June 2nd, 2003

Report Card: Reading First

Why would one school district turn its back on $265,000 in federal money, while a neighboring district was jumping at the chance to get $330,000? The answer lies in the details of the federal program, “Reading First.”

George W. Bush enacted the “Reading First” program which provides nearly one billion dollars to improve reading in schools with large numbers of poor children. To get the money, states and schools must pledge to use scientific’ approaches to teaching reading.

The administration demanded results.  As then-US Secretary of Education Rod Paige said, “We’re not going to fund failure.” Supporters called this common sense, while opponents claimed that the oversight was unprecedented federal interference into local schools.

(Originally aired June 2, 2003)

This program is made possible by the following funders:
Grade Level Reading Fund of the Tides Foundation, The Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki Foundation, The Wallace Foundation, and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

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