“When you are using the test for accountability, you’re not really using it to measure the kid, but you are using it to measure the school or the teacher or the district.” Jon Cohen, President of Assessment at American Institutes for Research
Today we find out the Smarter Balanced Assessment results for Delaware. This test was designed by American Institutes for Research. They also created DCAS. Known as AIR, they are everywhere. Your child is a mere data point to them so they can help states hold schools and districts accountable for their own tests. I first wrote about them at the end of April, and what I found shocked me then. Watch this video, and think of your child taking this assessment.
This is a company who promises Delawareans they will keep your child’s data safe. Which is interesting, considering they can’t do the same for their own employees so how safe is your child’s information? This is a company that proudly boasts on their own website how they delivered 60 millions tests to students this year, including 12 million Smarter Balanced Assessments. But they aren’t just satisfied with American students, they have their paws in international organizations as well with their project called “International Development, Evaluation, and Research”:
IDER is developing a benchmarking tool as part of the World Bank’s System Assessment and Benchmarking for Education Results project that will allow countries to analyze their progress in implementing curriculum based learning standards. The tool will be developed in conjunction with extensive research on the conditions and policies needed to promote standards-based education systems.
I wrote last week about how these assessment developers really operate, and the very dangerous implications it can have for students, especially those with disabilities. But did you know AIR’s founder, John Flanagan, was heavily involved in eugenics experiments to help the “superior” race. You can read about this very sordid past with the practice of eugenics which is defined as:
Eugenics: the science of improving a human population by controlled breeding to increase the occurrence of desirable heritable characteristics. Developed largely by Francis Galton as a method of improving the human race, it fell into disfavor only after the perversion of its doctrines by the Nazis.
In a sense, what the corporate education reformers are doing with education isn’t really different than what the eugenics movement attempted. They are trying to improve the student population by controlled standardization to increase the occurrence of desirable outcomes: the complete destruction of a particular “race” of education: public education. What companies like AIR do is create the conditions and situations for our schools to be seen as “failing” and then set up the method by which to prove it, tests like Smarter Balanced. As seen in the accountability matrices for Delaware, and the fact that future priority and focus schools will be based on these measurements, and they are all based on the Smarter Balanced Assessment, is it any wonder our schools aren’t improving?
Even when states like Florida, who withdrew from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, still used AIR to implement their state assessment, major problems still occurred. So much so that their own Governor issued a findings report on AIR’s psychometric practicalities and the bungling of the test last Spring. That report just came back, but unfortunately Florida’s Governor used education reform companies who are well-connected with their Governor to issue the report. Furthermore, the analysis was done using AIR employees as part of the state’s Technical Advisory Committee. You can read it all here:
This is a company who has their hands in every aspect of education: assessment, turnaround schools, discipline, achievement, academic standards, accountability, teacher evaluation, and more. Aside from a few states, I have not seen AIR mentioned as one of the chief education reform companies, but in my eyes, as well as thousands of others, they are at top of the list. They have received over $1 billion dollars from the US DOE, and in just five years, $38 million from Delaware. What are the results of this companies assessments in our state? What progress has been made? We all know the answer to that. Remember this company and the above video when you hear so much about the Smarter Balanced Assessment today and in the coming weeks. Remember their dark history and their very influential present. Remember they’ve had their hands on Delaware student data for over five years now. And ask yourself, why does this company know EVERYTHING about my child? After you finish reading this article, go to AIR’s website. Peak around, check them out. See how many countries they are involved in. See how many different areas of everyday life they have a direct hand in. Do the research yourself, and if you still don’t have that queasy, unsettling feeling in the pit of your stomach, if you aren’t horrified by this company, then do some more research. Look into all these companies. And ask yourself, how in the world did education ever become about this…