelphia school that really worlLs (Susan
Snyder)
8) New York Daily News: Lef~ in dark over No Child Left Behind (Carrie Melago)
9) Associated Press: Popular programs face budget squeeze (Andrew Taylor)
10) Houston Chronicle: Some schools saying no to federal dollars; Forgoing funds provides
greater range in teaching (Susie Pakoua Vang)

4/22i200~
Page 2 of 22

ABC Ne~vs
Bill Clinton Blames Kennedy for No Child Left Behind Flaws

February 0I, 2008 4:39 PM


ABC News’ Sarah Amos and Jennifer Parker Report:
While stumping for his wife at an Arkansas high school Friday, former President hilt Climon seemed to
blame Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., "along with President Bush for the failure of the No Child Left
Behind Act to live ~p to its promises.
"The President made a deal with Senator Kennedy and neither one of them meant to mess it up," Bill
Clinton told a crowd of about 400 teachers and students in Texarkana.
"The deal was supposed to be, we will give the schools more money and get rid of two pro~ams that
Bill Clinton actually started -- hiring more teachers in the early grades which acttrally does help
performance and help schools with ¢onstmctioa needs if they are overcrowded," he said.
"And we will not put any more money in the after school programs, which does help, and we will raise
school peffo~rnance by telling people their money depends on how their kids do on tests and we are
going to give five tests five years in a row, and we vdll cut the states a check based on how they are
doing. And then the law kind of winks at the state of Arkansas and says, ’don’t worry about it too much
because you get to pick the test and the passing score.’ Now think about that you get the worst of all
worlds," Clinton said.
Clinton mentioned Kennedy’s association with the No Child Left Behind Act - a federal education law
unpopular with public school teachers -- in the same week that the liberal icon passed over his wife to
endorse her Democratic rival -- Sen. Barack Obama,
The former president mentioned Kennedy yesterday while explaining his wife’s pledge to radically
overtmuI the education law.
"I want you to think about this, and I have to say, this was a train wreck that was not intended. No Child
Left Behind was supported by George Bush and Senator Ted Kennedy and everybody in Between. Why?
Because they didn’t talk to enough teachers before they did that," Clinton said yesterday at Arizona State
University, according to the Associated Press.
But today marks the first time the former president seemed to blame Kennedy ibr the hill.
In 2001, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., voted for the No Child Left Behind Act, but has since said it was
mismanaged and should be replaced.
"1 believe that every child should be taught by a qualified teacher and that schools should be accountable
to the parents of the children they serve. That is why I supported the No Child I~efi Behind Act in 2001
and continue to believe in the principles behind the landmark taw. When the No Child [.,eft Behind Act
(NCLBA) was enacted, 1 viewed it as a historic promise between the federal government and educators -
- schools would be held to higher standards than ever before and the government would make a record
investmem in those schools to ensure that they would be able to meet the new expectations confronling
them," r_e.~(!~.’_a .s_tKt_e.m__e.n3_.fLq .m_ t~!. Clinton on her set~_t._e...o.~Sc~.web~ite.
Page 3 of 22

Yahoo[ News
Bill Clinton Campaigns... Against Ted Kennedy
John Nichols
February 3, 2008 10:20 a.m. EST

The Nation -- Do we think a certain former president might still be smarting over Ted Kennedy’s
decision to endorse Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton?

Bill Clinton tried hard to land the endorsement of the senator from Massachusetts for his wife. Plenty of
cajoling and calling was expended in the effort during the hectic month of January. But K.emledy,
offended by Bill Clinton’s racially-tinged campaigning in South Carolina, finally went for his yotmger
colleague ti’om Illinois.

With the senator’s move came much of the Kennedy clan -- including, most recently, Ethel Kennedy, the
widow of the first family of liberalism’s most iconic campaigner, Bobby Kennedy -- and a critical boost
for Obarna going into the Super Tuesday primaries.

Bill Clinton could have been gracious.

Instead, he’s now slipping digs at the senior Kennedy into his remarks while campaigning before
Democratic audiences in key states.

On Thursday’ in Arizona, the former president said, "I want you to think about this, and I have to say,
this was a train wreck that was not intended. No Child Left Behind was supported by George Bush and
Sen. "red Kemaedy and everybody in between. Why? Because they didn’t talk to enough teachers before
they did that."

No Child Left Behind -- the Bush administration’s federal education initiative that mandated much new
testing but offered scant new funding - is exceptionally unpopular with teachers and other prime
Democratic voting blocs.

In case anyone thought that the complaint aboul Kennedy was an off-hand reference, Bill Clinton voiced
a similar dig on the Massachusetts senator Friday at a campaign stop in Arkansas, which will hold its
primary on Tuesday. Speaking to 400 educators and students in Texarkana, the former president said No
Child Left Behind exists in its current fi)rm because "the Presidenl made a deal with Senator Kennedy..."

Kennedy, long a key player on education issues in the Congress, did indeed play a role in shaping and
passing No Child Left Behind.

But in a campaign season that has not been without its cynical statements, these comments by the former
president stud out.

ll’s ~ot just that, after t,ying so hard to secure Kennedy’s endorsement for his wife, Clinton is now
linking the senator with Bush in front of Dcmocralic audiences.

4/22/2008
Page 4 of 22

~,Vhat Bill Clinton fails to spell out on the campaign trail is that I-Iillary C]inton was an ally of Ted
Kennedy in promoling No Child Left Behind. She voted for the No Child Left Behind Act when it
passed the Senate in 2001, and has declared that, "I believe that eve~ child should be taught by a
qualified teacher and that schools should be accountable to the parents of the children they serve. That is
why I supported the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001 ,and continue to believe in file principles beNnd
the landmark law."

Both Kennedy and Hillary Clinton are now complain about the Bush administration’s t~ailed
implementation of the education reforms.

And what of Obama?

\~]~en he campaigned for the Senate in 2003 mad 2004, 0bmna did so as a critic of No Child Left
Behind, telling Illinois voters that the law "imposes new requirements on our public schools while
failing to provide tl~e resources so that schools can meet the new requirements."

4122/2008
Page 5 of 22

Washington Post

Editorial

A Boost for D,C. Schools

President Bush’s new budge.t would fund badly needed refol’ms.


Sunday, February 3, 2008; B06
THE $32 IvllLLION in additional federal money that _P._r~_s.j_d~ B_usb will propose for D.C. public
schools tomorrow is important lbr two reasons. On the practical side, tile extra resources could be used
to jump-start school relbrm by making possible new programs. Symbolically, the decision is a powerful
vote of confidence in the District and a confirmation that the leadership tin’ally is in place to address ~he
sad state of public education.
The budget will include funding m help Chancellor MichelIe A. Rhee launch a new teacher merit pay
program, recruit and train principals, and h~tervene in low-performing schools. Mr. Bush’s package also
includes money- for charter schools and resources to sustain the D.C. school voucher program. U.S.
Education Secretary Morg~! S~e_.l_!in__g_s. called the budget proposal an "unprecedented partnership"
between the ~_~[h.ite. !~!o.u..s.~ and lhe city. Mayo.r..Ad_rj~n M. Fent2~’s decision to make education his
administration’s top priority, and his selection of Ms. Rhee has given real standing to the District and
credibility to its reform efforts.
Ms. Rhee’s intexest in starting a program that rewards teachers who have demonstrated excellence is
partieulm’ly exciting. Pay-tbr-performance pro~mns are being tried with I~romising resul*s in places
such as Denver and New York Ciff. Ms. Rhee will need to work with the. teachers union to fashion a
program that fairly assesses teachers m~d doesn’t discourage them from working with students most in
need. School officials say that lhey hope to have parts of the program in place by September. That sense
of urgency, fast becoming a hallmark of the Fenty-Rhee strategy, is an acknowledgment that too much
time has already been wasted in trying to fix the schools. Ms. Rhee refuses to let the political demands
of adults interfere with the interesls of students; her insistence on closing underused schools is the latest
example.
Congress will need to approve lhe funding proposal, and it’s important that members don’t let politics or
ideology derail the needed reforms. We lhink here o£the $18 million the administration is earmarking
for the D.C. Oppommity Scholarship Program, which provides vouchers ~o students to attend private
school. Leading Democrats have made no secret of their dislike of vouchers, but Ibis pzrogram gives low-
incense parents educational options and it is operating suecessfially for scores of children. Opl0onents
should think twice, before they tV to tnterrupt the education of these children. Mr. Fenty is fight to urge
Congress to adopt the proposal in its entirety.

4t22/2008
Page 6 of 22

Washington Post
President’s Spending Plan Would Rival 2004 Deficit
By Michael Abramowitz and Jonathan Weisman, Washington Post
President Bush will present a budget tomorrow that would slow the grov~qh of Medicare and cut or
eliminate an array of domestic programs but still anticipates a flood of new- red ink that will rival the
record deficits of his first terni, administration officials said.
Bush’s fiscal 2009 budget would increase defense spending by 5 percent and put a modest amount of
new money into favored initiatives such as veterm~s affairs, education and homeland securit)T.
But the president wants to dramatically slow the growth of big federal health programs, reduce anti-
ter~’orism grants for states and cities, and cut spending on anti-poverty, housing and social service
programs, according to budget documents and ix~terviews with officials throughout 1he federal
government.
Even as he proposes restoring trading for the controversial Reading First program, Bush will take aim at
a number of education initiatives, officials said. The early literacy progrmn Even Start would be
eliminated, as would grants to states for education technology, technology careers and incarcerated
youth. Funding for a college scholarship program named after Senate Appropriations Comanittee
Chairman Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) would fall t¥om $40 million to zero, a symbolic shot a! a fierce
Bush critic.
"[’he more than $3 trillion federal budget for 2009 that Bush will unveil is his final opportunity to shape
the priorities of file government before leaving o£tlce a year from now. Lawmakers and their aides say
Bush has little leverage left to ibrce his proposals on a recalcitrant Congress.
But even in the unlikely event that he were to get his way, the budget deficit would jump sharply, from
$163 billion in 2007 to about $400 billion in 2008 and 2009 -- partly the result of the new economic
stimulus plan. Such deficits would rival the record d elicit of $412 bilIion of 2004, though adminislration
allies a~ue that shortfalls of that size now rep~esent a smaller share of the overall economy and are thus
more manageable.
Still, the new budget underscores Bush’s inability to get control of spending over the cotu:se of his
seven-year tenure, a failure tha~ has concerned even his conservatives allies. The problem is projected to
get worse in coming years with the retirements of the baby-boom generation, a big obstacle to the
ambitious tax-cutting or spending plans of the leading presidential contenders.
Alice M. Rivlin, who served President Bill Clinton as budget director, pointed out that Bush "inherited a
very large surplus," but his "legacy from a fiscal point of view is having blov,~a an opportunity 1o
ameliorate fine long-run budget deficits."
White House officials and allies acka~owledge the long-term problem but pin the blmne on Congress for
ignoring fl~e president’s calls to control thc growth of Social Security and Medicare.
"The president recognized the big elephant in the room when it came to fiscal responsibilily, and he did
eve~’thing he could to get Congress to address it, but unfortunately Congress refused to deal with it,"
said A1 Hubbard, who recently left his pus| as Bush’s top economic pt>licy adviser.
Administration aides said Bush’s final year budget documents will very much reflect the major priorities
of his first seven years -- keeping his tax cuts in place and adding significant increases for defense and

4/22/2008
Page 7 of 22

counlerterrorism.
Bush will push Congress to keep discretionary domestic spending programs just below $1 tritlion next
year, with programs outside of defense aud homeland security growing less than 1 percent.
The president had success last year using his veto to force lawmakers lo trim back spending bills, but
this year Democrats are better positioned to simply wait for the next president, congressional aides said.
That may mean less ferocib’ thrm usual in the budget battle as both sides wait to see the results of
November’s election.
But the growth of programs such as Medicare ,and Medicaid are on atttomatic pilot unless Confess
vnftes a law to resta’ain them, a move Bush wants but one that appears highly unlikely, A Bush plan to
slow the growth of Medicare would save $170 billion over five years, and fully $43 billion of that would
come from Medicare Advantage, the private, managed care program that competes vzith the
government-run fee-for-service program for the elderly, an administration official said.
Bush has defended Medic~e Advantage from cuts proposed by Democrats, but this year, a senior
administration official said, he will propose payment freezes to health-care providers that will affect all
aspects of Medicare.
The budget wil! include $70 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, although Bush has requested
nearly $200 billion in 2008, much of which has yet to be approved by Congress. The five-year budget
will contain no war-funding requests beyond 2009, leaving questions about how much to spend to the
next president and Congress.
Officials said they expect the presidem’s base budget for defense spending to rise about 5 percent to
about $515 billion in fiscal 2009, reflecting the Pentagon’s plan to expand the Army and Marine Corps
ibr the ongoing wars in traq and Afghanistm~ and potential fi~t~re conflicls.
Administration officials described fierce behind-the-scenes baltles over spending in the final Bush
budget. Secreting of State Condoleezza Rice went back three times to the internal budget review" board -
- which includes Vice President Cheney, Treasury Secretary Item3’ M. Paulson Jr., Chief of Staff Joshua
B. Botten yard National Economic Council Director Keith Itennessy -- ~o appeal for more funds. In the
end, she also spoke directly with Bush to secure an increase of $700 million for the State Department,
6.5 percent over Iast year’s budget.
On the domestic fi’ont, the White House will call for trinmaing discretionary spending within the
Depam~ent of Health and Human Services by more than $2 billion, to $74.2 billion, according to budget
documents.
Among the reductions are more than $1 billion to programs run by the Administration for Ctfildren m~d
Families, including a $280 million hit to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, a block
grant program that helps the poor pay heating and air-conditioning bills.
The budget plan argues for a $500 million reduction in the Social Sere, ices Block Grant program, which
helps slates protec! children from neglect and abuse, and pay for day care, adoption, health services,
foster care and other services tbr children and families.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would lose more than $430 million, including $27
million from its eftbrts to detect and control infectious diseases, and $28 million from chronic disease
prevention and health promotion. A $30t million program that trains 4,700 pediatricians and pediatric
specialists at children’s teacSing hospitals also would be eliminated, at a time when pediatric specialties,
such as rheumatology and pulmono[ogy, lace critical shortages.

4122/2008
Page 8 of 22

Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said Bush wilt seek to restore fimding for the embattled $1
biIlion-a-year Reading First pro~am, an initiative at the center of Ns signature No Child Left Behind
Act that has been besieged by allegations of eonllicts of interest. Congress slashed funding for the
program by 61 percent to $393 million in the 2008 budget.
"The president is going to work hard to get that funding restored, to ask for the billion dollars and help
Congress see the error of thei~ ways," Spe!lings said Friday in a conference call with reporters.
Money for the Sa±~ and Drug-Irree Schools Progam would be sliced fi’orn $294 million to $100 million,
and federal aid to aRerschool programs would take a hit.
Bush ~ill continue to boost Department of Homeland Security spending to tighten the borders. But
states and cities would see cuts of $1.5 billion from the $3.75 billion in grants ibr securit?,, law
enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical teams approved by Congress for this year. The White
House last year tried to slash state and local grants, but Congress ended up adding $1 billion instead.
Staff writers Maria Glod, Spencer Hsu, C.hristopher Lee, Josh !¥hite and Robin [frright cono’ibuted to
this report.

