The scariest company making millions of dollars from the Delaware Department of Education is not who you would think. It’s not Pearson, or Amplify, or even the Rodel Foundation. It is a company which has been a part of education policy longer than Common Core was even an idea. This company sowed the seeds for No Child Left Behind and they even helped to tear down one of Bill Gates original education reform agendas. This company is American Institutes for Research, otherwise known as AIR.
AIR is the contracted vendor to create and distribute the Smarter Balanced Assessment, the state standardized assessment in Delaware. But they have been around in Delaware since long before this. They were also the testing vendor for the Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System (DCAS) in Delaware. To date AIR received over $35 million dollars from the Delaware DOE as per Delaware Online Checkbook. How did Delaware bargain students to such a company?
On the last day of the 147th General Assembly, Delaware Senator Dave Lawson threw out a teaser. It was the controversial Senate Bill 269. What made this bill controversial was that most people didn’t know it even existed. SB 269, if passed, would have eliminated Common Core from Delaware schools and would have prevented any federal, corporate or outside interference with Delaware education. The state would have been free to form its own standards for eduction, unencumbered by the US Department of Education breathing down its neck. As well, this bill would have put a stop to the “longitudinal data” collection by the Delaware DOE and the US DOE.
Will Senator Lawson put this in again? Say he did, and it passed, would Governor Markell ever sign off on it? And what would that do to the Common Core themed Smarter Balanced Assessment. Kudos to Senator Lawson for breathing some fresh air in the legislature. I’m looking for a repeat, and very soon!