A scorching internal review of the Bush administration’s billion-dollar-a-year reading program says the Education Department ignored the law and ethical standards to steer money how it wanted.
The government audit is unsparing in its view that the Reading First program has been beset by conflicts of interest and willful mismanagement. It suggests the department broke the law by trying to dictate which curriculum schools must use.
Reading First aims to help young children read through scientifically proven programs, and the department considers it a jewel of No Child Left Behind, Bush’s education law. Just this week, a separate review found the effort is helping schools raise achievement.
This audit confirms that Reading First is yet another example of rampant cronyism within President Bush’s administration. MMSD was wise to stand up to federal blackmail by refusing to abandon its successful elementary reading program.
US Education Secretary Margaret Spelling’s statement. The complete Inspector General report [2.9MB PDF].