4422/2008
Page 9 of 22

Washing~on Post

Area Schools Set To Lose [~lJllions Under Medicaid Policy Changes


By Maria Glod, Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, February" 3, 2008;
Educators nationwide are protesting a Bush administration move to curtail htmdreds of millions of
dollars in Medicaid funding for disabled students that could force some schools already in budget straits
to trim heahh services or cut back instructional progrmns.
The shift in federal reimbursement policy tltreatens to strip about $635 million from schools in the next
academic year and $3.6 billion over five years, wdth Washington area schools in !hoe to lose millions of
dollars. The rule, to take effect in June unless Congress intervenes, will bar schools fi’om billing
Medicaid for busing special education students to and from school and for certain administrative
expenses, including enrolling children in Medicaid ,and coordinating and scheduling services.
Administration officials said schools, required under federal law to provide educaion to children wflh
special needs, should pick up the bill for expenses that are part of their "educational mission." But
educators said it would further strain schools in a time of lean budgets, hitting big city and poor rural
systems hardest.
D.C. schools would lose about $5 million in the first year in busing reimbursement, according to a
spokeswoman for .N..I_a2or Adr.iN~...h.!.,_F.e.nty (D). ~.~i_rgi_n. j..a has recouped $31 million in Medicaid dollars
over the past five years for services that wouId no longer be covered, with Fai_~_-:;_Cot_m_ ff schools alone
projecting a $1.8 million loss next year. Yhal’s the equivalent of employhag 25 teachers. The county’s
schools this year face a range of budget cuts that wouId pare back summer school and raise a~erage class
size.
.M_ary!an.d school officials estimate that nearly $1 million in federal timding would dry" up statewide next
year under the n~le, with the greatest impact in Baltimgre, which recouped about $593,000 in one recent
year, and Prince George.s .(. o .o ~. .m, t~’, which was reimbursed $106,000.
Educators in slates including C.ali_fo.r..n.)~, M.i.s..s.js~jp_pj and North Cm:p.]ina wrole the government to protest
the rule. Officials of some schools said absorbing such expenses couId mean dipping into general
education programs or cutting hack on school nurses or counselors, In one letter, Virginia state
Superintendent Billy K. Cannaday Jr, said school systems will continue to help enroll children in
Medicaid and coordinate services but will have to "shift funds from other areas in their budgets to cover
the costs or raise taxes if this proposal becomes a reality."
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed the rule in September, and it was made final
in December. But congressional Democrats slipped a six-month moratorium into legislation passed
before the end of the year.
_D_e.._nn_is__G_. Smith, director of the federal Center fur Medicaid and State Operations, said the change will
help reign in a system in which federal auditors have found improper billing in some states. He
emphasized that schools will still be reimbursed fbr direct medical services, such as physical or speech
therapy, as wel! as for transporting children to a doctor’s office or therapy session if it is scheduled off
campus during the school day.
"This is not about medically necessary services," Smith said. "We will continue to pay lbr those types of
services. Medicaid was being used simply to leverage revenues fo~’ activities that had very- little to do

4/22/2008
Page 10 of 22

with serving claJldren on Medicaid. Schools already have responsibility to transport all children, not just
Medicaid children, to schoo!. That should not be billed to Medicaid."
Health advocates and Democratic lawmakers criticized the chm~ge as a rash shit~ that ultimately could
result in fewer needy children connecting with he.alth services.
"This is a huge change in law," said Sara Rosenbaum, chairman of the Department of Health Policy at
the George Washington Urtiversity School of Public Health ,’rod Health Services. "This could have an
impact on the number of children enrolled in the program and the mlmber of children who are assisted in
getting health care. Whatever concerns there were about schools administering Medicaid... are totally
outweighed by wha! [the administration] has done here."
Rep. ~pJm.D... Di.nge_..!! (Mich.), the senior Democrat in the House, called on the administration to
"reconsider this misguided rule mid start working vdth Congress to better serve and suppmt America’s
most vulnerable children." Dingell and other lawmakers have introduced a bill to reverse the ruIe,
requiring Medicaid to cover certain administrative costs for schools and the cost of transporting children
with disabilities who go to school in specially equipped or staffed buses.
P.J. Maddox: chairman of the Department of Health Administration and Policy at ~~_l..aso.f~
Universi _ty, said the conflict highlights the challenge schools face wifl~ the growing cost of educating
children with disabilities. Federal law requires schools to provide services to disabled students, but the
l)deral government gives schools only a portion of the money needed to cover exta-a costs. Schools, she
said, have turned to Medicaid to help offset expenses.
"This Medicaid change cuts off that help, which leaves the school system holding the bag," Maddox
said. "Who pws for it? The school system will have to pay for it."
Medicaid officials contended, in their written response to public comments on fl~e rule, that cash-
strapped schoots have a "strong incentive to shift costs to Medicaid ~br activities that would have been
performed by schools in the normal course of their operation" and that schools should find other sources
for money. In recent years, reports from the inspector general of the Depogmen! 9[..H...e.a.!t..h..and_.Hu._man
Se.rv_i.ce.s have found that schools inappropriately sought reimbursement for school administrators’
salaries, capita! costs and even such items as antacids and lice. combs.
Educators acknowledged some problems with billing but said Medicaid should tighten rules and offer
more guidance, not simply cut offtl~e dollars.
MaD’lm~d officials are concerned about the fallout for Baltimore and Prince George’s schools.
"It’s a lot of impact on the two jurisdictions that have the largest numbers of the neediest children," said
Carol Ann Baglin, an assistant state superintendent in MaD’land. "They are going to have ~o lake funds
from somewhere else in a reD: tight fiscal time and put them into transportation."
Late last month, _L_os Ang.e.les school officials went to ..Capim_l__.H. ill to lobby againsl the rule, saying their
school syslem, the nation’s second largest, could lose $t0 million a year in reimbursement. John
DiCecco, director of the system’s co~rmmnity partners and Medi-Cal programs, said he expects to lay off
10 outreach workers who have hdped emoll thousands of children in Medicaid.
DiCecco said the system also uses Medicaid lhnds to encourage nonprofit and community groups to
donate to help the schools mn health clinics and oiler vision and dental screenings.
"There’s no question if this goes away, at least in Los Angeles, the health status of children will directly
suffer," DiCeceo said.

4/2212008
Page 1l of 22

412212008
Page 12 of 22

Washington Post

An All-Too-Quiet Reaction Over D.C. Schools’ Future


By Mare Fisher

Sunday, February 3, 2008; C01


T he t~ig prolest rally was supposed to draw thousands of people, but only dozens showed up. The
boycott was going to paralyze the school system, but hardly anyone noticed. The city sent top
administrators to every neighborhood to conduct 23 simultm~eous public hearings, anal at some places,
not a single person showed up -- not one.
When D.C. Mayor Adrian Fen~ and schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee proposed shutting down 23 of
Washington’s most egregiously underenrotled schools, knee-jerk politicians predictably behaved like
those unscrupulous drivers who shout about whiplash after somebody glances their fender.
Ward 8 Council member Marion Barry, still the reigning champion of winning time on the TV news,
issued one outraged statement after another, showed up at every protest and, as late as Thursday, was on
the tube railing against Rhee: "The chancellor’s just being bullheaded. Stop it! Stop it! Stop
Less than 24 hours later, a different Barry shook the mayor’s hand and stepped before the cameras at a
news conference announcing the fmaI list of schools to be closed. "This is a historic day,," the Mayor for
Life said with a big smile. "Mayor FenD- took the bold action of making education m~nber one." The
closings -- the very same closings Bma’y had spent the previous two months slamming at ever2- tuna --
were suddenly an essential, empowering act of excellence.
"We ha,,’e not a broken system, but a veu,, very,, ve~ broken system," Barry explained.
But wait -- weren’t you just on the other side? Weren’t you talking about how you, lhe parents and the
whole city woutd fight to the end against shutting down 20 percent of the system?
"You’re not going to satisfy everybody," Barry said. "Quite frankly, how we went tt~ough this was tame
compared to what’s happened when they did this in the rest of the country, l?eopIe lost fiiendships
behind it. But this is a victory, for our children .... l’m delighted to be able to join in this situation."
"i thought that was t~ascinating,’’ Rhee told me after watching the BarO" pivot. (Hey, she’s new in town.)
All Fenty would say ~vhen I asked about Barry’s latest switcheroo was that the former mayor had "a
pretty different tone" now that he saw which way the wind was blowing.
The school closings are no mere breeze. They’re the latest gust from a storm system composed of a
mayor who won evcry precinct in the city and a chancellor who has no past m~d no great desire to have a
future in the school superintendent business, credentials that buy an unusual amount of independence.
Rhee and Fenty pushed through the closings of 18 schools this year and five more in the next three years
with vastly less opposition than there appeared to be -- "certainly less than the media portrayed," Rhee
says.
The news leeds on conflict. When opposition isn’t huge, it is sometimes made to look as if il is. At
Thursday’s rally, TV camera guys coaxed protesters ~o move c~oser together so the on-air picture would
look like a substantial gathering.
The fact is that despite the loud protests of a relative handful of activists, rem~kably few of whom are

4/22/2008
Page 13 of 22

parents, the overall reaction to Rhee and Fenty’s school retbrm efforts has been a surprising q~iet above
a foundation of overwhehning support, as measured in last month’s .W_ a~bi_t!.~!~___P_ost poll.
If anythilag, the response to the closings was too quiet. "I wo~ald much rather come to a meeting where
people are passionate and yelling at me than those rooms I walked into and no one was there to speak for
any o[" the kids," Rhee says. "That was really alarming to me."
The chancellor explains the lack of parent involvement as a failure of the system. ’"l-hey don’t trust the
schools or the District, and I understand M~y. We treat them poorly, with incredible disrespect."
Improving how parents are treated and ratcheting up the academic content m’e two of Rhee’s big goals
once she works through the c!osings.
The system doesn’t have the money to add the full range of teachers Rhee wants in evm7 school, but this
fall, each school receiving students from closed buildings will be rewarded with several new positions
for art, music and ~’m teachers, as well as nurses, social workers and librarians. "fhat approach -- and
not what Rhee calls the "drill and kill" emphasis on test skills that too many systems have adopted in
response to the No Child Left Behind testing mania -- is what "creates achievement and teaches a love
of learning," she says.
At Ron Bro~aa Middle School, the rma-down Northeast facility where Fenty and Rhee announced the
final closings list, Principal Darrin Slade says parents understand the connection between shutting down
nearly empty buildings and improving progrmns in the remaining schools. In a building that can handle
983 students, Slade has but 268 - but rather than being closed, his school v~411 take in students from a
neighboring school. That wil! allow Slade to get khe art program he has long wanted~ improve his
teaching staff and work dowrt his building’s maintenance backlog.
"Rl~ee has already made more positive changes than a!l the previous superintendents I’ve seen
combined," Slade says.
~,Ylaen we finished talking, we were the only people left on the school’s second floor, which has been
largely unused for years. Come fall, it wilt be filled with children and teachers. Nobody will protest that.

4/22/2008
Page 14 of 22

Associated Press

Focus on reading produces a Philadelphia school that really works

SUSAN SNYDER
Sun Februa~" 3, 2008 08:02 EST

PttILADELPFIIA (AP)_ The third-grade students at Samuel Powel School in West Philadelphia took
their spots in a circle on the floor and eagerly opened their books, at~xious to resume reading Ballhawk,
a sto~" about a baseball team.
Their teacher, Joe Alberti, is 6-foot-7, mad even sitting down he still towered abo,~e his young charges.
"Yesterday, you had a pretty tough vocabulary word," Alberti said, referring to "’ball hawk," "" So I was
hoping we could look at it and see what that word means."
Hands shot up.
"A person that doesn’t want to share the ball:" guessed one child.
"A bird," oft~red another.
"’A bully," said a third.
Terrence Brown, who has very short hair and big, dark eyes, came closest to getting it right.
"’A person who always catches the ball wherever it goes," the 8-year-old said.
Using the classroom’s Intemet-conneeted smart board, Alberti looked up "’ball hawk" and showed
students the definition. "fkroughout the rest of the hour-long lesson, he a!temated between reading to
students and asking them what different words meant, what they lhought would happen next in the
stoW ,and how they" would feel if that happened to them.
His approach works.
In his classroom, nearly all of the 22 students are reading on grade level. The feat is remarkable, given
the dismal news coming out of the 167,000-student district. In Philadelphia, fewer than half of the
students read on grade ievel by the end of third grade, which educalors consider apivotal year in
making or breaking a student’s educational future.
At Powel, 96 percent of third graders read on grade level at fl~e end of last year, one of several
measures identitied as critical undo, the Philadelphia School Reform Commission’s education goals.
Powel, near the campuses of the University of Petmsylvania and Drexel UniversiD,, is one of the
district’s smallest elementmT schools, with 237 students in kindergarten thrmagh fomeh grade. Named
after fl~e ci .ty’s first mayor, Powel was opened in t 962 at the behest ofparenls and community, members
and for years was a desegregmion school.
]"he school has met federal progress targets under the No Child Left Behind law for the last four years -
another district goal.
"’It’s just lhe special environmenl of Powel that encourages kids to read, to be creative, to jusl be
interested in flaeir education," principal Marguerite Holliday said.

4122/2008
Page t5 of 22

Why does Powel succeed when so many other elementary- schoots fail? Is the aploroach to education a
model for the cib, or is there something unique at Powel that would be hard to replicate? The answer is
both.
Powel has smaller class sizes. While Philadelphia elementary schools have a limit of 30 students in
primary ~ades and 33 in upper grades, at Powel no class exceeds 26. The school’s administration has
used t’ederal dollars and other discretionary funds to keep classes small. Parents of children at Powei
also have pressed ciD officials to preserve funding.
Its teaching staff is stable, cohesive and t 00 percent certified. I~ts student body is very stable, unlike at
some schools in Philadelphia, where turnover is a third or more a yem’.
Parental involvement is strong. Parents often reimburse teachers for supplies bought out of pocket,
communicate regularly by e-mail with staff and hold staff-appreciation luncheons.
In the classrooms, educators say’ they emph,~ize literacy and nurtttre studems to care about reading
early on,
"We have had a very powerful library progrm~n," tltird-grade teacher Sarah I, abov said. "’Parents have
raised money for books. And teachers read stories to kids all the way up through the grades, continuing
thai kind of passion."
The school also has the bm~efit of drawing students from arotmd tt~e ci~’. About 50 percent come from
the 5mmediate Powelton-West Philadelphia area, Holliday estimates. The percentage of students fi’om
low-income families is also lower than the citywide average (59 percent versus 74 percent).
Powel also conducts school-wide projects, rich in literacy and focused on a theme. For the third- and
tburth-grade bioga’aphy projecl, students research a famous person, dress up in character and make a
presentad
"’In a way, it feels like a little prNate school in tIaat parents are very, very actix, e and have very high
expectations of us," said Labor, who lives a block from the school and has taught at Powel for 11 years.
Allyson Wilson agrees. She has three children at Powel -and a fourth who went on to attend Mastermind,
one of the district’s most pmsligious academic magnet sd~ools. Holtiday, the principal, estimates 40 to
60 percent of Powel s~udents go on to magne* schools.
"I had to admit to my husband that I was wrong," said Wilson, vice p,esident of the home and school
association and a convert to Powel. "They really care about educating the children here,"
Alberti, whose class read Ba!lhawk, is new to fl~e school this year. tte was chosen for the job by a
committee of PoweI educators and.parents. Powel is one ofT0 schools in the district where committees
select all new teachers for vacancies J’ather thma filling positions based on seniority.
His bright, colorful classroom is adorned with the work of students. Dozens of writings perused in large
print on construction paper hang on clothespin lines strung across the room. "Good morning, kids of
the future," a sign beckons at the entrance.
Alberti follows the district’s core curriculum~ but also adds many of his own lessons and projects. He
reads with students as a class and in small groups. With slower readers, he spends more time. Advanced
studems read books on their own and then discuss them with him.
Out of 46 students in Alberti’s two third-grade literacy classes, 14 were below grade level when they
s, arted the year. Tha{ number has been cut in half. He has told parents he expects all of them to be on

4.122/2008
Page 16 of 22

grade level by the end of this year, nex:t year at the latest. ,~berti will keep the same students for fourth
grade, known as looping.
"Third grade is the breaking point for many studenls," he said. "This is where they’re going to drop
down into the cracks ... or they’re going to soar."
Building student excitement for reading is key, said Alber~i, who is in a doctoral program for reading,
writing and literacy at the University of Pelmsylvania.
Terrence, the claild who guessed the meaning of"ball hawk," said he enjoyed books so much that he
read 10 to 12 a week a~ home, He is reading more than a year ahead of grade level, Alberti said.
Other students seem to be getting the message, too.
As Kasim L. Hanton Clark wrote on a paper, hanging from a clothespin: "Books are fun mad hot."

412212_008
Page 17 of 22

New York Daily News


Left in dark over No Child Left Behind
BY CARRIE MELAGO, DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Sunday, February 3rd 2008, 4:00 AM
Less than 2% of the ] 81,000 children eligible to transfer to higher-pcr~brming schools trader NCLB
actually did this year, according to education departmen~ figm’es.
"In a city as large as N_e..w.:.yg~.k, obviously the public school choice part of NCLB presents logistical
challenges," said schools spokesman _Am_a_drew_J__a__co_b. "But we’ve been doing it several years, and I think
we’re improving."
Only 9,200 students even applied to leave their failing schools, and of those just 3,090 ultimately
enrolled in a dif~;erent school.
Some parents of kids in failing schools told the Daily News they weren’t even aware they could transfer
out, and some were turned away from better schools tha~ are already overcrowded.
And still other parents like flaeir children’s schools just fine, even if they are labeled as failing, or thi~N
transl?rring kids will only make the institutions worse.
"I definitely don’t think the NC~B system is fixing the problem. It’s a band-aid, and it’s a temporary
band-aid," said Stephanie Pry, or, who threw out the application to transfer her daughter out of P.S. 93 in
the .B.r.on:x.
The controversial law was passed six years ago to sanction schools with low test scores and allow
parents to transfer their childre~ out. Critics, though, charge that the taw punishes struggling schools and
encourages educators to teach to the test.
As members of Congress wrangle over whether to reauthorize NCLB, President Bush declared it a
success in his Stmc of the Union address ,and called on legislators to strengthen il.
But while .school choice has been held up as a hallmark of the law, ~e percentage of children
transferring nationwide is just as low as it is in New York Cir2. Last school year, only 120,000 kids
transferred out of 5 million eIigible- just 2%.
With 283 city schools deemed failing - about 20% of all schools - education officials acknowledge the
difficulties faced by parents who may want Io trans[Er.
The education department received a $2.4 million federal grant to create a team of advisers that will help
parenls use the new report cards and other data to decide which school works best for their child.
"Ultimately, that decision is a personal one for parents," Jacob said.
Additionally, under the mayor’s "fair student funding" formula, schools cam $2,000 ti>r every child they
accept under NCI.B.
At some schools, the extra information is needed. Even though she’s PTA presidenl at Acorn.High
Scho..o.l in Brooklyn, Dav,’a Beckles didn’t realize that she could transfer her three children out. She says,
though, that she wouldn’t have anyway.
"They have teachers that are there fox them. For me, to just move them, it wouldn’t be fair," Beckles
said.

