Arizona online reading portal subject of legal battle

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Uncertainty over who’s in charge of a state-mandated online reading portal has thrown the program’s future into question, according to reports.

The $40 million program, called Move on When Reading, requires all school districts to submit a comprehensive reading plan that tackles instruction and intervention for kids in kindergarten through third grade by Oct. 1. State funding is then allocated for the customized interventions.

But an ongoing war between the Arizona Department of Education and the state Board of Education — as well as a legal battle — initially prevented the online portal from going live, the Arizona Daily Sun reported.

The Department of Education had refused to set up the portal, the Sun reported.

Michael Bradley of the state Education Department said in an email that the responsibility to get the portal online fell to Board of Education authorities.

But Greg Miller, president of the board, shot back that state officials have maintained the portal for years, according to the Sun.

“This issue is part of the ongoing legal disagreement,” Bradley wrote to Miller, referring to a continuing court case to establish authority over the portal.

Bradley, in a statement to StateScoop, said that the department doesn’t want to interrupt the process and said the site has been live since last week.

“Traditionally the Move on When Reading online portal opens as the new school year starts so there has been no delay,” he said. “It has never been our intent to delay this process.”

Bradley added that he is confident that if “cooler heads prevail at the state Board of Education, we can reach an amenable intergovernmental agreement with the staff there to continue the administration of the program.”

The state Board of Education regulates the conduct of the public school system. It is composed of eleven members appointed to four-year terms by the governor as well as an elected superintendent of public instruction, who allots funds to schools and executes policies decided by the board, according to an agency spokeswoman. The superintendent also directs the Education Department.

Reach the reporter at corinne.lestch@fedscoop.com or follow her on Twitter @clestch.

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Arizona, Big Data, Data Analytics, Education & STEM, Greg Miller, Innovation, Michael Bradley, Move on When Reading, State & Local News, States, Tech News
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