For the past couple days I have been emailing the Delaware Department of Education for simple answers to simple questions:
Why does Delaware Online Checkbook show no payments going out to the scoring vendor for the Smarter Balanced Assessment? Is it under a different name than Data Recognition Corporation? If you do not pay them, who does?
I received no responses until I included more names on the email of folks who do not work at the DOE.
From: Kevin Ohlandt <email@example.com>
To: Blowman David (K12) <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Murphy Mark <email@example.com>; “firstname.lastname@example.org” <email@example.com>
Cc: Haberstroh Susan Keene <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Schwinn Penny <email@example.com>; May Alison <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Monday, September 21, 2015 10:38 AM
Subject: Data Recognition Corporation
Good morning all,
I’m not sure who would be able to answer this question, so if none of you are able to could you please forward this to the appropriate party at Delaware DOE to answer this question.
I have looked on Delaware Online Checkbook for any payments sent to the scoring vendor for the Smarter Balanced Assessment, Data Recognition Corporation, and I have seen no payments sent to them which is very unusual. Are payments sent to them under a different vendor name or does American Institutes for Research send them their payments?
From: Kevin Ohlandt [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 10:12 AM
To: Blowman David; Murphy Mark; firstname.lastname@example.org
Cc: Haberstroh Susan Keene; Schwinn Penny; May Alison
Subject: Re: Data Recognition Corporation
I am not sure why anybody is responding to this email. I have found, consistently, when the Delaware DOE does not respond to very specific questions like this, there is something to hide. I can find the answers other ways, but it will not make the Delaware DOE look good. Is there another organization paying for Data Recognition Corp’s services? If so, why?
I’m sure you do not see it this way, but I am actually trying to work with you folks, but when I get no response or vague comments without facts, it speaks volumes.
From: May Alison <email@example.com>
To: Kevin Ohlandt <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Blowman David <david.blowman@DOE.K12.DE.US>; Murphy Mark <Mark.Murphy@DOE.K12.DE.US>; “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: Haberstroh Susan Keene <email@example.com>; Schwinn Penny <Penny.Schwinn@doe.k12.de.us>
Sent: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 12:33 PM
Subject: RE: Data Recognition Corporation
Thank you for your inquiry. To confirm, we received your public information request on Sept. 21. Under the FOIA statute (http://www.doe.k12.de.us/domain/196), the department’s response is due by Oct. 12.
In this case, we have no records in response to your request. The Delaware Department of Education does not have a contract with nor has it made any payments to Data Recognition Corporation.
So there we have it, the Delaware Department of Education has no contract with Data Recognition Corporation. So who does? While in the area I went to the DOE office in the Townsend Building and spoke with Alison May. I reiterated the information she conveyed to me in her email, and she advised me AIR has a sub-contract with Data Recognition Corporation. For those of you who may not be aware, AIR is American Institutes for Research, the actual testing vendor for the Smarter Balanced Assessment in Delaware, along with many other states. AIR pays Data Recognition Corporation to score the very same test they created. Nobody knows how much.
To add insult to injury, Data Recognition Corporation was part of my FOIA request to the Delaware DOE last March. The one where they overcharged nearly $7000.00 based on a legal opinion generated by the Delaware Attorney General’s office when I filed a complaint. At no time during the constant email exchanges between the DOE and myself, and to my knowledge, since it is mentioned nowhere in the response to my FOIA complaint, did they convey this to the Attorney General’s office as well. Six months later we are just now finding out this information.
Stay tuned, because I have a lot more to say about this and the many connections with Data Recognition Corporation and American Institutes for Research. In the meantime, just put American Institutes for Research in the search box on this blog, and tell if you think it is right that this company which has made $38,000,000.00, just in Delaware alone, hires the scorer for their own assessment. The plot thickens…
Interesting FYI: When I went to speak with Alison May, in the Cabinet Room next door there was a meeting. It was the Accountability Framework Working Group. To be a fly in the wall during that meeting…