4/22/2008
Page 18:of22

But for some parents who successfiflly transferred their children, NCLB has been a ticket to a better
future.
Until-she secured a transfer in 2005, ~.~.o..1. _B.9.yd applied for charter school Iotteries and vm’iances to
move her son out of failing P.S. 64 i.a the Bronx, which she said had no school yard and focused heavily
on test p~ep to lift poor scores.
Boyd said she is thrilled with flae school where her son, Zachary, landed - _Elt__a .Baker in ~!an.!).a.t!_an. The
13-year-old now walks to ..C..e_~.a. I Pa~k for science classes and plays percussion instruments du~’ing
concerts at Co.lum. bi~ Uni~’ersity’s Miller Theater.
"I did a lot of research and I said, ’A-ha! This is the place for him,’" she said. "It makes for a difference,"

4122/2008
Page 19 of 22

Associated Press
Popular programs face budget squeeze

By ANDREW TAYLOR
Saturday, February 2, 2008

WASHINGTON (AP) - The spiraling gro~qh of Medicare and the high cost of renewing President
Bush’s tax cuts are squeezing popular education, h:ealth, housing and anti-poverty programs in the
budget blueprint that he hands lawmakers Monday.
Even with difficult-to-digest proposals to curb Medicare costs and kill programs to repair dilapidated
public housing, fund commutlily action agencies and provide food to the elderly poor, Bush’s $3 trillion
budget will project deficits arotmd $400 billion this year and ne.’d.
Bush’s submission is already absorbing brickbats from Democrats castigating him for inheriting a
government in surplus and leaving Washington wifl~ a budget deficit that is likely to break the $413
billion record set four years ago, once war bills and the cost of giving the economy a fiscal jolt with tax
rebate checks are factored in.
"The next president is going to inherit a colossal mess because of the fiscal irresponsibility of this
president," Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., chairman of the Budget Committee said Saturday.
Bush’s budget will demonstrate a way to produce balance in four years and still renew tax cuts on
income, investments and people irtheriting large estates -- cuts now scheduled to expire at the end of
2010. The cost of renewing those tax outs exceeds $300 billion by 2013, according to congressional
scorekeepers.
But he’ll only be able to predict that balance by cutting spending in ways that Congress -- whether
controlled by Republicans or Democrats --has rejected many times before. After his proposal to kill or
significantly cut 141 programs to sa~,e $12 billion was rejected by Congress last year, Bush is upping the
ante by 50 percent with an even more controversial plan. And his bid to squeeze $178 bilIion from
Medicare over five )’ears has no chance on Capitol Hill, even lhough the program would still grow by 5
percent a year under his proposal.
Despite a worsening deficit picture, caused in large part by slumping tax revenues as the economy sours,
Congress is likely to take no action this year to reverse ~e tide. No one likes to take painful steps to
reduce federal spending in a presidential election year, and lawmakers b, pically don’t defer to unpopular,
lame duck presidents.
"This will be a placeholder year," Co:trad said. "Thars the reality."
While the Bush budget will receive a dead-on-arrival reception from lawmakers and be overshadowed
by "ruesday’s presidential primaries, administration officials have been promoting its more appealing
elements in recent days.
Funding for the State Children’s Health ]lasurmlce Program, the subject of an intense battle with
Democrats last year, would iucrease by almost $20 billion over the nexl five years. An additional $6
billion is requested to finish a massive project to protect New Orleans from flooding. And the Food mad
Drug Administration would get a larger-than-average budget increase to send FDA stair overseas to
inspect food and drugs imported into the United States.
Bush also backs $2 billion over three years to help get cleaner and more efficient energy technology to
big polluters like India and China.

4/22/2008
Paze 20 of 22

Other details the administration might not be as eager to promote have been leaking out from a variety
of sources with particular knowledge about specific areas of the budget and from some budget planning
documents seen in advance,
When the fulI document is out Monday, the full wrath of interest groups will be felt. Hospitals and other
health care providers are already protesting cuts to Medicare and the Medicaid h~lth care program
the poor and disabled, Mille advocates for the poor vow to again reverse huge cuts to social services
block gants to states and funding for nonprofit groups that help the poor.
Aft~cted indust~’ies can be cotmted on to protest user fees, even those as small as a 50-cents-per-flight
ticket tax to finance screening machines for the Transportation Security Administration that are intended
to detect explosives being smuggled aboard airplanes.
The Bush forecast for a balanced budget by 2012 also is likely to strike many as unrealistic, depending
as it does on the assumption that there will be no additional no war costs for Afghanistan or lraq after a
$70 billion infusion for next year.
~Itae White House budget also does not accotmt tbr the huge cost of preveming the alternative minimum
tax from hitting millions and n~illions of upper middle-class taxpayers after 2009. The White House and
congressional Republicans blasted House Democrats as raising taxes for trying to offset AMT relief by
closing a loophole on offshore tax havens; Bush’s budget effectively assumes AMT relief after a one-
year "patch" for next year is financed by tax increases elsewhere.
Elsewhere, cuts in the Bmh budget would eliminate a $302 million program that gives grants to
children’s hospitals to subsidize medical education. A $300 million program for public health
improvement projects would be eliminated, while grants to improve health care in rural areas would be
cut by 87 percent.

The Centers for Disease Control’s budget would face a 7 percent reduction of $433 miIlion. The budget
for a program 1o treat and monitor the health of first respo~aders and others exposc~ to toxins at the
World Trade Center after the Sept. 11 attacks would be cut by 77 percent,, from $108 million this year to
$25 million in 2009.
The National Institutes of I-Iealth, which funds health research grants, would see its budget frozen at
$29.5 bilIion.

Houston Chronicle
Feb. 2, 2008, lI:29PM
Some schools saying no to federal dollars
Forgoing funds provides greater range in teaching
By SUSIE PAKOUA VANG, Mec[atchy-tribune

LINDSAY, CALIF, -- Last fall, ane .little elemental~" school irt thi.s poor t~rm town did something
startling: It said no to nem’ly $250,000 in federal funds.

In exchange, Lincoln E[ementury gained something its teachers considered even more valuable: more
independence.

"We want to do a better job than we’ve been able to do and we want to do that by being flexible,"

4122/2008
Page 21 of 22

Principal Pare Canby said.

Lincoln is among a small nurnber of U.S. schools --no one can say how many for sure -- that have
gained flexibility- in following federal education mandates by turning down Title I funds.

In rare cases, whole school districts have rejected Title I as a way to opt out of the federal academic
accountability system set up by the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act. But most heed the warnings of state
and federal educators who caution that the cost of giving up Title I can be steep.

The federal dollars are distributed to state education departments, which then give the money to school
districts based on poverty and low test scores. Districts then decide which schools receive Title I
funding, with priority given to schools with 75 percent or more low-income students. Funds can be used
for staff development, supplemental materials and literacy and math coaches.

In return, schools receiving the money must show test results demonstrating that an ever-escalating
share of their student bodies meet proficiency standards in English and math.

No Child Left Behind has met strong opposition since it became law. Some educators and parents say
the program is underftmded and ibrces teachers to follow a standard script, rather than adapt to the needs
of their students.

"Many teachers no longer can be immvative in their leaching," said Mike Green, a California Teachers
Association representative and Lindsay Unified teacher. "A lot of that has to do with the fact that you
are required 1o teach to the ~est."

Too much paperwork


Some local and national educators share Green’s flustrations. Cartby said Lincoln educators have been
"diligent in marching to the tune of Title I." The school worked with a board of education experts who
evaluated and monitored the campus’ academic progress under the federal program.
The school also saw a major shift in staffing. Canby was brought in about five years ago after Lincoln
failed to reach amaual academic targets, Lindsay Unified Superintendent Janet Kliegl said, More than
half the teaching staffis new.

District officials took the unusual step of giving up $243,000 -- out of its budget of $4 million ~ to IYee
the school from Title I mandates because too much time was spent on papepa, ork, when time could be
bette~ spent on more i~movativc teaching efforts.

Kliegl said Lincoln was a good candidate for the change because overall it is a hi-oh-achieving school,
but there are groups of students, such as English learners, who miss federal targets. This calls for a more
flexible approach, she said.

Tom Rooney, Lindsay Unified’s assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, said No Child
Left Behind requires a great deal of staff time on pape~vork.

"That is necessaD’ for some schoots, and it’s necessal-y fbr some districts," Rooney said. "We’ve made
file decision that that’s nol a necessary burden to put on (Lincoln)."

]n past years officials spent Ti!le I money’ on computers, learning programs and literacy and math
coaches to try’ ~o meet the standards.
Now, Lincoln’s staff will use creative student programs that teachers would not have had time for under

4/22/2008
Page 22 of 22

provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act. These include teaching via the Interact, far-ranging field
trips and a renewed focus on science and the arts.

"We want our kids to go out on the road, go to the ocean,, go to the mountains," Cm~by said. She wants
students to appreciate music and art, which often were dropped from cIassrooms in order to focus
entirely on improving test scores trader the No Child Left Behind Act.
"An eft~ctive citizen is a person who is fluenl in the arts. It’s not just about reading and writing," she
said.

Canby said she also wants to see a strong focus on science, which previously took a back seat to English
and math.

Although the school no longer is obligated to meet ti~deral mandates, llae campus still must meet the
state’s Academic Performance Index benchmarks, which measure annual academic growth. Index scores
range from 200 to 1,000, with all schools working toward 800 or better.

Lincoln is still far from the state goal. Last August, test results from the California Department of
Education showed Lincoln dipped 38 points from its previous score of 691.
’Verb’ punitive law’
It’s unclear how many other schools nationwide have followed the same path. but Lincoln is not alone.

Thousands of miles away, the Communiff Consolidated School District 21 board in Wheeling, Ill., has
rejected about $250,000 in Title I funds for the past three years, said Kate Hyland, an assistant
superintendent. She said consultants were assigned to underperforming schools, which resulted in
several meetings, but little progress.
"It’s a very. punitive law ....
Our board really took a stand in saying, ’We are philo~phically opposed to
tl~e lmv,’ " Hylm)d said.

While rejecting Title I isn’t yet a trend, "it’s potentially the front end of what could be a wider
movement," said Jeffrey Henig, a professor of political science and education at Columbia UniversiD
Teachers’ College in New York City.

Janie Castro, Lincoln Etementary’s Parent Teacher Organization president, said she supports the new
vision lbr her school. She noted Canby prepared fl)d school to do wilhout Title I, partly because she used
previous TitIe I money to buy long-term resources, such as computers and software. Said Castro: "We
know that she’s going to m~e lhis work."

4/22/2008
Private - Spellin.,gs;,_Mar~laret
From: Yudof, Samara
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Mcnitt, ].ownsend L; Mesecar, Doug; Morffi, Jessica; Neale, Rebecca; Oldham, Cheryl; Pil~s,
Elizabeth; Ridgway, Marcie; Robb, Curly; Rosenfelt, Phil; Ruberg, Casey; Scheessele, Marc;
Sentance, Michael; Skandera, Hanna; Smith, Valarie (SRR); Stearns, Hannah; Tada, Wendy;
Talbert, Kent; Terrell, Julie; Toomey, Liam; Tracy Young; Truong, Anh-Chau; Tucker, Sara
Martinez; Williams, Cynthia; Wright, Christopher Wurman, Ze’ev; Young, ]racy; Yudof,
Samara; Zoellick, Todd
Subject: 02.02.08 In the News

Attachments: 020208 In the News.doe; Picture (Metafile); Picture (Metafile}; Picture (Metafile)

02.02.08 In the News

020208 In the
’,lows, doe (121 KB,..

1) Associated Press: Bush education budget is level, seeks boost for reading program and vouchers
(N an~, Z.ckerbrod)
2) The New York Times: Bush to Seek Budget Cuts, Except in Child Health (Robert Pear)
3) Washington Post; Bush Proposes Giving D.C. $32 Million More To Boost School Reform (David
Nakamura)
4) The Associated Press: Bush administration proposes boos~ i, D.C. school fundin
5) Associated Press: Fightover No Child Left Behind cash continues
6) The New York Times: Appeal of Challenge to ~No CbUd’ Law (Sam Dillon)
7) Education Week (The School Law Biog); Spellings to Appeal 6th Circuit’s NCLB Ruling (Mark
Walsh)
8) The Associated Press: Spellings in Alabama, announces plan for reading program increase (Desiree
HImter)
9) Montgomery, Advertiser: $1B coming for reading program for children (Jenn Rowell)
10) Birmingham Nine’s: 1L;.S. education secretal7 says President Bush will ask for full funding for federal
reading program; Budget cuts will cost state $11 million (Marie Leech)
11) WSFA NBC-TV - Montgomery-, A]a.: U.S. Secretary of Education in MontgomeD" to Support
Alabama No Child Left Behind Program
12) Washington Post: D.C. School Closings List Is Revised (Theola L~bb~ and David Nakamura)
13) Washington Post (Editorial): Narrowing the Gap; Montgomery school programs are.getting the job
done.
114) The New York Times: lflt’s Tuesday, It Must Be Spanish ~Iillary Chura)
Associated Press

Bush education budget is level, seeks boom for reading program and vouchers

By NANCY ZUCKERBROD, AP Education Writer

Fri February I, 2008 14:03 EST


WASHINOTON (AP) _ In a year when many federal programs are in line for heft3, budget cuts, President Bush
is asking Congress to largely leave education None, and seeking more money tbr a controversial reading
initiative.
The White tIouse budget proposal being sent to Congress on Monday asks lawrnakers to sign offon nearly $60
billion tbr education programs, according to a copy of the Education Depamnent budget obtained Friday by The
Associated Press. The amount equals what is being spent Ibis year, without an increase to keep pace with
inflation.
,~maong Bush’s proposals for the upcoming budget year: a push for Congress to restore $600 mill[ion la~,nn’akers
cut from a reading program that serves low-income children.
The program, called Reading First, recently has received favorable reviews fi’om state officials and others, But it
also has been criticized by I~deral investigators for conflicts ofinlerest m~d mismanagement.
Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said in a telephone interview Friday that there were problems with the
program initially but that the), had been addressed and that reading gains were being made by students served
under the initiative.
The administration ~so is renewing a push for a $300 million proposal that would allow poor students to
transfer to better public schools outside their district or m private schools, if their schools failed to meet
benetunarks trader the 2002 No Child Left Behind law or had low gradualion rates.
Democrats are staunchly opposed to using f~deral dollars for private school vouchers and have rejected similar
administration proposals in the past.
Spellings said it’s unfair to force kids to stay in troubled schools. "’Vvqlen they ~e broken chronically, we have
to do something different," she said.
Title I grant~, the main source of federal funding for poor students, would get $14.3 billion, about a 3 percent
increase from this year, under the administration’s proposal. About half of the nation’s schools, and Iwo-thirds of
eIementm3~ schools, receive Title 1 funding.
The administration proposes to spend about $ l 1.3 billion for special education services for students with
disabilities, an increase of roughly $330 million.
A program that helps fund merit-pay plans for teachers who boost student test scores would double, from about
$100 million to $2(10 million. Teachers unions oppose linking paychecks to student scores.
In all, the administration is seeking to eliminate 47 education programs, to save about $3.3 billion. The
administration says the programs are too small to have a national impact, aren’t effective ibr other reasons, or
get money from other sources.
They include pyograms to encourage arts in schools, bring low-income sludents on trips to Washington, and
pro~,’ide mental health sen:ices.
"’Obviously, cuts are difficult to make," Spellings said. "’But I think this is a responsible budget that sets
pt-iorities and fl~at is ali~ed with the core mission and the core ~cus of No Child Left Behind."
The Education Department also administers programs tllat help students and their families pay for college.
The president is asking Congress to approve an increase of about $2.6 billion for ~he Pe[l Grant program for
low-income college students. He is seeking to eliminate other programs, including the Perkins Loan program,
which provides Iow-in~erest loans to needy students.
The New York Times

Februa~3’ 2, 2008

Bush to Seek Budget Cuts, Except in Child Health

By ROBERT PEAR

WASHINGTON - Dozens of popular health, housing ~d education programs would be eliminated or sharply
reduced under the budget that President Bush plans to announce on Monday. But he would significantly increase
spending on the ’_State Childrens Health insurance Program, the focus of a huge fi~t with Conga-ess last year.

Michael O. I,eavitt, the secretary of health and human services, said Friday that the president would request
$19.7 billion in additional federal allotments to the states for coverage of children li’om low-income families in
the next five years. Spending on the program from 2009 to 2013 wmdd total $45.1 billion.

In an inter~’iew, Mr. Leavitt said the president’s budget would allow the progrmn to meet its "original intent" of
covering children with family incomes up to tvdce the poverty level, or $42,400 for a family of fern’. Abom 18
states cover children with family incomes above that level.

The new proposal is midway between the $5 biIlion increase requested by the president Iast year and ~he $35
bitlion increase that Congress provided in bills vetoed by Mr. Bush in October and December.

Bush administration officials were telling Congress as recently as last month that a $5 billion increase would be
enough, mad man~" Republicans relied on that assurance. It is not dear when the White House concluded that
$19.7 billion was needed, a question that law-makers are s~e to pursue in hearings.

In his budget, Mr. Bush sets forth a detailed blueprint for spending $3 trillion in the 2009 fiscal year, the largest
mnount ever requested by a president.

Mr. Bush foresees a budget surplus in 20t2, but While House officials said the deficit would be roughly $400
billion a year in 2008 and 2009, far more than the $163 billion deficit recorded last year.

The budget would increase border security and provide money to protect New Orleans against devastating
storms like Hun’icane Katrina
<h~tp:&~pics.nytimes~c~m/top/reference/timest~pi~s/subjects/h/h~rricane~katrina/index.htm~?in~in~=nyt-
classifier-’-.

Michael Chert~ <http~/topics.n~times.c~mA~p/reference/timest~pi~s/pe~p~e/c/michae~-cher~of~qndex.htm~?


inlJne=nyt-per>, the secretary’ of homeland security, said the budget would increase spending on border security
m3d immigration
<http://t~pics‘nytirnes.c~m/t~p/ref~renc~/~mest~pi~s&ubjects/i/immigrati~n-and-refugees/index.htm~?
inline=nyt-classifier~ enforcement by t9 percent, to $12.1 bilIion. The government, t~ said, planned to hire
2,200 Border Patrol agents to achieve the goal ot"20,000 agents by late 2009.

The administration is requesting $5.8 billion to complete work on levees and tlood walls in the New Orleans

But budget documents show that Mr. Bush will also propose deep cuts in a wide range of domestic programs.

Spending on poison conn’o[ centers would be cut 62 percent, ~o $10 million. Rural health programs, a favorite of
s
many senators, would be reduced 87 percent, to $16.9 million.

A special health program for rescue workers and vohmteers who responded to the terrorist attacks on the World
Trade Center in 2001 would be cut by 77 percent, to $25 million, even though the administration has said that
many workers were exposed to ::tu~precedented levels of’risk" for lung disease and other illnesses.

h,h’. Bush’s budget would end the Comrnunil3, Se~wices Block Grant, a $654 million program that provides
housing, nutrition, education and job sen, ices to l ow-incorne people.
The budget would also end special prog~’ams to care for people with Alzheimer’s disease and to treat people
with traumatic brain injury. Mr. Bush would eliminate t)deral tunneyfor a new "~patient navigator" progxam,
which coordinates care for people with cancer and other serious illnesses. The administration contends that
these programs are ineffective or duplicate other government initJallves.

Mr. Bush proposes a 22 percent cut in the Low-Income ttome Energy Assistance Program, which provides $2,6
billion to help people pay heating bills. Many la,,~nakers want to expand the program at a time when oil costs
are soaring.

For the National Institutes of Health


<ht~p://t~pics.nytimes.c~rnA~p/refereneeAimest~pi~s/~rganizations/n/nati~na~-institutes of health/index.htanl?
inline--nyt-org>, the president is requesling $29.5 billion in 2009, the stone amount it received this year.

The budget responds to a bipartisan clamor lbr new safeguards to ensure the safety of food and drugs.

Mr. Bush is requesting $2.4 billion for the Food and Drug Administration
<http:/ /t~pies.nytimes.c~mA~p/reference/timest~pics/~rganizati~ns/f/f~d-and-dr~g-adminis~ati~n/index.htm~
?inline--nyt-org>, up 5.7 percent from the current level. Secretary Leavitt said some of the money ~vould be used
"to hire and deploy F.D.A. personnel in foreign coun~a’ies, so they could inspect food, drt~gs and ~nedical de,~,iees
destined for lhe United States.

Mr, Bush wants to end the Hope VI housing program, which upgrades severely dilapidated punic housing. The
[louse voted two weeks ago to renew the program for eight years.

Representative Spencer Bachus of Alabama, one of 53 Republicans w!~o voted for lhe bill, said: "The program
has been a success. It has eliminated some of the most dangerous and distressed public housing in the country
and created livable, mixed-income communities.:’

The White I-louse wmats to eliminate spending tbr more than a dozen education programs, including Even Start,
which promotes family literacy; grants to the slates tier classroom technology; Supplemental Fducation
Oppot-tunity Grants, for needy undergraduates; and a scholarship program named for flae chaimxan of the Senate
Appropriations Committee, Robert C. Byrd
<ht1p://t~pics~nytimes.c~mA~p/referen~e/tim~st~pics/pe~p~e/b/r~bert~c-byrd/index.htm~?in~ine=nyt-per>,
Democrat of West Virginia.

the secretary of education, said Friday that the president would request $1 billion for the Reading First program,
to teach poor children to read by the third grade. Congress em the program to $393 million this year ~ter federal
investigators tbund confliels of interest, cronyism and bias in the awarding of grants.

Ms. Spellings said she hoped lawmakers would "see the error of their ways.’:
Alan Finder contributed reportingfi’om New York.
Washington Post

Bush Proposes Giving D.C. $32 Million More To Boost School Reform
By David Nakamura, Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 2, 2008; B02
The White House <http:!/x~a~,~a’.washii~,Oonpost.condac2/relateditopic/The+White+House?fid=informline>
plans to announce Monday that it has proposed giving the District $32 million in additional federal funding this
year for public education, including a special $20 million payment aimed at helping Mayor Adrian M. Fentg
-<ht~p:l/v~v.washingt~np~st.c~m/ac2/re~ater~jt~pi~/Adrim~+Fen~2tid=inf~rm~ine> restructure public schools,
federal officials said.
The recommendation, contained in the White House’s overall proposed D.C, budget, direcls the funds toward a
series of enhancements for the nearly 50,000-student public system and the 20,000-student pnblic charter school
program.
Among the proposals for the traditional schools is an incentive-pay program designed to reward teachers whose
students meet specific performance goals, D.C. Schools Chancellor Michette A. Rhee
<http:/twww.washingtonpost.comlac2/related/topicfMichelle+Rhee?tid=informline> said. About $5 million
would go loward replicating successful charter schools, and $7 million would go toward beefing up pro~ams in
low-performing schools.
"The package includes an infusion of resources to jump-start the mayor’s robust reform strategy for D.C. Public
schools," U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings_
<http://www.washin‘~t~-~-Q1~st.c~m/ac2/re~ated/t~pic/Margaret+Spe~ings?tid=inf~rm~ine> said in a stalement.
"’lllese targeted invesunents are a critical catalyst for the types of innovation that have been lacking for too long
in the Nalion’s Capital," FenD (D) said in a letter to Congress supporting the White House’s D.C. budget
request. "These initiatives will spur improved instruction and services, directly benefiting students in the
classroom."
Typically, the school system fimnels $120 million a year in federal timds to its schools. In 2006, the U.S.
Department of Education <http://w~w.w~shingt~np~st.c~m/a~2/re~ated~t~pi~‘~V.S.+Departnaent+~f+Education?
tid--informline> declared that the school system was a "high risk" tbr mismanaging federal fluids.
District officials called the proposed influx of new money a breakthxough and said il shows the federal
government has conlidence in the Fenty administration’s school reform plans. The budget requires approval
from Congress.
Since Fenl3’ downgraded the Board of Education and took control of the school system in June, he has been
working on a number of changes. Yesterday, Fenty and Rhee announced a revised list of 23 schools that will be
closed, including 16 this fall.
Rhee’s office is working to increase the public schools’ fiscal 2009 budget by about $17 million in local funds:
to a total of $794.6 million in local money.
kinder the proposed federal education budget, the city would get $18 millim~ in each of three c .ategories: for
public schools, for charters and for the D.C. Opportunity," Scholarship program. Each of those received between
S13 million and $14 million last year.
An additional $20 million would come to the District in a one-time pa)q-nent to support the Fenty
adminislration’s reform efforts. That money will be earmarked to help support and train teachers and principals,
develop new programs lbr low-performing schools, improve data reporting lbr student accountability and help
start the teacher incentive-pay program.
The District schools have not had an incentive-pay proglam, R_hee said, but she is in the process of developing
one, in conjunction with the Washington Teachers’ l.Jrtion. She declined to talk about specifics but said support
from the White House shows that federal officials think she is serious about improving performance.
"When I say performance pay, I will not water it dowal mad create ridiculous incentives that don’t move student
achievement," Rhee said. "I do not think it’s normal for the federal government to give this amount to a school
district, but my track record of doing different things made them believe I could do this."
The Associated Press

Bush administration proposes boost in D.C. school funding

2008-02~02 04:37:11.0

WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House <http:i/www.examiner.com/Subiect-The White House.html>


plans to announce a proposal to direct $32 million in addilional federal funding to the D.C. public education
system.
The budget recommendation to be announced Monday would provide funds to school enhancement programs
in both traditional public schools and charter schools.

The funding includes a one-time $20 million payment to support Mayor Adrian Fenty’s school reform ettbrt,
The fimding would help start an ineentive-p~" program designed to ~reward teachers whose students meet
performtmco goals and would Ihnd iraining for teachers and principals. The money also would target new
programs at low-performing schools.
In a statement, U.S. Education Secretar7 Margaret Spellings <http://wwcw.examiner.comiSubject-
Margaret Spellings.htmI> says lhe money willjump-starl the mayor’s school retbrm strategy.

]’he proposed D.C. budget requires approva! fi’om Congress.

10
Associated Press

Fight over No Child Left Behind cash continues


Fri February t, 2008 14:48 EST
LAN SING, Mich. (AP) _ The U.S. Depam~enl of Education said Friday it will ask a federal appeals co~ut to
reconsider a ruling in a lawsuit related to No Child Left Behind Act flmding.
School districts in three states including Michigan and the nation’s largest teachers’ union have sued the federal
gover, unent, arguing that schools should not have to comply with requiremenls of the education law that aa’en’t
f-anded by the federal gin, eminent.
On Jan. 7, a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati sided with the plaintiffs by
a 2-1 decision.
The appeals court majority said No Child Left Behind fails to provide clear notice as to who bears the additional
costs of compliance. The court majority said statutes enacled under the spending clause of the U.S. Constitution
must provide clear notice to the states of their liabilities if they accept federal funding under those statutes.
The lJ. S. Department of Education is asking all active judges on 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear the case.
"’We think we have a very. strong case," Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said Friday’. "’We don’t believe
No Child Left Behind is an unfunded mandate."
Spellings said that if the appeals cot!r! decision were to strand, it could aanderrnine efforts to improve education.

Plaintiffs include the Pontiac, Mich., school district and eighl districts in Texas and Vermont, along with
National Education Association affiliates in several states.
They claim federal funding is not keeping pace with additional mandates required by No Child Lef~ Behind:
requiring schools to pay from local and state sources to keep UP-
A message seeking comment was left with the Natio~ml Education Association on Friday afternoon.

11
The New York Times

February 2, 2008

NATIONAL BP~IEFING I EDUCATION

Appea| of Challenge to ’No Child’ Law

By SAM DILLON <http:t/toplcs.nytimes,com/top/referenee/tlmestolfics/peopleld/sam dillon/index.html?


inline=n.~’~rper>

One month after a three-judge panel of a federal appeMs court revived a legal challenge to the federal No Child
Left Behiad law, Educatiort Sec/etary Margaret Spelling~ said she would ask the United States Court oi’Appeals
lbr the Sixth Circuit, in Cincinnati, to convene a larger pane[ to reconsider that ruling, h~ its 2-to-1 ruling on Jan.
7, the Sixth Circuit said that school districts in Michigan and sever’A other states had been justii’ied in their 2005
suit that argued the law requil"ed them to pay for testing and other programs without providing sufficient federa!
money.
Education Week

The S~oo! Law Blog <http:i/Nogs.edweek.org/edweeWschool_law/> By Mark Walsh


Spellings to Appeal 6th Circuit’s NCLB Ruling
U.S. Secretary of Educa6on Margaret Spellings announced today that the Bush administration will appeal a
court ruling that revived a lawsuit which contends the No Child Left Behind Act is an unfunded federal
mandate.

Spellings said that U.S. Solicitor General Paul D, Clement, M~o is the top appellate lawyer in the Department
of Justice, has authorized an appeal asking that the full U.S. Court of Appeals for ~he 6th Circuit, in
Cincinnati, rehear the case of Pontia~ School Districl v. Spellings.

A panel &the 6th Circuit court ruled 2-1 on Jan. 7


<h_ttp://~v.ca6.uscourts.ggy[opinions,pdffO8aOOO6p-O6.pdf> that the states were not on clear notice of their
potential financial obligations when they agreed to accept federal ffmding under the No Child Left Behind
law. The majority ruled that state and local officials could ".reasonably read" the law’s unfunded-mandate
provision to conclude the l~deral government would pay for all costs associated with complying with the law.

I wrote about the ruling in Education Week here <http://www.edweek.or~ew:/articles/2008/01/16/19nclb-


suit.h27.hlml>, and my colleague David Hoff and t wrote here
<http://u.~’w. edweek.org/ew/articles/2008/01/30/21 nclb.lt27 .html> about a letter Spellings "O,Tote tO chi el"
state school officers that was critical of the ruling.

In her statement today, Spellings said the administration’s appeal to the full 6th Circuit "will be filed shortly."

"As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I strongly disagree with the ruling, and believe that if the decision were to
stand, it could undermine efforts to im prove the education of our nation’s children, in particular those
students most in need," Spellings said in the statement. "NCI.B is not an unfunded mandate. It is a voluntaD’
compact between the states and the federal govermnent, which asks that in exchange fbr federal tax dollars,
resulls be demonstrated. This investment is netting solid results and creating an opportunity for ever5’ child in
America to ha’¢e access to a quality education."

l’he School Law Blog covers news and analysis on legal developmenls affecting schoola:, educators, and
parents. Mark ~L~h has been covering &gal issues in education for more than 15 years f)r Education Week
He writes about school-related cases b7 the L~S. S~preme Court and in lower courls.

~3
The Associated Press

Spellings in Alabama, announces plan for reading program increase


2/1/2008 7:46 p.m. EST
By Desiree Hun|or

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Educators, legislators and state ot’fieial.~ met with U.S. Education Secretary
Margaret Spellings Friday for a round-table discussion about No Child [.eft Behind that was at tmaas critical and
complimentary, but a!ways candid.

"I dlought it was s~imulating conversation. I think it was straight from the heart and from proIi~ssional people
who are in education eve~ day," s~ate Superintendent of Education Joe Morton said after the Montgomery.
meeting.

"I think it gives (Spelli~gs) some concrete, hands-on things that can be done to improve the law - not theory or
philosophical things - but productive and constructive (input)," he said.

Spellings’ visit was one of several stops she is making throughout the country to discuss the successes and
shortcomings of the federal act that was passed in 2002 and has been unpopular with many public school
teachers.

She said there have been a lot of common threads in her conversations with educators around the count~’, with
some of the key issues involving the way students m’e tracked, supplemental services that are offered and
changing what now amounts to a pass/fail system for schools.

But despite all the improvements that need to be made, Spellings ~aid, the law has produced some positive
results.

"There’s a focus on every. kid and uvery group of students so we’re no longer coment with: ’Average everybody’s
achievement together and say ’Hooray for us’," she said. "We are going to look at every kid - every group of
Hispanic kids, African-American kids, special ed kids, and we’re going to hold them all to a high slandard and
that’s proficiency by 2014."

Rhonda Neal Waltman, who was the assistant superintendent of Mobile schools wh,n the law went into effect,
said the positives outweigh the bad.

"[ do think it ~vas a catalyst Ibr change for us," said Waltman, who attended the round-table and shared about her
experiences. "A disadvantage of it is we had focused a lot on testing before we realized if we focus on rigorous
curriculum ~he tests will take care of themselves.

"Do we need to tweak it? Absolutely. Does it need more funding? Absolutely. But don’t throw it away," she
said.

Spellings also a~mounced President Flush’s plans to ask Congress to raise fimding tbr the nationwide Reading
Fi~st program to at least $1 billion when he makes his budget request for fiscal year 2009 on Monday.

The program serves low-ineorne children and saw its budget slashed by 60 percent to $393 million in the cun’ent
fiscal year. An Education Department inspector general’s report last year showed mismanagement and conflicts
of interest in the program in its early years.

Chad Colby, a spokesman for Spellings, said the secretary has accepted and implemented the inspector general’s
14
recommendations and the problems ha~’e been fixed.

"Everybody that was involved in implementation is no longer with the department," he said.

"Our position has always been: Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water," Colby said. "You’ve got an
effeclive program that is llelping. You shoukha’t throw away a federa! program because of early management
problems with implementation."

Morton agreed, saying the federal cuts to the program - which mnount lo about $10 million for Alabama - would
be especially dire now with millions in state cuts looming.

"People are devastated, trttly devastated v,,Sth the cut. You could hear it in their voices today," he said. ’Tm
hopeful thai it’s a one year cut .... I hope it’s rectified when they adopt ~he next budget."

15
Montgomery Advertiser

$1B coming for reading program for children

By Jenn Rowell, jroweli@gannett.com

UoS. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings told listeners at Alabama’s State House that President Bush witl
include $1 billion in the federal budget for the Reading First program when he introduces his budget Monday.
She also conceded that the No Child Left Behind law might work better i fit paid attention to how far behind the
schools actually were.
The Reading First program, which serves low-income children, had its budget slashed by 60 percent to $393
million during the current fiscal year, Milch mnotmted to about a $10 million cut for Alabmna.
Gov. Bob Riley, Alabama la~anakers ~nd other educators at the Friday roundtable meeting said the increase in
funds would be important to the state.
Joseph Morton, state superintendent of education, said the devastating effect the cut had on the state could be
even more devastating if thnds weren’t restored for the upcoming fiscal year because of the budget problems the
A]abarna Legislature faces.
Most agreed fl~at the No ChiId Left Behind law" would be more effective ifil didn’t just reward schools on a
pass/fail basis_
Cun’ently, schools either meet standards or they don’t. NCI, B rewards the ones who do. But there is no
differentiation made among those flint don’t -- even Schools cl~ronically below standards that make significant
progress.
"Is it problem free? Absolutely noti" Spellings said of the program. "We are pleased, but not satisfied."
Spellings said because NCLB does not track progress, it hurts some slates such as Alabama that have some
schools that may not meet standards yet, but have come a hmg way toward reaching them.
The group said Alabama is definiteIy making progress,
The most recent National Assessment of Educational Programs, or NAEP, found that Alabama’s fourth-~aders
had their highest gains ever in math and reading, and eighth-graders achieved their highest scores in math since
the assessment was established about 30 years ago.
Alabama is -also one of nine states to reduce the math achie,,’ement gap between white and Hispanic sludents in
grades 3 through 8 and high school.
The intense focus on elementary students is getting the intended results, the educators said, but more progress
needs to be made.
In the last five years, fourth-graders have shown increased achievemenl in reading and math, but eighth-graders
haven’t shown the same progress. In both cases, Alabama students performed below the national averages.
Spellings and Tonmay Lcdbetter, principal of Buckhorrt High School in Madison County’, said NCLB needs to
pay more attention to middle and high school students and fi~at the drop-out rate is one of the issues that needs
to be addressed.
Supplemental services, which Spellings said is "Washington speak for tuloring," also need to become a wiority.
Morton ,said tutoring should be the first option for dtudents, fo!lowed by school choice.

