Colorado has spent hundreds of millions to help kids read. Now, it will spend up to $5.2 million to find out why it’s not working.

Ann Schimke:

Floyd Cobb, the state education department’s executive director of teaching and learning, said state officials have always maintained a list of allowable uses for READ Act dollars and asked districts to report broad information about their planned use of the funds. But the state didn’t have the authority to delve into districts’ budget details.

“In the past, there wasn’t any language that outlined that authority,” Cobb said.

“The department does not have data regarding how the [districts or schools] actually used those READ Act per-pupil funds,” state officials wrote in response to a question from WestEd.

But now WestEd will be able to ask districts directly how they used READ Act funding. This authority is so new that state officials advised WestEd that its staff will have to work with districts to figure out how to collect and format the information.

Cobb said the external evaluation “will give a clear picture of how districts are using the funds and will allow for us to understand better which methods are proving to be more successful.”

Related: “The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”