Thursday, May 10, 2007

It Just Keeps Coming

More on Reading First from the Boston Herald/Associated Press:

More conflicts disclosed in Reading First program
By Associated Press
Wednesday, May 9, 2007 - Updated: 04:04 PM EST

WASHINGTON - Officials who gave states advice on which teaching materials to buy under a federal reading program had deep financial ties to publishers, according to a congressional report Wednesday.

The report, compiled by Senate Education Committee Chairman Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., details how officials contracted by the government to help run the program were at the same time drawing pay from publishers that benefited from the reading initiative.

Kennedy’s report added new detail to a conflict-of-interest investigation by the Education Department’s inspector general, which earlier had found that the Reading First Program favored some reading programs over others and that federal officials and contractors didn’t guard against conflicts.

The new report focused on four contractors who headed centers that guided states in choosing reading programs aimed at kindergartners through third graders.

It found the contractors "had substantial financial ties to publishing companies while simultaneously being responsible for providing technical assistance to states and school districts." That damaged the integrity of the program and illustrates the need for Congress to act to head off future conflicts, the report concluded.

More here.

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