Janet Hagood, a teacher in Jefferson County, agreed.


"We ~vant after-school tutoring to extend the school day a~d extend learning," Hagood said.
Getting the best teachers into the most challenging school settings, instead of sending new and inexperienced
teachers into those situations, is also a key topic for Spellings.
According to the Consolidated State Perl~rmance Reports from 2006-2007, in Alabama the number of high-
quality teachers in schools with less poverty exceeds the number o~’hi~-quality teachers in areas with high-
poverty levels.
One area of a~eement was that schools and students should be rewarded J’or their success.
"It’s belier thm~ (a) revival," Riley said of award ceremonies at schools.

t7
Birmingham News

U.S. education secretary, says President Bush will ask for full funding for federal reading program
Budget cuts will cost state Sll million

Saturday., February 02, 2008


By MARIE LEECH, News staff writer

MONTGOMERY - President Bush will ask Congress on Monday to restore full funding in 2009-10 for a
federal program that officials believe has helped Alabama students make significant gains in reading, U.S.
Education Secretm7 Margare~ Spellings announced Friday.
"l:he federal Reading First program will take a 60 percent funding cut this year, meaning Alabama witl get just
$7 millJon for the Alabama Reading .First Initiative in the fall, instead of the $ ! 8 million it gets now.
"The hugely bad news is ARF1, but the good news is that Confess is increasing Title I funds, so let’s bring
these two together to continue Reading First," Spellings said at a roundtable discussion vdth Guy. Bob Riley,
state school Superintendent Joe Morton and several educators and legislators.
The federal reading program is for students in grades kindergarten fl~a’ough three and is targeted at schools
with high poverty levels. Such schools also receive federal Title I money, which is based on the number of
students on the free and reduced-price lunch progrmn.
The Alabama Reading Initiative, which is different from the federal Reading First Initiative, has l~een in
elementary schools since 1997. Federal educators used AJabama’s successful reading program as a model for
the federal progrmn, which began in 2002.
While the Alabmna Reading Initiative is in all elementary schools, the federal program serves 95 schools in 46
school systems throughout the state.
Riley said he will not support funding cuts for the state’s initiative.
"The budget I’m scndiJag not only says not to cut funding for reading, but to increase it," he said.
Spellings noted that the reading initiatives combined ha’,,e helped raise reading lest scores. Alabama posted
the highest gains in fourth-grade ~eading last year on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, also
known as the nation’s repo~’~ cald.
"When we looked at the NAEP scores, we thought, "This has to be a mistake,’" she said. "Your reading scores
stand out in the nation."

Mor~on said despite the funding cuts fl~is year, Alabama is on the fight track.
"We aren’t where we want to be: but we are makiug great progress," he said. "Alabm~a is never going hack.
It’s only upward from here."
Spellings also discussed the No C~ild Left Behind legislation, which was up [br reauthorization last year but
wasn’t reauthorized. She said the act needs to be tweaked, and she hopes it conies up for reauthorizafion this
year.

"No Child Left Behind is here to stay. It does not expire," Spellings said. "But it’s nol problem-free."
Rep. Mac Gibson, R-Prattville, said he thinks Congress should offer states more money for No Child Left
Behind requirements.
"I think the tEds could have helped a little more financially for what the?, want us to do," he said.
Morton said he thinks Alabama is better off for having the law. Before, the state averaged test scores based oll
all students. The law requires stales to break students into subgroups based on race, income level and special
education.
The new data allow educators to see how well every, student performs and what groups of studems need
improvement.
Spellings told state officials Friday that Alabama is one of just nine states to reduce lhe performance gap
between white and Hispm~ic students, to which the room broke out in applause.

~9
WSFA NBC-TV - IVlontgomery~ Aia.

U.S. Secretary of Education in Montgomery to Support Alabama No Child Left


Behind Program

Posted: [’---~Feb I, 2008 02:13 PFI EST

Updated: ~--]Feb I, 2008 03:14 PFI

New information today on the No Child Left Behind program in Alabama,

U,S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and Alabama Governor Bob Eiley held an education policy
roundtable on Friday morning to discuss the No Child Left Behind and priorities for 2008.

Spellings spoke with lawmakers and leaders about how the federal government can partner with the state and
districts to support innovation and get every child on grade level or better,

Governor Riley will address the legislature next week.

He says he’ll ask for more funding -- not a cut -- For the program.

2O
Washington Post

D.C. School Closings List Is Revised


By Theola LabbA and David Nakamura, Washing|on Post StaffWriters
Saturday, February 2, 2008; B01
D.C_ Mm’or Adrian M. Font!,," <http:/!v,~vw.washingtonpost.eom,’ae2/relatedAopic/Ad~ianq-Fenty?
tid=informline> and Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee
<http://www.washinNonpost.comiae2/related/topie:~Aiehelle+RSee?tid=hd’ormline.> gave a reprieve yesterday
to six schools originally targeted in lheir school dosing plan but added four new- ones to the list.
Added are Berming ElementsD, and Merritt Middle in Northeast, both of which would close in June, and
Garnet-Patterson Middle and P~k View Elementary in Northwest, which would close by 2011 or later, the
mayor said.
The schools no longer on the list are Bmce-Mom’oe Elemenlary in Northwest and John Burroughs and Smothers
elementaries in Northeast; Ronald H. Brown Middle and Bro,,me Middle, both in Northeast, ,’rod Shaw Middle
in Northwest.
FenU and Rhee said the revised plans were the result of hours of public comments from nine meetings and 23
public hearings since November. During those sessions, they were commended for seeking to pare down excess
space in the 49,600-student school system, and they were the object of protests from parents who said the
administration had overlooked safety issues and failed to consider the strength of academic programs.
The revised list reflects public feedback on the proposal but also is the result of R_hee’s reexamination, of the
plan, said spokeswoman Mafara Hobson <hltp://www.washin~onpost.comiac2/related/topic~lafara+Hobson?
tid=informline>.
Fenty and Rhee did not give detailed reasons tbr adding or subtracting a school from the list. City’ education
leaders previously have said that studem enrollment and population trends were factors in the decision.
Unlike preceding school leaders, v~-ho proposed staggering dosm’es over the next decade, Fenty and Rhee are
slicking to their plans to shut. 23 schooIs within a few years. Sixteen schools would dose in June and seven
closings would be spread over the next few years, Fenty said yesterday. More than 5,300 students attend the
closing schools.
Officials have not armounced what will happen to the schools, but Fenty said: "We will keep all the schools
within the inventory of the D.C. government. We don’t intend to sol.1 any of them."
The revised plan drew fresh ire from parents with children at schools added to the list.
Yvette Moore, 41, w-he graduated from Merritt, as did her two older children, said she was considering sending
her third child there bu! Ibund it "amazing" to see the school on the to-be-closed list. She said it seems the
school is being judged because of a few poorly performing students.
"1 know a couple of kids are having some issues, but I’m still puzzled. It seems like most kids are doing okay,"
she said.
She said she does not like the idea of sending her son tO Ronatd H. Brown Middle School, the designated
transfer school, which she said is in a dangerous neighborhood and is too far away tbr her son to walk there.
"With all the violence I’ve heard and seen on the news in that area.-- Merritt wasn’t having that b’pe of
violence," she said.

21
In an interview, Rhee said the revisions were more The result of individual, arguments she heard in private
meetings with parents and others than large community, gatherings and demonstrations.
"None of the changes were driven by people coming out to big meetings," Rhee said_ "The way that was more
productive was when small groups came to me and said, ’Here are our concerns, here are our ideas.’ "
For example, after D.C. Council
<http://www.washingt~np~st.c~rrda~2~re~a~ed/t~pic/C~unei~+~f+the+District+of+~umbia~tid=informline>
member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) <http://www.washingonl~ost.co~rdac2/relatedttopic/Jack+Evans+(Politician)?
fid=informline> and neighborhood leaders said Show’s large campus could be a community" resource, Rhee
reversed course and proposed closing Garnet-Patterson instead of Shaw. Sha~,?s large athletic fields, she said,
could attract students looking for activities and cut down on truancy.
But Florence Harmon, an advisor5, neighborhood commissioner in the West En4.~og~" Bottom neighborhood,
where Stevens Elementary is located, said her argumcnls agains~ closing the school went unheeded when she
met with Rhee. Harmon said she cited its academic programs and historical importance to the conmmnity ~ the
first school for freed slaves.
"They made the decision completely on enrollment. ]hey didn’t take into accotmt the quality of the educational
programs, because if they did, Stevens would s~ill be open," Harnlon said.
The new proposal calls for Benning students to move to Smolhers Elementary in Nortl~east, while students from
Merritt would go to Ronatd H. Brown in Northeast. In Northwest, students from Garnet-Patterson would attend
Shaw, and Park View students would attend Brace-Monroe. All four receiving schools had been on the closing
list proposed in November but were taken off under the new plan.
A public hearing on the proposal is set for 6 p.m. Feb. 27 at McKinley Technology High School in Northeast.
Council members, who criticized Fenb’ and Rhee for not consulting with them before releasing their original
proposal, were persona!ly briefed by Rhee and Fenty on Thursday.
"Obviously it was difficult from the beginning because of a lack of communication, but the process got better as
we went along," said Chairman Vincent C. Gray
<http:/iwww.washinNonpost.con~’ac2/relatedltooicfVincent+Grav?tid=infornaline> (D). "This sends a message
that [the administration was] flexible."
Althoughcouncil member Jim Graham <http:i/w~vw.washin~or~l~OSt.com/ac2/related¢topic/Jim+Graham?
tid=informline>. (D-Ward 1 ) said he was glad that Bruce-Monroe and Shaw in his district were spared, he said
he would fight for Park View and Ganaet-Patterson. "The squeak-y wheel, the schools lold that they were going
to close, were obviously very’ convincing," he said. "We’re going to make our case."
Park View is an anchor of the. neighborhood, he said, and Garnet-Patterson was the first African American
junior hi~ school in the city°
Council member Harry Thomas Jr. <http://www.washingtonpost.com]ac2!related/topidHarr).,+Thomas+Jr.?
tid=inforrntine> (D-Ward 5) said he still wants Rhee to take Bunker Hill Flementary and Backus Middle
<http://~w~w.washin~tonp~st.c~m/ac2/reIated/t~pic/Backus+Midd~e+Sch~?tid=inf~m1~ine> of the list and also
M.M. Washington because it is the ci~"s only vocational high school.
Thomas, who has pushed tbr more inclusk~n in the process, said he t’el~ more "optimistic" about being heard by
Rhee and Fenty.
"They kept us in the loop a lot better than they did belbre," he said.
Thomas said that wil| nol deter him fiom going forward with legislation that wouid require more input from the
22
public on school closures and council oversight of the disposal of school properb’.

Staff writers Michelle Boorstein, Nikita S~ewart and Debbi ~qlgoren contributed to this report.
Washington Post

Editorial

Narrowing the Gap

Montgomery school programs are getting the job done.


Saturday, February 2, 2008; AI 4
WHEN YERRY D. Weast <h~tp://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/relatedltopic/Je~+Weast?tid=informline>
took the helm of M0ntgorne _ry C0unU
<http://v~’~v.washingtonp~st.c~j~ac2/re~ated/t~pic/M~ntg~merv+C~m1~+~Mar~qan~)?tid=inf~rm~ine> public
schools, he issued a harsh wake-up call. Tlae top-notch school system was overlooking children of color and
those frown how-income families; the resulting gap in achievemem betweert underserved students and white,
better-offstudents was intolerable. Mr. Weast’s progress in narrowing the gap is clear-cut and should serve as a
template for action mnong schools sln~ggling to improve student achievement.
The latest validation of the strategy Mr. Weast pursued these past nine years comes in a recent report from the
County Council’s office of oversighl. Not only did the system make substantial progress in closing the
achievement gap, it did so while raising performance overall. Every group of students, including African
Americans, English-language learners and special education students, posted gains on storewide reading and
math tests given in third, fifth and eighth ~ades. That meant, for example, an inc,’ease irt reading proficiency
fmrn 48 percent to 73 percent for black third-graders and an increase from 40 percent to 75 t~ercent for
Hispanics, Some of the most dramatic gains occurred in the early grades, such as the spurt in black
kindergartners who are able to read at grade level to an impressive 90 percent in 2007.
The improvement in the early grades is not a coincidence, given that fl~ese are the students who have benefited
most fi:om such school refo~rns as all-day kindergarten and smaller class sizes. The students referred to as
"Jerry’s kids," who were in kindergarten when the programs were launched, are now in the seventh grade, and it
will be interesting to see bow they fare in the troublesome middle-school yeaJ’s.
To be sure, lhe achievement gap hasn’t been eliminated, and critical issues still face the t 37,000-student system.
There are areas where, as the report notes, results have been mixed m~d a few where the system has lost ground.
It’s worrisome, for instance, that mor~: minority," students are being suspended, are dropping out, or are being
identified as needing special education. School officials say they are aware of these shortcomings and are
working on remedies.
The tmusual com~cil review irked some school officials, who saw it as redundant, given the system’s own
analyses, m~d even as an inlrusion on the authoriU of the elected school board. Certainly, the cotmcil shouldn’t
overstep its limils, but it has a right to assess the success of programs it fimds. Indeed, that such a positive
picture emerges from a tough outside ~eview should only help in securing the resources to complete Mr. Weast’s
call to action.
The New York Times

February 2, 2008

YOUR MONEY

If l~’s Tuesday, It Must Be Spanish

By HILLARY CHURA

CONVENTIONAL wisdom says it is never too early for children to learn a foreign language. But conventional
wisdom predates the days of paying someone to teach your child another tongue.

"The marketplace has parents totally b,’unboozled," said Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, co-author of"Einstein
Never Used Flashcards: How Our Children Really Learn - and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize
Less" (Rodale Books, 2003) and "~How Babies Talk: The Magic and Mystery of Language in the First Three
Years of Life" (Dutton, 1999). "Being immersed in the language and living within it are what lead to Ianguage
learning, aot 20 minutes of exposure to a Limited set of vocabulary and sentence structures or attendance at a
weekly o11e-hour Spanish class.:’

An increasing mumber of American parents fluent in a foreigl~ language, as well as their English-only
counterparts, want their children to be bilingual if not multilingua!. While no one knows how much is spent in
tolal on games, books, DVDs, online tools a~d foreign-language baby sillers, the amount can easily reach
fl~ousands ofdollaxs a year per toddler. ]’hat counts tutors who charge $70 an hour, classes for $50 a week,
foreiN~ au pairs who can cost $16,000 a year and annual tuition at prE, ale inunersion schooIs that charge
$20,000 for nine months of study.

And this does not include lhe outlay to retain a la~guage as a child ages.

Laurie Dlugos-Schweik of Aurora, I11., plays songs in French and Farsi for her 10-month-old son, Matthew, and
has her mother speak to him in Polish. Ms. Dlugos-Schweik, who says she is proficient in French, studied
Spanish and Latin in school and heard Pofish growing up, plans to enroll Matthew in French class after he turns
2.

"The ttfinking is that by exposing a child at an em’ly age to a different language you create the pathway in the
brain tbr them to learn a futI language ]ater in lit~ at an easier m~d accelerated pace d~an a child without any
exposure," she said. ’~Sinee Matthew is not speaking yet, I have no idea what impact il is having, but I figure it
can’t htlrt."

"[’he most effective way for children to leam another language is lhrough a parent or caregiver, in an immersion
school or even living abroad, say linguists, language teachers and bilingual parents.

Ms. Golinkoffsaid preschool classes in a foreign language every" day might be effective but only if parents
backed that up wi~h books in the language or hired a baby sitter who spoke the language. Poputar once-a-week
classes, she said, do nothin~ more than train the ear - at best.
To really [earn a foreign language, children must spend 30 percent of their waking time exposed to it: said
Christina Bosemark, ~bunder of the Mu[tilingual Children’s Association in San Francisco, which guides parents
rearing nmltilingual children. She said children with less contact might understand a language, but their abili~’
to speak it con’ectty would be hindered. Nonetheless, limited expost~re as babies or toddlers could help if
children study the language later, she said.

2~
Brenda and Joseph Mirsky of New York enrolled their 3-year-old son, Zack, in a 30-v,,eek Spanish-]anguage arls
and crafts class. Mrs. Mirsky said she was unsure how much Zack got from it, but she said she would ha’~’e said
the same thing at that age about he~ daughter, kauren, now 6. From the time she was a baby to 3 years, Lanren
went to weekly Spanish classes. Now, with Spanish and French instruction twice a week at her elementary
school, Lanren sings in Spanish and knows some greetings, numbers ~-md colors, her mofl]er said.

"She’s doing ~eat in Spanish. She loves it," Mrs. Mirsky said. As for French, which Lauren did not study as a
baby, %he doesn’t sw nmch about it,"

Language teachers, linguists mid scientists refer to the so-called critical period, the tender years when children
most easily pick tip languages. Opinions vary, with some experts saying the cutoffends at 2, 3, 5, 7 or 13.

Michael Kandel and Darryl Wong adopted their daughter, Chloe Km~del-Wong, from China in 2002. In 2006,
the couple, who live in Douglaston, Queens, enrolled Chloe irt a $1,000-a-year Maudlin class. With no
knowledge of Chinese herself and none from her pro’cuts, Chloe lasted less than a year.

"We call our daughler the youngest Chinese-schooI dropout," Mr. Kandel said. tte said t_hat he realized the
lessons were not going to be productive because he and his wife were not going to be able to reinforce the
language at home.

