By Andrew Welsh-Huggins
The Associated Press
COLUMBUS - Gov. Bob Taft says it's time for an analysis of his OhioReads program, which provided hundreds of schools $114 million in taxpayer-funded grants during its first four years.
"We're learning more all the time, what's working, what's not working with OhioReads," Taft said in an interview. "It's now time to really assess the program and make sure we understand why OhioReads is helping where it is helping, and we can provide good solid information to all school districts."
The program has been a priority for the Republican governor since he took office in 1999. He appears in television ads and on billboards to recruit volunteer tutors for schools. He tutors children at a Columbus elementary school.
The grants are generally used to buy reading material and pay someone to coordinate volunteer tutors.
Two analyses of OhioReads data showed slightly different results. One looked at how much scores changed on the reading proficiency test at schools with and without OhioReads grants. The other looked at whether scores changed.
At schools with the biggest OhioReads grants - $30,000 a year for the first two years, usually followed by a $15,000 grant - scores on the fourth-grade reading proficiency test increased an average of 10.8 percent from the 1999-2000 school year through 2001-02, according to an analysis of data by OhioReads.
Scores increased 8.7 percent at schools without grants, the analysis showed. Reading scores for all Ohio fourth-graders rose 9.7 percent during the same period.
Of elementary schools with OhioReads grants, eight in 10 - or 80 percent - saw their reading scores stay the same or rise during the same time, according to a separate analysis by the Associated Press.
Moon takes spin in our shadow
High-tech detectors spot high waters
'Battered wife' charged in shooting
Quiet suburb jolted by neighbor's gun death
Two apartment buildings damaged in Elmwood fire
IN THE TRISTATE
Doll is flat-out amazing teacher
New roads connect ballpark, river, downtown
Northside unsafe, activist says
Beggars won't need to register
Few Heberle pupils test high for lead
Convict guilty of riot murder
Medical service abuse study proposed
Calling top high school seniors
Tristate A.M. Report
PULFER: New money
HOWARD: Some Good News
BUTLER, WARREN, CLERMONT
Builder removes pellets on curbs
Beer OK'd at VOA park festival, but bingo tent denied
2 courts dispute computer report
Clermont to cancel wastewater contract
Evendale blight fight rekindles
Middletown schools offer a choice of building plans
Petition effort called legal
Union Centre Blvd. needs fixing
Legal career over for former municipal judge
Shooting victim had been stalked
Springer to speak at Democratic fund-raiser
Taft: Hone reading program
Mother of abandoned baby sought
Bond revoked for women in case of boys kept in closet
Guards' union delays closing of prison in Lima
$14M lottery jackpot slips away unclaimed
Five to fill expanded rights panel
Man who led stolen-car chase indicted
Third man claims jail beating; his case won't be prosecuted
Poll has Chandler, Fletcher leading
Ky.-based soldier killed in Iraq
Miner buried alive gets out
Attorney general candidates hurl personal attacks
Suspect in dorm death accused of earlier assault