On Reading First


The Board of Directors of the International Reading Association (IRA) deplores the ethics violation and intentional mismanagement that occurred in the administration of the Reading First program by the U.S. Department of Education as detailed in the Final Inspection Report issued by the Office of the Inspector General. It is essential that all laws and regulations be adhered to in the administration of this program in order to implement it successfully, to protect its integrity among educators, and to ensure its continued public support.

Despite the serious flaws in the administration of Reading First, we recognize and commend the many hardworking teachers and administrators in U.S. schools and state departments of education who have worked diligently to implement sound and successful Reading First programs. We recognize the recent evidence showing that, despite the administrative mismanagement detailed in the Inspector General’s report, Reading First has been valuable in supporting the academic growth of students and the professional development of teachers (Center on Education Policy; Reading First Implementation Evaluation: Interim Report).

To ensure that Reading First is as successful as possible in improving reading achievement throughout the nation, the IRA Board of Directors (1) encourages the Attorney General to investigate whether criminal law has been violated in the mismanagement of Reading First and to bring appropriate indictments of any individuals who have violated these laws; (2) requests the Secretary of Education to develop and make public rigorous administrative procedures and establish new partnerships with professional organizations to ensure that the intent of this legislation is fully realized; and (3) asks Congress to reauthorize Reading First with clearer guidance on the roles and responsibilities of the Department of Education and of the states and local education agencies.


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For additional information on positions or policies of the International Reading Association, contact the Public Information Office.

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