Language teachers say outside interaction - play dates in the language, additional classes, hearing pments read
(even if t hey are not Iluent) - is vital, especially if a child’s primary exposure comes in periodic bursts.

"The morn you listen, the more you talk, the more you are exposed to a language, the better it is. II’s like
anything else - tennis, golf, the violin," said Yolanda Borrfis, program director of Musical Kids International in
New York, which teaches music in Spanish, French, Korean and Hebrew. ’% pianist who works one hour a
week won’t be as good as a pianist who works 40 hours a week."

Ms. Borras said that even ifa child did not lmow many foreign words at the end of a program, the ettbrt had not
necessarily been a waste. The?’ should have picked up a language’s cadence and phonetics as well as the concept
that other cullures and languages exist.
.... I’his is a society that wants instant rewards, instant resulls. It’s not realistic to expect a child to speak a
language after 30 hours of instruction over a school year when they spend their first two years of life without
saying a word," Ms. Borr.4s said.

Strict classroom training is wasted on the pre-5-ycar-old set, according to educators who say thai toddlers are
more inclined to chew on a doll’s head than point to ’% t~.te2’ Still, T. Berry Brazelton, the child development
~m.ma and author, said children as young as 3 might be well suited to language class - but only if they want to be
there. Parents, he said, often steer their offspring into what they themselves find interesting rather than what the
child enjoys.

While many mothers, lhthers and grandparents fixate on languages their children do not know, Ms. Oolinkoff
says they should lighten up.

~’It is true that children are best at learning a foreign language before the age of 5," she said. "But it’s not like
you can’t learn a foreign language later."

Susan Behrens, associme professor of eolmnunication sciences and disorders at Marymounl Mmflmttan College,
cautioned against pushing a child into any activity, language or otherwise_

"They say kids are like a sponge and can learn anything, but you can also turn them offeasJly," she said. :’lfyou
26
introduce a language Jn the spirit of play and being embedded in their daily lives, you’re going to he much mote
successfill than if you say, ’O.K., you’re gohag to class now,’ ’"

27
02.02.08 In ~he News

1) Associated Press: Bush education budget is level, seeks boost for reading program
and vouchers (Nancy Zuckerbrod)

2) The New York Times: Bush to Seek Budget Cuts, Except iu Child Health (Robert
Pear)

3) Washin~on Post: Bush Proposes Giving D.C. $32 Million More To Boost School
Reform (David Nakamura)

4)The Associated Press: Bush administration proposes boost in D.C. school funding

5) Associated Press: Fight over No Child Left Behind cash continues

6) The New ~rork Times: Appeal of Challenge to ’No Child’ Law (Sam Dillon)

7) Education Week (The School Law Blog): Spellings to Appeal 6th Circuit’s NCLB
Ruling (Mark Walsh)

8) The Associated Press: Spellings in Alabama, announces plan for reading program
increase (Dcsiree Hunter)

9) Montgomery Advertiser= $1B coming for reading program for children (Jenn
Rowell)

10) Birmingham News: U.S. education secretary says President Bush will ask for
full funding for federal reading program; Budget cuts will cost state $11 million
(Marie Leech)

1 I) WSFA NBC-TV- Montgome~,, Ala.: U,S, Secretary of Education in


Montgomery to Support Alabama No Child Left Behind Program

.12} Washington Post: D.C. School Closings List Is Revised (Theola Labb~ and
David aNakamura)

13) Washington Post {Editorial): Narrowing the Gap; Montgomery s~hool programs
are getting the job done.

14) The New York Times: If It’s Tuesday, It Must Be Spanish (Hillary Chura)
Associated Press

Bush education budget is level, seeks boost for reading program and vouchers

By NANCY ZUCKERBROD, AP Education Writer

Fri February 1, 2008 t4:03 EST

WASHINOTON (AP) _. In a year w-hen many federal programs are in line for hefty
budget cuts, President Bush is asking Congress to/argely leave education alone, and
seeking more money for a controversial readhag initiative.

The White House budget proposal being sent to Congress on Monday asks lawtnakers to
sign offon nearly $60 billion tbr education programs, accordin~ to a copy of the
Education Department budget obtained Friday by The Associated Press. The amount
equals what is being spent this year: without an increase to keep pace with inflation.

Among Bush’s proposals for the upcoming budget year: a push for Congress to restoxe
$600 million lawmakers cut from a reading program that serves low-income children.

The progr~m~, called Reading First, recently has received favorable reviews from state
officials and others. But ~t also has been criticized by federal investigators for conflicts of’
interest and mismanagement.

Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said in a telephone interview Friday that there
we~’e problems with the program initially but that they had been addressed and that
reading gains were being made by students served under the initiative.

The administration also is renewing a push for a $300 million proposal that would allow
poor sludents to transfer to better public schools outside their district or to private
schools, if their schools failed to mcc~ benchmarks under ~he 2002 No Child Left Behind
law or had low graduation rates.

Democrats m’e staunchly opposed to using federal dollars for private school vouchers and
have rejected similar administration proposals in the past.

Spellings said it’s unihir to force kids to stay in troubled schools. "’When they are broken
chronically, we have to do something different," she said.

°I’i tie I grants, the main source of federaI funding for poor students, would get $14.3
billitm, about a 3 percent increase from d~Js year, under fl~e administration’s proposal.
About half of the nation’s schools, and lwo-thirds of elementary schools, receive Title 1
funding.

The administration proposes to spend about $11.3 billion for special education sere’ices
for students with disabilities, an increase of roughly $330 million.
A pro~am that helps fund merit-pay plans for teachers who boost student test scores
would double, £rom about $100 millio~ to $200 million. Teachers ~lnions oppose li~aking
paychecks to student scores.

In all, the administration is seeking to eliminate 47 education pro~ams, to save about


$3.3 billion. The administration says the programs are too sma|l to have a national
impact, aren’t et~l)ctive for other re~ons, or get money from other sonrce~

They include programs to encourage arts in schools, bring low-income students on trips
lo Washington, and provide mental health services.

"" Obviously, cuts are difficnlt to make," Spellings said. "" But ! thi~k this is a responsible
budget that sets p,iorities and that is ali~ed with the core mission and the core tbens of
No Child Left Behind."

The Education Department also administers programs that help students and their
families pay for college.

The presidenl is asking Congress to approve an increase of about $2.6 billion tbr the Pe!l
Grant program for low-income eottege students. He is seeking to eliminate other
programs: including the Perkins Loan program, which provides low-interest loans to
needy students.
The New York Times

Februa~’ 2, 2008

Bush to Seek Budget Cu|s~ Except in Child Health

By ROBERT PEAR

WASHINGTON -- Dozens of popular health, housing and education programs would


be eliminated or sharply reduced under the budget that President Bush plans to armotmce
on Monday’. But he would significanlly increase spending on the State Children’s
Health Insurance Program. flae focus of a huge fight with Congress last year.

Michael O. Leavitt, the secretary of health and human services, said Friday that the
president would request $19.7 billion in additional fede]’al allotments to the states for
coverage of children fi’om low-income families in the next five years, Spending on the
pro~am ±i:om 2009 to 2013 would total $45.1 billion.

in an inters’jew, Mr. Lea~,’itt said the president’s budget would allow the program to meet
its "original intent" of covering children with family incomes up to twice the poverly
level, or $42,400 for a ~amily of four. About 18 states cover children Mth family incomes
abo’~’e that level.

The new proposal is midway between the $5 billion increase requested by the president
last year and the $35 billion increase that Congress provided in bills vetoed by Mr. Bush
in October and December.

Bush administration officials were telling Congress as recently as last month that a $5
billion increase would be enough, and many Republicans relied on that assurance. It is
not clear when the White House concluded that $19.7 billion was needed, a question that
lawmakers are sure to pursue in hearings.

In his budget, Mr. Bush sets forth a detailed blueprint for spending $3 tfitlion in the 2009
fiscal year, the largest amount ever requested by a presideni.

Mr. Bush foresees a budget surplus in 2012, but White House officials said the deficit
would be roughly $400 billion a year in 2008 and 2009, far more than the $163 billion
deficit recorded last year.

The budget would increase border security and provide money to protect New Orleans
against devastating storms like Hurricane Katrina.

Michael Chertoff. the secretal)’ of homeland security, aaid the budget would increase
spending on border security and immigration enforcement by 19 percent, to $12.1
billion. The govenunent, he said, planned to hire 2,200 Border Patrol agents to achieve
the goal of 20,000 agents by late 2009.
The administration is requesting $5.8 billion to complete work on levees and flood walls
in file New Orleans area.

But budgel documents show that Ivlr. Bush will also propose deep cuts in a wide range of
domestic progrmns.

Spending on poison control ceuters would be cut 62 percent, to $10 million. Rural health
programs, a favorite of many senators, would be reduced 87 percent, to $16.9 million.

A special health program for rescue workers m~d volunteers M~o responded to the
terrorist atlacks on the World Trade Center in 200I would be cut by 77 percent, to $25
million, even though flae administration has said that many workers were exposed to
"unprecedented levels of risk" for lung disease and o~her illnesses,

Mr. Bush’s budget would end the Community Services Block Grant, a $654 million
program that provides housing, nutrition, education and job services to. low-income
people.
The budget would also end special programs to care for people with AIzheimer’s disease
and to treat people with traumatic brain injury. Mr. Bush would eliminate federal money
for a new ’~patient navigatoa-" program, which coordinates care far people wi~h cancer and
other serious illnesses. The administration contends that these programs are ineffective or
duplicate other govermnent initiatives.

Mr. Bush proposes a 22 percent eu~ in the Low-lncolne Home Energy Assistance
Pro~am, which provides $2.6 billion to help people pay heating bills. Many lawmakers
want to expand lhe program at a time when oil costs are soaring.

For fl~e National Institutes of Health, the president is requesting $29.5 billion in 2009,
the same anaount it received this year.

The budget responds to a bipartisan clamor for new safeguards to ensua’e the safety of
food and dn~gs.

Mr. B~sh is requesting .82.4 billion for the Food and Drttg Administration, up 5.7
percent ti’om the current level. Secretary Lea’~itt said some of the money would be used
to hia’e and deploy F.D.A. persom~el in foreign cotu~tries, so they could inspect tbod..
drugs and medical devices destined for the United States.

Mr. Bush wants to end the Hope VI housing pro~am, which upgrades severely
dilapidated public housing. The House ~’oted two weeks ago to renew the program lbr
eight years.

Representative Spencer Bachus of Alabama, one of 53 Republicans who ~,,oted for the
bill, said: ’~The program has been a snceess, It has eliminated some of the most dangerous
and distressed punic housing in the country, and created livable, mixed-income
communilies."
The White House wants to eliminate spending for more than a dozen education pro~ams,
including Event Start, which promotes fmnily literacy;, grm~s to the states for classroom
technology; Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants, for needy undergraduates; and
a scholarship program named for the chNrman of the Senate Appropriations Committee,
Robert C. BYrd, Democrat of West Virginia,

But Margaret Spellings, the secrelary of education, said Friday that the president would
requesl $1 billion for the Reading First program, to teach poor.children to read by the
third grade. Congress cut the program !o $393 million this yem" after federal investigators
found conflicts of interest, cronyism and bias in the awarding of grants.

Ms. Spellings said she hoped lawmakers would "see flae en’or &their ways."

Alctn Finder contributed reporting from New York


Washington Post

Bush Proposes Giving D.C. $32 Million More To Boost School Reform

By David Nakamura, Washington Post Staff Writer

Saturday, FebruaD’ 2, 2008; B02

The ~’~ite House plans to atmounce Mondw flint it has proposed giving the District $32
million in additional federal funding this year for public education, inc.luding a special
$20 million payment aimed at helping Mayor Adrian M. Fentv restructure public schools,
federal officials said.

The recommendation, contained in the White House’s overall proposed D.C. budget,
directs the funds toward a series of enhancements for the nemrly 50,000-student public
system and the 20,000-stnden! public charter school p~’o~am.

Among the proposals lbr the traditional schools is an incentive-pay program designed to
reward teachers whose students meet specific performance goaIs, D.C. Schools
Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee said. About $5 miBion would go toward replicating
successful charter schools, and $7 million would go toward beefing up programs in low-
performing schools.

"The package includes an infusion of resources to jump-start the mayor’s robust refom~
strategy for D.C. Public schools," U.S. Edttcation Secretary Margaret Sp_el!!ngs said in a
statement.

"These targeted investraents are a critical catalyst tbr the types of im~ovalion that have
been lacking for too long in the Nation’s Capital," Fenty (D) said in a letter to Congress
supporting the White ttouse’s D.C. budget request. "These initiatives will spur improved
instruction and services, directly benefiting students in the classroom."

Typically, the school system thnnels $120 million a year in federal funds 1o its schools.
In 2006, the U.S, Depm’tment of Education declared that the school system was a "high
risk" for mismanaging federal funds.

District officials called the proposed influ:~ ofne~v money a breakthrough and said it
shows the federal government has confidence in the Fenty administration’s school reform
plans. The bridget requires approval from Congress.

Since Fenty downgraded dae Board of Education and took control of the school system in
June, he has been working on a number of changes. Yeslerday, Fenty and Rhee
armounced a rex,[seal list of 23 school.g that will be closed, including 16 this lhlL

Rhee’s office is working to increase the public schools’ fiscal 2009 budget by about $17
million in local[ fimds, to a total of $794,6 million in local moncy.
Under the proposed federal education budget, the city would get $18 million in each of
three categories: for public schools, for charters and for the D.C. Opporttmity Scholarship
program. Each of tl~ose received between $13 million and $14 million last year.

.am additional :t;20 million would come to the District in a one-time payment to support
the Fenty administration’s retbrm eflbrts. That money will be earmarked to help support
and train teachers a~)d principals, develop nov,, programs for low-perYorming schools,
improve data reporting tbr student accotmtability aid help start the teacheT incentive-pay
program.

The District schools have not had an incentive-pay program, Rhee said, but she is in fl~e
process of developing one, in conjunction with the Washington "reachers’ Union. She
declined to talk about specifics but said support from the White House shows that federal
officials Ihink she is serious about improving performance.

"When I say performance pay, I will not water it down and create ridiculous incentives
that don’t move student achievement," Rhee said. "I do ~ot thi~k it’s normal for the
federal government to give this mnount to a school district, but my track record ofd0ing
different things made them believe I could do this."
The Associated Press

Bush administration proposes boost in D.C. school funding

2008-02-02 04:37:11.0

WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House plans to announce a proposal to direct $32
million in additional federal funding to the D.C. public education system.

The budget reconmaendalion to be announced Monday woltld provide filnds to school


enhancement programs in both traditional public schools and charter schools.

The ftmding includes a one-time $20 million payment to support Mayor Adrian Fenty’s
school reform effort. The funding would help start an incentive-pay program designed
to reward teachers whose students meet perfom~anee goals and would fund training for
teachers and principals. The money ’also would target new programs at low-performing
schools.

In a statement, U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings says the money will jump-
start the mayor’s school reform strategy.

The proposed D.C. budget requires approval from Congress.


Associated

Fight over No Child :Left Behind cash continues

Fri Februa~j~ 1, 2008 14:48 EST

LANSING, Mich. (AP) _ The U.S. Department of Education said Friday it will ask a
federal appeals court to reconsider a ruling in a Iawsuit related to No Child Let~ Behind
Act lhnding.

School districts in lhree states including Michigan and the nation’s largest teachers’ union
have sued the federal goverrmaent, arguing Sat schools should not have to comply w~th
requirements of the education law that aren’t funded by the federal gove~awnent.

On Jan, 7: a lhree-judge pm~el of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati
sided with lhe plaintiffs by a 2-1 decision.

The appeals court majority said No Child Left Behind fails to provide clear notice as to
who bears the addi.tional costs of compliance. The court majority said statutes enacted
under the spending clause of the U.S. Constitution must provide clear notice to the states
of their liabilities if they accept federal funding tmde~ those statutes.

The U.S. Department of Education is asking all active judges on 6th Circuit Court of
Appeals to rehear the ease.

"’We think we have a ~’e~’ slrong case," Educatiou Secretary Margaret Spellings said
Friday. "’We don’t believe No Child Left Behind is an tmfunded mandate?’

Spellings said that if the appeals court decision were to stand, it could undermine efforts
to improve education.

Plaintiffs include the Pontiac, Mich., school district and eight districts in Texas and
Vermont, along with Nation’~ Education Association affiliates in several states.

They claim federal funding is not keeping pace with additional mandates required by No
Child Left Be]find, requiring schools to pay f~orn local and state sources to keep

A message seeking comment was left with the National Education Association on Friday
afternoon.
The New York Times

February 2, 2008

NATIONAL. BRIEFING [ EDUCATION

Appeal of Challenge to ~No Child’ Law

By SAM DILLON

One month after a three-judge p~mel of a federal appeals court revived a legal challenge
to the federal No Child Left Behind law, Educatian Secretary Margaret Spellings said she
would ask the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in Cincinnati, to
convene a larger panel to reconsider that ruling. In its 2-to-I ruling on Jan. 7, the Sixth
Circuit said that school districts in Michigan and several other states had been j~stiiied in
their 2005 suit lhat argued the law required them to pay for testing and other programs
without providing sufficient federal money.
Education Week

The School Law BIog

By Mark Walsh

Spellings to Appeal 6~h Circuit’s NCLB Ruling

U.S. Secretary" of Education Margaret Spellings announced today that the Bush
administration will appeal a court ruling that revived a lawsuit which contends the No
Child Left Behind Act is an unfunded federal mandate.

