Tom Ultican wrote about I-Ready three years ago, and he continues to receive frequent clicks and letters from angry students.

He thinks the deal between Oakland Public Schools and Johns Hopkins University is of dubious value. Hopkins gets the data; students in the Oakland public schools get a curriculum that most will hate.

Ultican notes the connection between I-Ready and Jeb Bush’s Chiefs for Change. More billionaires with big idea to change the schools.

He writes:

The foundation being cited as funding the i-Ready and Johns Hopkins study has assets of more than $600 million. FounderKenneth Rainin was an entrepreneur from Toledo, Ohio who became wealthy manufacturing and selling laboratory pipettes. When he died in 2007, the foundation became the beneficiary of the majority of his estate.

The Rainan Foundation has spent significant sums on advancing its “Seeds of Learning” reading program and the corporate control of public education. As the LittleSis map depicted above shows, the foundation sends large grants both directly and indirectly to billionaire funded “school choice” promoting organizations.

The “Seeds of Learning” program is supposed to improve reading education results through its preschool efforts. The lead story on the foundation’s web page is “Research Show Seeds of Learning Produces Quick Gains.” The research is not peer reviewed or independent. The Kenneth Rainin Foundation has spent more than $3 million for a Chicago company to produce the results. Report briefs are made available but not the study itself.

The dark side of the study is that they are testing 4- and 5-year olds in alliteration, letter naming, letter sounds, rhyming and vocabulary. That is child abuse. This appears to be an amateur created program that ignores the much greater need for babies to engage in self-directed play in safe and stimulative environments. “Seeds of Learning”  is likely more personality damaging than it is helpful for reading.

Amateurs need to stop using their financial power to control education policy.