Study: Bias by the Billions in Flawed Ed Program
February 23, 2007 11:16 AM
Justin Rood Reports:
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 with speakers who overwhelmingly preferred products from a handful of educational companies, according to a report released yesterday by the Education Department's inspector 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 think 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 to 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 report found.
Read the rest here, and a different account from Education Week (via Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) here.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
The "Reading First" Story Continues
This is from ABC News: