WASHINGTON – A scorching internal review of the Bush administration’s billion-dollar-a-year reading program says the Education Department ignored the law and ethical standards to steer money how it wanted.
The government audit is unsparing in its view that the Reading First program has been beset by conflicts of interest and willful mismanagement. It suggests the department broke the law by trying to dictate which curriculum schools must use.
It also depicts a program in which review panels were stacked with people who shared the director’s views, and in which only favored publishers of reading curricula could get money.
In one e-mail, the director told a staff member to come down hard on a company he didn’t support, according to the report released Friday by the department’s inspector general.
No pattern here. Nosir…