Spellings said that U.S. Solicitor General Paul D. Clement, who is the top appellate
lav,2-er in the Deparlment of Justice, has authorized an appeal asking that the full U.S.
Court of Appeals tbr the 6th Circuit, in Cincinnati, rehear the case of Pontiac School
District v. &’petlings,

A panel of the 6th Circuit court ruled 2-1 on Jan. 7 that the states were not on clear
notice of their potential financial obligations when they agreed to aeeep~ federal
fimding under the No Child Lct~ B~hind taw. Th~ majority ruled ~hat stm~ and local
oEq cials could "~easunably read" the law’ s unfunded-mandam provision to conclude
the federal govermnent would pay for all costs associated with complying with the
law.

t wrote about the ruling in Education tgeekSe__e~re and my colleague David Hoffand 1[
wrote here about a letter Spellings ~a-ote to chief state school officers that was critical
of the ruling.

In her statement today, Spellings said the administration’s appeal to the full 6th Circuit
"will be filed shorlly."

"As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I strongly disagree with the ruling, and believe that
if the decision were to stand, it could undermine efforts to improve the education of
our nation’s children, in patlicular those students most in need," .Spellings said in Ihe
statement. "NCI,B is not an unfunded mandate. ]t is a volumary compact between the
states and the federal government, which asks that in exchange [br federal tax dollars,
results be demonstrated. This inveslment is netting solid results and creating an
opportunity for eyeD’ child in America to have access to a quality education."
The School Law Btog covers news and analysis on legal developments qffecting schools,
educators, and parents. Mark ~Valsh has been covering legal issues in education for"
more than 15 yeasts for Education Week H~ ~ritg.v about school-related cases in the U.S.
~qupreme Court and in lower cvurl~.
The Associated Press

Spellings in Alabama~ announces plan for reading program increase

2/1/2008 7:46 p.m. EST

By Desiree Hunter

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- Educators, legislators and state officials met with UoS.
Education Secretm7 Mar~aret Spellings Friday for a round-table discussion about No
Child Left Behind that was at turns critical mad complimentary, but always candid.

"I thought it was stimulating conversation, I think it was straight t’~om the heart and from
professional people who are in education every day," state S uperintendent of Education
Joe Morton said after the Montgomery meeting.

"I thilN it gives (Spellings) some concrete, hands-on things that can be done to improve
the Iaw -- not theory or philosophical things -- but productive and constructive (input),"
he said.

Spellings’ visit was one of several stops she is making throughout the country to discuss
the successes and shortcomings of the federal act that was passed in 2002 and has been
unpopular with many public school teachers.

She said there have been a tot ofcormnon threads in her conversations wi~h educators
around the country, wkh some of the key issues involving the way students are ~racked,
supplemental sen, ices that are offered and chm~ging what now amounts to a pass!lhil
system tbr schools.

But despite all the improvements that need to be made, Spellings said, the law has
produced some positive resulls.

"There’s a focus on ever)., !rid and every’ group of students so we’re no lounger content
with: ’Average everybody’s achievement together and say ’Hooray for us’," she said. "We
are going to look at every kid ~ every group of Hispanic kids, African-]unerican kids,
special ed kids, and we’re going to hold them all to a high standard and that’s proficiency
by 2014."

RhondaNeal Waltman: who was the assistant superintendent of Mobile schools when the
law went i~ato effect, said the positives outweigh ~he bad.

"I do think it was a catalyst for change for us," said Wa!tman, who attended the round-
~able and shared about her experiences. "A disadvantage of it is we had focused a lot on
testing before we realized if we focus on rigorous curriculum the tests will take care of
themselves.
"Do we need to tweak it? Absolutely. Does it need more funding? Absolutely. But don’t
throw it away," she said.
Spellings also announced President Bush’s plans to ask Congress ~o raise fimding tbr the
nationwide Reading First program to at least $1 billion when he makes kis budget request
for fiscal year 2009 on Monday.

The program serves low-income children and saw its budget slashed by 60 percent to
$393 million in the ct~cnt ~~scaI year. An Education Department inspector general’s
report last year showed mismanagement and conflicls of interest in the program in its
early years.

Chad Colby, a spokesmml for Spellings, said the secretary has accepted and implemented
the inspector general’s recommendations and the problems have been fixed.

"Everybody that was involved in implemenlation is no longer with the department," he


said.

"Our position has alwa~s been: Don’t tl~a’ow the baby out with the bath water," Colby
said. "You’ve got an effective program that is helping. You shouldn’t throw away a
federal program because of early mm~agement problems with implementation."
Morton aoo’eed, saying the federal cuts to the program -- which amotmt to about $10
million for Alabama -- would be especially dire now with millions in state cuts looming.
"People are devastated, truly devastated with the cut. You could hear it in their voices
loday," he said. "I’m hopeful that it’s a one year cut I....hope it’s rectified when they
adopt the next budget."
Montgomery Advertiser

$1B coming for reading program for children

By Jenn Rowell, jrowell@gannett.com

U.S. Secretary, of Educalion Margaret Spellings told listeners at Alabama’s State House
that President Bush will include $1 billion in the federal budget for the Reading First
program when he introduces his budget Monday.

She also conceded that the No Child Left Behind law mioO~t work better if it paid
attention to how far behind the schools actually were.

The Reading First program, which serves low-income children, had its budget slashed by
60 percent to $393 million during the current fiscal year, which amounted to about a $10
million cut for AIabama,

Gov. Bob Riley, Alabama lav~rnakers and other educators at the Friday roundtable
meeting said the increase in funds would be important to the state.

Joseph Morton, state superintendent of education~ said the devastating effect the cut had
on the state could be even more devastating if ftmds weren’t restored for the upcoming
fiscal year because of the budget problems the Alabama Legislature thces.

Most agreed that the No Child Left Behind law would be more effective if it didn’t .just
reward schools on a pass/fail basis.

Currently, schools either meet standards or they don’t. NCLB rewards the ones who do.
But there is no differentiation made among those that don’t -- even schools cttronically
below standards that make significant progress.

"Is it problem free? Absolutely not," Spel]ings said of the program. "We are pleased, bm
not satisfied."

Spellings said because NCLB does not track progress, it hurts some states such as
Alabama that have sonde schools that may not meet standards yet, but have come a long
way toward reaching tl~em.

The group said Alabm~a is definitely makSng progress.

The most recent National Assessment of Educational Programs, or NAEP, found that
Alabama’s fourth-graders had their highest gains ever in math and reading, and eighth-
graders achieved their highest scores in math since the assessment was established about
30 years ago.

Alabmna is also one of nine states to reduce the math achievement gap between white
and Hisp:mic students in grades 3 through 8 and high school.
The intense tbcus on elementary students is getting the intended results, the educators
said, but more progres.~ needs to be made.

In the last five years, fourth-graders have shovm incre~ed achievement in reading and
mafia, but eighth-~aders haven’t shown the same progress. Irt both cases, Alabama
students performed below the national averages.

Spellings and Ton~-ny Ledbetter, principal of Buckhorn High School in Madison County,
said NCLB needs to pay" more attention to middle and high school students and that the
drop-out tale is one of the issues that needs to be addressed.

Supplemental services, which Spellings said is "Washington speak for tutoring," also
need to become a priority.

Morton said tutoring should be the first option for students, ~tbllowed by school choice.

Janet ttagood, a teacher in Jefferson Couaty, agreed.

"We want alter-school tutoring to extend the sehooI day artd extend learning," Hagood
said.

Getting the best teachers into the most challenging school settings, instead of sending
new- and inexperienced teachers into those situations, is also a key topic for Spellings.

According to the Consolidated State Performance Reports from 2006-2007, in Alabama


the number of high-quality teachers in schools with less poverty exceeds the number of
high-quality teachers in ~eas with high-poverty levels.

One area of agreement was that schools and students should be rewarded ft~r their
success.

"It’s better than (a) revival," Riley said of award ceremonies a! schools.
Birmingham News

U.S. education secretary- says President Bush will ask for full funding for federal
reading program

Budget cuts will cost state $11 million


Saturday, February ~)2, 2008
By iVL~E LEECH, News staffwriter

MONTGOMERY - President Bush will ask Congress on Monday m restore full


funding in 2009-10 for a t~deral program that officials believe has helped Alabama
students m~e sig~ificm~t gains in reading, U.S, Education Secretary Margaxet
Spe!lings amaounced Friday.

The federal Reading Fizst program will take a 60 percem funding cut this year, meaning
Alabama will get just $7 million lbr the Alabama Reading First Initiative in the fall,
instead of the $18 million i, gets now.

"The hugely bad news is ARFI, but the good news is lhat Congress is increasing Title I
fitnds, so let’s bring these two togmher to continue Reading First," Spellings said at a
roundtable discussion with Gov. Bob Riley, sta~e school Superintendent Joe Morton
and several educators and legislators.

The federal reading program is for students in grades kindergarten through three and is
targeted at schools with high poverty tevels. Such schools also receive federal Title i
money, which is based on the number of students on the free and reduced-price lm~ch
program.

The Alabama Reading Initiative, which is different from the federal Reading First
Initiative, has been in elementary schools since 1997. Federal educators used
Alabama’s successful reading program as a model for lhe federal program~ which began
in 2002.
While the Alabama Reading Initiative is in all elementary schools, the federal pwgram
serves 95 schools in 46 school systems throughout the state.

Riley said he will not support funding culs for the state’s initiative.

"The budget I’m sending not only says not to cut funding for reading~ but to increase
it," he said.

Spellings noted that the reading initiatives combined have helped raise reading test
scores. Alabama posled the highest gains in fourth-grade reading last year on ll~e
National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the nation’s report card.

"When we looked at the NAEP scores, we thought, "This has to be a mi~ake,’" she
said. "Your reading scores stand out in the nation."
Morton said despite the fimding cuts this year, A!abama is on the right track.

"We aren’t where we w~mt to be, but we are making great progress," he said. "Alabama
is never going back. It’s only upward from here."

Spellings also discussed the No Child Left Behind legislation, which was up
reauthorization last year but wasn’t reauthorized. She said the act needs to be tweaked,
and she hopes it comes up for reauthorization this year.

Child Left Behind is here *o stay. It does not expire," Spellings said. "But it’s not
probIem-frec."

Rep. Mac Gibson, R-Prattville, said he thinks Congress should offer states more money
for No Child Left Behind requirements.

"I think "the reds could have helped a little more finm~cialty ibr what they warn us to
do," he said.
Morton said he thinks Alabama is better off for having the law. Before, the state
averaged test sco~es based on all studenls. The law requires states to break students into
subgroups based on race, income leve! and special education.

The new data allow educators to see how well every student performs and what groups
of students need improvement.

Spellings told state officials Friday that Alabama is one of just nine states ~o reduce the
performance gap between v,’hite and Hispanic students, to which the room broke out in
applause.
WSFA NBC-TV - Hontgomery~ Ala,

U.S. Secretary of Education in Hontgomery to Support Alabama No


Child Left Behind Program

Posted: Feb :~, 2008 02:J3 PM EST


Updated; Feb 1, 2008 03:1~- PM EST
New information today on the No Child Left Behind
program in Alabama.

U,S. Secretary ofEducation Margaret Spellings and Alabama


Governor Bob Eifey held an educardon policy roundtable on
Friday morning to discuss the No Child Left Behind and
priorities for 2008,

Spellings spoke with lawmakers and leaders about how the


fecleral government can partner with the state and districts
to support innovation and get every child on grade level or better.

Governor Riley will address the legislature next week,

He says he’ll ask for more funding -- not a cut -- For the program.
Washington Post

D.C. School Closings List Is Revised

]By Theala Labb~ and David Nakamura, Washington Pose Staff Writers

Saturday, February 2, 2008;

D.C. Mayor Adrian M. FenW and Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee gave a reprieve
yesterday to six schools originally targeted in their school closing plan but added four
new ones to the list.

Added are Benning Elementary and Merrill Middle in Northeast, both o:t’whM~ would
close in Jtme, and Garnet-Patterson Middle and Park View Elementary’ in Northwest,
which would ctose by 2011 or later, the mayor said.

The schools no longer on the list are Bruce-Monroe Elementary in Northwest mad John
Burroughs and Smothers elementaries in No~xheast; Ronald H. Brown Middle and
Brovme Middle, both in Northeast, and Shaw Middle in Northwesl.

Fenty and Rhee said the revised plans were the result of hours of public cormnents from
nine meetings and 23 public hearings since November. During those sessions, they were
commended tbr seeking to pare down excess space in the 49,600-student school system,
and they v-ere the object of protests from parents who said the administration had
overlooked safety issues and failed to consider t.he strength of academic progrmns.

The revised list ~’etqects public feedback on the proposal bul ’also is the result of Rhee’s
reexamination of the plan, said spokeswoman Mafara Hobson.

Fenty and Rhee did not give detailed reasons lbr adding or subtracting a school from the
list. City education leaders previously have said that student enrollment and population
trends were factors in the decision.

Unlike preceding school leaders, who proposed staggering closures over the next decade,
Fenty and Rhee are sticking to their plmas to shul 23 schools within a few years. Sixteen
schools would close in June and seven closings would be spread over the next few years,
Fenly said yesterday. More than 5,300 students attend the closing schools.

Officials have not announced what will happen to lhe schools, but Fenty said: "We will
keep all the schooIs within the inventory of the D.C. government. We don’t intend to sell
any of them."

The revised plan drew flesh ire from parents with children at schools added to the li~t.

Yveue Moore, 4t, who graduated li’om Merrill, as did her two older children, said she
was considering set, cling her third child there but found it "amazing" to see the school on
the 1o-be-closed list. She said it seems the school is being judged because of a few poorly
performing sludenls.
"I know a couple of kids are having some issues, but I’m still puzzled. It seems like mosl
kids are doing okay," she said.

She said she does not like the idea of sending her son to Ronald H. Brown Middle
School, the designated transfer school,, which she said is irt a dangerous neighborhood
and is too !:at away ±br her son to walk there.

"With all the violence I’ve heard and seen on the news in that area -- Merritt wasn’t
having that type of violence," she said.

In an inte~’iew, Rhee said the revisions were more the result of individual arguments she
heard in private meetings with parents and others than large community gatherings and
demonstrations.

"None of the changes were driven by people coming out to big meetings," Rhee said.
"The way that was more productive was when small groups came to me and said, ’Here
are otlr concerns, here are our. ideas.’ "

For example, after D.C. Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) and neighborhood
leaders said Shaw’s large campus could be a community resource, Rhee reversed course
a~ad proposed closing Garnet-Patterson instead of Shaw. Shaw’s large athletic IMds, she
said, could attxact students looking for activities and cut do’~’~n on truancy.

But Florence IIarrnon; ,~m advisoD’ neighborlmod corrm~issioner in the West End/Foggy
Bottom neighborhood: where Stevens Elementary is located, said her arguments against
closing the school went unheeded when she ,ne~ with Rhee. Harmon said she cited its
academic programs and historical importance to the co~mmmity as the first school for
freed slaves.

"They made the decision completely on enrollment They didn’t take into account the
quality of the educational programs, because if they did, Stevens would still be open,"
Harmoa said.

"I-he new proposal calls for Bem~ing students to move to Smothers Elementary in
Northeast, while students from Merritt would go to Ronald H. Brown in Northeast. In
Northwest, students from Garnet-Patterson would attend Shaw, m~d Park View students
would attend Bruce-Monroe. All four receiving schools had been on the closing list
proposed in Novembey but were taken off under the new plan.

A public hearing on the proposal is set for 6 p.m. Feb. 27 at McKinley Technology High
School in Northeasl.

Council members, who criticized Fenty and Rhee for not consulting with them b¢tbre
releasing their original proposal, were personally briefed by Rhee and Fenty on Thursday.

"Obviously it was difficult from the beginning because of a lack ol’communication, but
the process got better as we went along," said Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D). "This
sends a message that [the administration was] flexible."
Although council member Jim Graham (D-Ward I ) said he was glad that Bruce-Monroe
and Shaw in his district were spared, he said he would fight for Park View m~d Garnet-
Patterson. "The squeaky wheel, the schools told that they were going to close, were
obviousIy very convincing," he said. "We’re going to make our case."

Park View is an anchor of the neighborhood, he said, and Garnet-Patterson was the first
African American junior high school in the city.

Council member Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5) said he still ,,’,’ants Rhee to take Bunker
Hill Elementary and Backus Middle of the list and also M.M. Washington because it is
the city’s only vocational high .school.

Thomas, who has pushed for more inclusion in the process~ said he felt more "optimistic"
about being heard by Rhee and Fenly.

"They kept us in the loop a lot better than they did before," he said.

Thomas said that will not deter him from going fota,~,ard with legislation that would
require more input from the public on school closures and council oversight of the
disposal ofschoo! property.

Staff writers Michelle Boorstein, Nikita Stewart and Debbi Wilgoren contributed to this
report.
Washington Pos~

Editorial

Narrowing the Gap

Montgomery school programs are getting the job done.

Saturday, February 2, 2008; A14

WHEN JERRY D. Weast took the helm of Montgomery County public schools, he issued
a harsh wake-up call. The top-notch school system was overlooking children of color and
those from low-income families; the resulting gap in achievement between underserved
students and white, better-off students was intolerable. Mr. Weast’s progress in narrowing
the gap is dear-cut and should serve as a template for action among schools struggling to
improve student achievement.

The latest validation of the strategy M,. Weast pursued these past nine years comes in a
recent report from the County Council’s office of oversight. Not only did the system
make substantial progress in closing the achievement gap, it did so while raising
performance overall. Every group of students, including African Americans, English-
language learners and special education students, posted gains on statewide reading and
math tests given in third, fifth and eighth grades. That meant, for example, an increase in
reading proficiency from 48 percent to 73 percent for black flair&graders and an increase
from 40 percent to 75 percent for Hispanics. Some of the most dramatic gains occurred in
fine early grades, such as the spurt in black kindergartners who are abIe to read at grade
level to an impressive 90 percent in 2007.

