You Are Invited:
Monday at Wasatch School District - April 8th at 4:00 p.m.
101 E 200 N Heber City, UT 84032 (435) 654-0280
Presentation on Common Core Assessments:
American Institutes for Research (AIR) Tests
Utah children will be subjected to Common Core tests for the first time this coming school year, to be provided by the behavioral scientists at American Institutes for Research (AIR).
Children in every public and charter school in 46 states will be subjected to AIR's (or SBAC's, or PARCC's) Common Core tests for the first time this coming school year.
So on Monday I will drag myself to hear the Utah State Office of Education leadership speak about the Common Core tests and test company.
I dread Monday. I dread more evidence of how cemented we are becoming into the Common Core via its testing, which is the vehicle for federal and corporate data mining. (Data mining of our children will go into fifth gear as testing begins.)
I dread hearing more lies and misrepresentations by education leaders about the cure-all snake oil of Common Core. Many don't realize that they are lying; they are trusting people who haven't done their own homework and don't even know that the Common Core is an experiment on our kids unsupported by empirical study. In repeating the false phrases that our too-trusting local leadership has been handed by D.C. groups, our locals are guilty, too, of naiively promoting false claims.
I dread experiencing more evidence of my lack of voice as a Utah teacher and as a citizen. I know I will not be allowed to speak Monday. Our local school board does not give local citizens the courtesy of even two minutes' time for a citizen or teacher to stand up and raise concerns. The state school board does allow two minutes per visitor at state meetings. Should I speak anyway, and let them call the police to drag me to jail for exercising my freedom of speech about this important issue? I'm tempted.
But now, about AIR:
I have not done much research on AIR because it's so hidden; it's hard to find out much. I will share what little I have found simply reading the AIR website, the AIR facebook page, and by emailing our state superintendent and board.
Of itself, AIR says: "AIR is one of the largest behavioral and social science research organizations in the world... AIR’s purpose is to conduct and apply behavioral and social science research... with a special emphasis on the disadvantaged... "
So, Utah's using behavioral and social science research --to give math and English tests. And we are going to conduct and apply behavioral research on Utah children, with special emphasis on a disadvantaged group, without causing neglect those lucky enough not to be labeled disadvantaged?
On its website, right under the CEO, the AIR leadership lists Jane Hannaway, Director of the Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research.
Translation: Ms. Hannaway's job is to analyze children's lifelong data, as collected by the state and by the ongoing common core tests.
FYI, this information will be held in the state's longitudinal database system and shared among the many agencies in our Utah Data Alliance --not just education agencies, but workforce and other agencies. And it may be shared federally, too. All without parental consent. Don't believe me? Study it yourself. Read the SLDS grant. Read the Utah Data Alliance press release. Read the Dept. of Ed Cooperative Agreement with other testing consortia. It's all online.
In the leadership hierarchy of AIR, right after the CEO and the Director of Longitudinal Analysis comes a committee of people creating tests. After that committee comes another whole committee to develop education. I am sure this cannot mean developing model curriculum because we were promised that Common Core would be limited to guidelines and standards, and the USOE never lies. Right?
Superintendent Martell Menlove told me in an 2-14-13 email that:
"We will not see each individual test but we will see and review every test item. Every test item, as required in Utah Code will be reviewed by a 15 member parent committee... We will develop an adaptive test that has the main purpose of providing academic achievement data…" -Martell Menlove
State School Board member Joel Coleman wrote to me in an email that "Our children will be tested on academics." So we can expect that the tests will not test psychometrics or behavior-- despite AIR's main focus as behavioral and social science testing research? I hope, I really hope, that's true. But we're already pushing the creepy SHARPE surveys in our local schools. So why wouldn't we add AIR behavioral/psychometric testing?
I asked Mr. Menlove and Mr. Coleman to clarify something else. I wrote:
"I am grateful that the test questions can be read by at least 15 Utah parents. I wish it were more. What still remains unclear is how Utah will avoid the influence of the AIR when the AIR makes the test. I am referring to AIR's mainstreaming of globalism (as opposed to constitutional Americanism); promoting two-spiritedness, transgender, gay and lesbian, and such issues published as priorities on AIR's website."
To this, I did not get a response. Why?
I think it's because AIR really does come with indoctrination strings attached and our leaders don't want to think about it. They must surely have seen that the AIR company website takes the stance that a huge percentage of children are mentally ill and need to be treated that way: "…One in five children and adolescents (20 percent) may have a diagnosable mental health disorder," says AIR.
Utah leaders must surely have noticed that the AIR company also believes that every nation should adopt the same education standards. "We are currently working to benchmark individual state tests to international standards," AIR's site states.
And Utah leaders must have noticed that AIR takes the position that it is not local or parental, but a "public health issue" to test and assist "disadvantaged" children, defined as most children-- the mentally ill (which they call 1/5 of all kids); and the gay, lesbian, transgender, two-spirited, or bisexual. What about math and English? Why are we talking about the disadvantaged in an academic testing setting anyway? Is this more of Obama's redistribution using schools, as outlined in his For Each and Every Child report?
Another issue: test start-up costs are $39 million dollars, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
Why waste money on the socialist AIR company and common core tests, when we need that money for legitimate learning goals, like buying desks and pencils and actual (not Pearson electronic) books and increasing teachers' salaries?
And why is the public being told, rather than asked? After the fact.
One last issue: AIR is partnered with SBAC, George Soros, and many, many, many other groups that I find frighteningly socialistic or anti-American.
Utah did not have to choose AIR. Why did we? Does AIR represent Utah's values or goals? I do not think so.
Please write to our governor, legislators, and school boards. Tell them we want out of Common Core testing, data mining, textbook adoption, and tax waste. Let's get our freedom and local control back.
Here's the state school board's email address: Board@schools.utah.gov
The AIR presentations will be happening statewide. Find your area's scheduled presentation event on the USOE website.
Gary Thompson's response to a question asked about "behavioral indicators"-
In regards to your question "what the term "behavioral indicators" means", it is pretty straightforward and leaves ZERO room for debate:
It means literally everything.
I could write a 4 page single space example sheet of specific indicators, but I will suffice with this:
1. Complete emotional evaluation
2. "Predictive" Testing
3. Academic testing
4. Communication skills
5. Decision Making Compentencies
6. Executive Functioning Abilities
8. Depression, anxiety, dependency, chronic maladjustment, Intra & interpersonal functioning & skills, coping styles
9. I.Q. (Intelligence potential) (e.g., one of the most highly abused and misunderstood measurements by school counselors and school psychologists in light of semi-recent neuropsychological studies).
10. Bizarre thought processes
11. Social discomfort
12. Low Self Esteem
13. Health Related Concerns & Associated anxieties.
14. Sociopathic tendencies
17. