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.
It also depicts a program in which review panels were stacked with people who shared the director's views, and in which only favored publishers of reading curricula could get money.
Man, is she going to be pissed. When it comes down to her kids, she will go Mama Bear on you.
As, I believe, we all should. And there's more:
Spellings said the problems happened in the early days of the program, which began in 2002, before she was secretary. She said those responsible have left the agency or been reassigned.
About 1,500 school districts have received $4.8 billion in Reading First grants.
The audit found the department:
_Botched the way it picked a panel to review grant applications, raising questions over whether grants were approved as the law requires.
_Screened grant reviewers for conflicts of interest, but then failed to identify six who had a clear conflict based on their industry connections.
_Did not let states see the comments of experts who reviewed their applications.
_Required states to meet conditions that weren't part of the law.
_Tried to downplay elements of the law it didn't like when working with states.
The report does not name Doherty, referring to him as the Reading First director.
It says he repeatedly used his influence to steer money toward states that used a reading approach he favored, called Direct Instruction, or DI. In one case, the report says, he was told a review panel was stacked with people who backed that program.
Great. Just Great.
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