Congress is working on a $2.4 billion lliteracy bill that would double federal funding for reading, but spend only 35 percent on K-3 programs. Ten percent would go to pre-K, 50 percent to grades 4-12 and 5 percent to state administrators. The bill also puts more stress on teaching writing.
Reading First, now zeroed out, once spent $1 billion per year on K-3 programs.
Russell Gersten, the executive director of the Instructional Research Group, an educational research institute in Los Alamitos, Calif., said he, too, likes the bill’s emphasis on adolescent literacy, because “that’s where the heavy lifting needs to be, and there has not been much attention until recently.”
At the same time, he said he’s concerned that “the knowledge base is so thin in most of these areas, and we are scaling it up based on hopes, wishes, and theories.”
It would be nice to have a strong enough assessment component to be able to tell what’s working and what’s not making any difference.