Hello Striving Readers, Goodbye Reading First
Based on percentage of funding increase, the big winner in President Obama’s proposed 2010 education budget is Striving Readers, which is slated to go from $35 million to $370 million.
This program was designed to reach students in grades 4-12 whose literacy skills were significantly below grade level. Such students were not eligible for Reading First, a Department of Education program for students in grades K-3.
Despite repeated budget requests by President Bush to substantially increase funding for the program, as well as a bipartisan effort in Congress to do the same in 2007, funding has increased only modestly since the program’s inception in 2005.
Obama’s plan would eliminate Reading First—which was stung by evidence of cronyism as well as a report issued in November by the DOE’s Institute of Education Sciences that showed no increase in reading comprehension among Reading First students—and transform Striving Readers into a program serving all grades.