Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Reading scandal (LC vs. UC)

I found this curious item in Education News about the purported Reading First scandal. It appears that the Inspector General findings did not distinguish between "direct instruction" as an instructional method and "Direct Instruction" as a commercial product. Could the real scandal be an inability to distinguish between lower case and upper case on the part of OIG?

Two of the major findings dealt with what the Inspector General considered to be "stacking" of the panels with people who were advocates of Direct Instruction programs." Although not required, the Department developed a process to screen expert review panelists for conflicts of interest; however, the Department's process was not effective. We identified six panelists whose resumes revealed significant professional connections to a teaching methodology that requires the use of a specific reading program" (page 4).The conclusion drawn by Inspector General (see page 17 for documentation that the specific methodology was direct instruction) seems to be based on a misunderstanding of the difference between: 1) a general teaching methodology (direct instruction) that incorporates systematic and explicit teaching and is incorporated into a growing number of instructional programs targeting at-risk populations and 2) a specific group of commercial programs referred to as Direct Instruction programs.

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