February 9, 2009

Cutting reading coaches

Yesterday morning's Lakeland Ledger story on the cutting of reading coaches has a good (if brief) discussion of the issues. While the current economic catastrophe is much worse than any other recession since WW2, this dynamic is a result of the way that schools respond to reform pressures by adding pieces to the school: you hire a special educator, you hire a speech/language therapist, you add vocational education, etc. It's what The Shopping Mall High School described as a curricular centrifuge (my term, not the authors'), but there's another consequence: if pieces can be added, they can be subtracted. This has happened with every wave of dropout-prevention programs since the 1960s: something is added with temporary funding, it remains at the margins of a system, and then after the funding dries up, the program disappears. Reading coaches in Florida appeared and expanded with federal Reading First funding. Reading First is on its way out as a program, and with the funding crisis, so are the reading coaches.

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Tags: budget, dropouts, reading coaches, Reading First
Posted in Education policy on February 9, 2009 9:32 AM |