Significant errors and misconceptions – “Billions for an Inside Game on Reading” by the Washington Post

Robert W. Sweet, Jr.

This letter and the enclosure are an appeal to you for help in alerting your readers to significant errors and misconceptions in an article printed in the Post on October 1, 2006 titled “Billions for an Inside Game on Reading” by Michael Grunwald.
He asserted that Reading First grants were awarded to preferred reading programs, and that billions of dollars were misspent because the requirement in Reading First that reading programs be based on “scientifically based reading research” were ignored.
Below is a summary of the essential facts that document the errors and misconceptions that have damaged one of the most effective programs to teach vulnerable children to read. Attached to this letter is a detailed presentation that seeks to correct the record.
It is my hope that you will consider printing a clarification so that the public you serve will know the truth about Reading First.

The MMSD’s omission with respect to Reading First was to support the Superintendent’s rejection of the $2M+ grant without a School Board discussion, particularly in light of the District’s devotion to the expensive Reading Recovery program. 2M is material, even to an organization with an annual budget of $332M+. Much more on Reading First here and Bob Sweet [Interview].