The improvement in the early grades is not a coincidence, given that d~ese are the
students who have benefited most from such seh0ol retbrms as all-day kindergarten and
smaller class sizes. the students referred to as "Jerry’s kids," who were in kindergarten
when the programs were launched, are nov,, in the seventh grade, and it well be interesting
to see how they fare in the troublesome middle-school years.

To be sure. the achievement gap hasn’t been eliminated~ and critical issues still face the
t 37,000-student system. There are areas where, as the report notes, results have been
mixed and a few where the system has lost ground. It’s worrisome, for instance, that more
minority students are being suspended, are dropping out, or are being identified as
needing special education. School officials say they are aware of these shortcomings and
are working on remedies.

The unusual council review irked some school officials, who saw it as redundant, given
the system’s own analyses, and even as an intrusion on the authority of the elected school
board. Certainly, the council shouldn’t overstep its limits, but it has a right to assess the
success of programs it funds. Indeed, ~hat such a positive picture emerges from a tough
outside review should only help in securing the resources to complete Mr. Weast’s ct’dt to
action.
The New York Times

February. 2, 2008

YOUR MONEY

If It’s Tuesday., It Must Be Spanish

By HILLARY CHURA

CONVENTIONAL ~4sdom says it is never too early for children to learn a foreign
language. But conventional wisdom predates the days ofpwing someone to teach your
child another tongue.

"The marketplace has parents totally bmnboozled," said Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, co-
author of "Einstein Never Used Flashcards: How Our Children Really Lem~ -- mid Why
They Need to Play More and Memorize Less" (Rodale Books, 2003) and "How Babies
Talk: The lVlagic and Mystery- of Language in the First Three Years of Life" (Dutton,
1999). "Being irmnersed in the language and riving within it are what lead to language
learning, not 20 minutes of exposure to a limited set of vocabulary and sentence
structnres or attendance at a weekly one-hour Spanish class."

An increasing nmnber of kaneric.ma parents fluent in a foreign language, as well as their


English-only counterparts, wmat their children 1o be bilingual if not multilingual. While
no one knows how much is spent in totat on games, books, DVDs, online tools and
foreign-language baby sitters, the amount can easily reach thousands of dollars a year per
toddler. That counts tutors who charge $70 an hour, classes Ibr $50 a week, foreign au
pairs who can cost $I 6,000 a year and annual tuition at private immersion schools that
charge $20,000 for nine months of study.

And this does not include the outlay to retain a language as a child ages.
Laurie Dlugos-Schweik of Aurora, I11., plays songs in French mad Farsi for her 10:month-
old son, Matthew, and has her mother speak to him in Polish. Ms. Dlugos-Schweik, who
says she is proficient in French, studied Spanish and Latin in school and heard Polish
growing up, plans to enrol! Matthew in French class after he turns 2.

"The thinking is that by exposing a child at an early age to a different language you
create the pathway in ~e brain t})r them to learn a full language later in life at an easier
and accelerated pace allan a child without any expos~are," she said. "Since Matthew is not
speaking yet, I have no idea what impact it is having, but I figure it can’t hurt."
The most effective way for children to learn another language is through a parent or
caregiver, in an imrnersion school or even IMng abroad, say linguists, language teachers
and bilingual parents.

Ms. Oolinkoff said preschool classes in a foreign langnage ever3’ day might be effective
but only if parents backed thai up with books in the language or hired a baby sitter who
spoke the language. Popular once-a-week classes, she said, do nothing more than train the
ear -- at best.
To really learn a foreign language, children retest spend 30 percent of their waking time
exposed to it, said Christina Bosemark, founder of the Multillt~gual Children’s
Association in San Francisco, which guides parents rearing multilingual chil&en. She
said ehildre~ with less contact migl~t understand a language, but tl~eir ability to speak it
correctly would be hindered. Nonetheless, limited exposure as Sables or toddlers could
help if children study the language later, she aaid.

Brenda and Josepla Mirsky of New York ertrolled their 3-year-old son, Zack, in a 30-
week Spanish-language arts and crafts class. Mrs. Mirsky said she was unsure how much
Zack gel from it, but she said she would have said the same thing at that age about her
daughter, Lauren, nm,~- 6. From the time she was a baby to 3 years, Lauren went to
weekly Spanish classes. Now, with Spanish and French iristruction twice a week at her
elementary school, Lauren sings in Spm~ish and knows some greetings, numbers and
colors, her mother said.

"She’s doing great in Spanish. She loves it," Mrs. Mirsky said. As ti)r French, which
Lauren did not study as a baby, "she doesn’t say much about it."

Language teachers, linguists and scientists refer to the so-called critical period, the te~der
years when children most easily pick up languages. Opinions vary, with some experts
saying the cutoffends at 2, 3, 5, 7 or 13.

Michael Kandei and Darryl Wong adopted their daughter, Chloe Kandel-Wong, from
China in 2002. In 2006, the couple, who live in Douglaston, Queens, enrolled Chloe in a
$1,000-a-year Mandarin class. With no knowledge of Chinese herself and none fi’om her
parents: Chloe lasted less than a year.

’;We call our daughter the youngest Chinese-school dropout," Mr. Kandel said. He said
that he realized the lessons were not going to be productive because he and his wife were
not going to be able to ~einforce the language at home.

Language teachers say outside interaction -- play dates in the language, additionN
classes, hearing parents read (even if they are not fluent) -- is s, ital, especially if a child’s
primau exposure comes in periodic bursts.

"’The more you listen, the more you talk, the more you are exposed to a language; the
better it is. It’s like anything else ~ tennis, golf, the violin," said Yolanda Borrfis,
program director of Musical Kids International in New York, which teaches music in
Spanish, French, Korean and llcbrew. "A pianist who works one hour a week won’t be as
good as a pianist who works 40 hours a week."

Ms. Borrfis said that even ifa child did not know m~y foreign words at the end of a
progrmn, the effort had not necessarily been a waste. They should have picked up a
language’s cadence and phonetics as well as the concept that other cultures and languages
exist.
"This is a society that wants instant rewards, instant results. It’s not realistic to expect a
child to speak a language after .30 hours ofins~-uction over a school year when they
spend their first two years of life without saying a word," Ms. Borrfis said.

Strict classroom training is wasted on the pre-5-year-old set, according to educators who
say that toddlers are more inclined to chew on a doll’s head than point m "la tare." Still,
T. Bert7 Brazelton, the child development guru and author, said chil&en as young as 3
might be well suited to language class -- but only if they want to be tl~ere. Parents, lie
said, often steer their offspring into what they themselves find interesting raffler than
what the child enjoys.

Wtfile many mothers, fathers and grandparents fixate on languages thei~ children do not
know, Ms. Golinkoff says they should lighten

"It is true that children are best at learning a foreign language before the age of 5," she
said. ~’But it’s not like you can’t learn a foreign language later."

Susan Belnens, associale professor of communication sciences and disorders at


Ma.D’n~ount Manhattan College, cautioned against pushing a child into any activity,
language or otheiavise.

"They say kids are like a sponge and can learn anything, but you can also turn them off
easily," she said. "lf you introduce a language in the spirit of play and being embedded in
their daily li~,es, you’re going to be much more successful than if you say, ’O.K., you’re
going to class now.’ ’"
Private- Spellings, Margaret
From; McLane, Katherine
Sent: Thursday, March 15, 201:)7 8:35 AM
To: Pdvate - Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Colby, Chad; Dunn, David;
Evers, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Hataska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Lenders,
Angola; Maddox, Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar, Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; TUcker, Sara
Martinez; Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; Tracy
Young; Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Quesinberry, Elaine; Farris, Amanda; Conaty, Joseph; ’scott_m._stanzel@who.eop.gov’; Ditto,
Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terreli, Julie; Yudof, Samara
Subject: Oversight Is Set For Beleaguered U.S. Reading Program (NYT)

Oversight Is Set For Beleaguered U,S. Reading Program (NYT)


By Diana Jean Schemo
The New York Times, March 15, 2007
WASHINGTON, Ma~ch 14 - Under attack for improprieties uncovered in its showcase literacy program for tow-income
children, the Department of Education will convene an outside advisory committee to oversee the program, known as REading
First, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said Wednesday.
Facing tough questions at a hearing before a Senate subcommittee considering appropriations for the Bush
adminislration’s signalure education law, known as No Child Left Behind, Ms. Spellings also promised to clean up the reading
program in olher ways.
In about a half dozen reports in recent months, the department’s inspeclor general detailed irregularities in the program,
which awards $1 billion a year in grants 1o states to buy reading materials and teacher training. The reports also found that
federal officials overlooked conflicts of interest among private contractors who advised states applying for the grants. Ms.
Spellings said her office’s general counsel would examine the records of contractors accused of conflicts of interest, and remove
those with actual conflicts from any role in the program.
Her promises came as Reading First faces growing attacks while heading for reaulhorization. Representative David R.
Obey, Democrat of Wisconsin and chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said this week that the problems with the
program "make it even more difficult to persuade a number of people, including me, to vote to renew programs like No Child Left
Behind," of which Reading First is a part.
Acknowledging lhal "there’s certainly room for improvement" in Reading First, Ms. Spellings told the Senate panel
Wednesday that her department had removed the program’s Ieaders; expanded its staff to seven employees from two, to reduce
its reliance on so many private contractors with the potential for conlqicts; and accepted all the recommendations of the
department’s inspector general.
"I’d hate to throw the baby out with the bathwater," the secretary said, adding that despite the problems, the program was
improving reading among poor children.
At Wednesday’s hearing, Senator Tom Harkin, the Iowa Democrat who is the subcommittee’s chairman, said he, too, was
disturbed by the accusations against Reading First. "It has an odor that I don’t like," Mr. Harkin said. But he said he was not
considering eliminating financing.
Nler Ms. Spellings left the headng, Robert Slavin of Johns Hopkins University, whose Success for All reading program was
shut out of many states under Reading First. said he did not think the secretary’s promises went farenough. "1 haven’t seen the
slightest glimmer of even intention to change," Dr. Stavin said.
Because schools had already chosen 1heir readng curriculums, promises Io clean up Reading First now meant lillle, he
said. He compared lhem to finding eight innings into a baseball game with a score of 23 to 0 that the opposing team had been
playing with cork bats.
"Then they say, ’From now on, we’re using honest bals.’ ~ Dr. Slavin said. ’Tin sorry, it’s 23 to nothing. You can’t just say,
’From now on.’"
Reading First was required by law to finance only reading programs backed by "scientifically based reading research," and
the Education Depadment was prohibited from mandaling or even endorsing specific curriculums. But the program has been
plagued by accusations that stales were steered toward a handful of commercial reading programs and testing instruments.
With only two Education Department employees in charge of the vast program, lhe administralion relied largely on private
con[radors to advise states on their applications for grants, screen products for scientific validity and weigh applications. The
inspector general found that several of lhese contractors wrote reading programs and testing inslruments that were competing
for money, and that they gave preference to products to which they had ties.
Ms. Spellings has maintained, and said again under questioning Wednesday, that the problems with Reading First
occurred before she became education secretary.
She denied accusations from a former political appointee at the department, Michael Petrilli, who said she had essentially
run Reading First from her post as domestic policy adviser at [he White House. Mr. Petrilli is now a vice president at a nonprofit
educalion research foundation. Asked about Madison, Wis., where educators gave up $2 million in Reading First money becaL~se
lhey would have had to drop a so-called balanced literacy reading program that they said had been successful for the district,
Ms. Spellings said she was unfamiliar with the padiculars of Madison’s reading program. But she defended Reading First’s
ground rules under her predecessor, Rod Paige, saying the program did not exclude specific reading curriculums, but intended
only to ensure that they were backed by research.
Privat~e~ Spellings, Marg_a_ ret
McLane, Katherine
Monday, February 26, 2007 8:49 AM
Private - Spellings, Margaret; Conaty, Joseph; Farris, Amanda; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs,
Kerri; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terretl; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich,
Holly; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Mcni!:l:, Townsend L; Mesecar, Doug; Pitts,
Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert,
Kent; Toomey, Liam;-l’racy Young; Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof,
Samara
Subject: IG again slaps ED for wrongdoing in Reading First program (Education Daily)

In a letter of response, Deputy Secretary Ray Simon said ED agrees that, "at the RLAs, Depadment officials could have
and should have done more to clarify l:hat the Department was not promoting or endorsing specific reading programs, maledafs,
assessment instruments or models of instruction." But Simon added that the department doesn’t agree [ully with IG’s findings
because it neglected to consider the conferences’ positive impacl on lhe program.
IG again slaps ED for wrongdoing in Reading First program (Education Daily)
By Kris Kitto
Education Daily, February 26, 2007
The Education Department unlawfully promoted specific reading curricula and a reading assessment test when laying the
groundwork for the $I billioma*year Reading First Program, according to an Office of Inspector General audit released late last
week.
Auditors combed through comments from Reading First conference participants and e-mails from ED personnel to
determine thai the department showed favoritism toward certain reading programs, such as Direct Instruction and Open Court,
from the time the national program launched in 2002.
¯ The audit focuses on the department’s Reading Leadership Academies, three conferences held shortly afler the program
was authorized through the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act. The academies were intended to help state administrators
implement programs founded on scientifically based reading research, but several portions of the conferences seemed like
targeted prDmotions to many attendees.
’1 felt like it was simply a push for a national curriculum," reads one attendee comment ciled by the audit. "1 think I’!1 go buy
shares in Open Court!" The audit is the fifth in a six-pa~t IG series thai: has embroiled a program otherwise heralded as a
substanLial effort to make strides in literacy among at-risk children.
It also found that ED seemed to encourage use of the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Eady Literacy Skills Assessment Test in
conference materials.
Bob Slavin, chairman of the reading-based school reform model Success For All and one of the original complainants to IG,
said the audit confirmed what many people in the industry already knew.
Any vindication Slavin may reef, 1hough, is outweighed by the time lag that now prevents the possibility of a just solution,
he said.
"What’s discouraging about this.., is thal at the lime when these issues were first brought up, it was possible to have done
something,’ Slavin said, explaining he had repealed meetings with ED officials to express his concerns. Those meetings fell on
deaf ears; he said, forcing him to take his complaint to fG in June 2005.
The program’s money has now been allocated, he said, making it difficult to correct ED’s influence on Reading First
curricula,
In a letter of response, Deputy Secrelary Ray Simon said ED agrees that, "at the RLAs, Departmenl officials could have
and should have done more lo clarify that the D~padment was not promoling or endorsing specific reading programs, malerials,
assessment instruments or models of inslcruction."
Bul Simon added that lhe depadment doesn’t agree fully with IG’s findings because it neglected to consider the
conferences’ positive impacl on the program.
The audit also examined the Reading Firsl Web site and an April 2002 guidance book, finding that both were in compliance
with the law.
_.p__.rivate -~Spel!in~s, Margaret_..
From: katherine mclane ,, _ .............
Sent: Thursday, May 10, 2007 6:41 AM
To: Oldham, Cheryl; Conklin, Kristin; Schray, Vickie; Dunckel, Denise; Shaw, Terd; Sampson,
Vincent; Quarles, Karen; Bannerman, Kristin; scott m. stanzel@who.eop.gov; jeanie_s.
_mamo@who.eop.gov; Manning, James; Beaten, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey;
Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David; Dorfman, Cynthia; Evers, Bill; Kuzmich, Holly;
La Force, Hudson; Landers, Angela; MacGuidwin, Katie; Maddox, tauten; Private- Spellings,
Margaret; McGrath, John; Mesecar, Doug; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; rob Saliterman;
Yudof, Samara; Scheessele, Marc; Hataska, Terrell; loner, Jana; Menitt, Townsend L;
Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Zeff, Ken
Subject: Spellings Faces Student Loan Questions (AP)

Spellings Faces Student Loan Questions


By NANCY ZUCKERBROD
The Associated ~ress
T.hursday, [Jay i0, 2007; 4:18 AM
WASHINGTON -- Education Secretary Margaret Spellings says she’s prepared to defend her
agency from criticism that it failed to address conflicts of interest in the student loan
industry and in a reading program for young children.

"Not only are we not asleep at the switch, but we are very much aL the helm and managing
o~r business,"
Spellin~s said in ~n Associated Press interview Wednesday, a day before she was to testify
before a House cc.mn~J.ttee.

Spellings was referring to a recent comment by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who
said the department was "asleep at the switch" when it came to overseeing the student loan
industry.

Cuomo has led an investigation into the $85 billion industry that has turned up evidence
that some colleges reoeived a percentage of loan proceeds from lenders given preferred
status by the schools e practice Cuomo ualls "kickbacks." Cuomo mlso said some college
loan officers received--gifts from ]ende]-s to encourage them to steer borrowers their way.

On Wednesday, the House overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan bill that would ban gifts from
lenders to schools and impose strict controls on schools that pub].ish approved lender
lists to guide students to certain ]can companies.
Spellings said she has asked an Education Department task force to come up wirh
recommendations for new regulations to better protect, against conflicts of inzerest
between schools or school offJda!s and lenders.

The proposed regulazions wil! include a requirement of at leas~ thr~e lenders on any
school’s preferred-lender list, together with an explanation of how and why they were
chosen. The rules also will spell out what is allowed and what is p~hibited with regard
to inducemen=s from lenders to schools, Spellings said.

In addition :o facing questioning about the student loan ir~dustry, Spellings is expected
to be asked b’i lawmakers ~hursda.v about a No Child Left Behind reading program, Reading
First, that has been criticized for conflicts c.[ .~nt.ere..~ and mismanagement.

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