Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Gates and AIR

American Institutes for Research (AIR)

AIR's mission statement reads, "AIR's mission is to conduct and apply the best behavioral and social science research and evaluation towards improving peoples' lives, with a special emphasis on the disadvantaged."

Why are we hiring a social science research company rather than an academic testing company?

Could it be because of the ties to Bill Gates, who has committed 5 BILLION DOLLARS to Common Core,  has AIR involved in his many education projects? "The National Evaluation of High School Transformation is a collaborative effort between the American Institutes for Research and SRI International.
This work, which began in 2001, is supported through funding by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation."

AIR takes the view that large populations of children are mentally ill, "...One in five children and adolescents (20 percent) have a diagnosable mental health disorder."

AIR takes the position that it is not local or parental, but a "public health issue" to test and assist "disadvantaged" children defined as "mentally ill" and LGBTQ2 (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Two-Spirited).

In a brief funded by AIR and others, AIR takes a dim view of conservative churches and rural communities which they feel are discriminatory to LGBTQ2 and make the suggestion that parents with gay children find gay friendly churches.

They also make the suggestion that girls who once were labeled "tomboys" and were allowed to grow up and become who they become instead be labeled as "transgender" and sent to counseling to help them learn about their new identity.

We have been told that AIR won the testing contract fair and square, but an article in the S.L. Tribune caused some to wonder, "The American Institutes of Research is a Washington D.C.-based not-for-profit. It's the only organization already delivering statewide adaptive tests approved for use under federal education law, which requires all states to give end-of-year tests to hold schools accountable, said Martell Menlove, state deputy superintendent."

The article states that the bid was for 39 Million Dollars, money that many feel would be better used for teacher pay, books and supplies in the classroom.

Can we be sure that Utah School Children will be tested only on academics when AIR's focus is phychometric and behavioral research? State Board members have said that, "Our children will be tested on academics." However, in a bill that was held in committee, SB69 you can read in the paragraph about the new computer adaptive testing that will be administered by AIR, on line 66:
66 (d) the use of student behavior indicators in assessing student performance;
So, even if SBOE aren't aware of the psychological profiling aspects of the testing, someone who helped write this bill felt it important to include this aspect in the written statute that would govern assessments.

Do State Board members understand the scope of Computer Adaptive Testing? We have been told that a 15 parent panel will review the questions. This will be a daunting number of questions.

Please do your homework and then write our Governor, legislators and school boards. Get us out of Common Core testing, data mining, textbook adoption and tax waste

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Gorbachev, Communism & Environmentalism...

What was the first thing Mikhail Gorbachev did after the Berlin Wall came down and he was out of office? Do you know? He joined the environmental movement. Why? There is nothing that destroys private property rights faster.

In January 1990 during an address to the Global Forum on Environment and Development for Survival, President Mikhail Gorbachev (the former President of the USSR) brought up the idea for an organisation that would apply the medical emergency response model of the International Committee of the Red Cross to ecological issues and expedite solutions to environmental problems that transcend national boundaries. 

Green Cross International is an environmental organisation founded by former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1993, building upon the work started by the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Green Cross International's mission is "to help ensure a just, sustainable and secure future for all by fostering a value shift and cultivating a new sense of global interdependence and shared responsibility in humanity's relationship with nature.

For the next little while AGENDA: Grinding America Down is available to watch for free online. Please do.