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 http://le.utah.gov/~2013/bills/sbillint/SB0069.htm 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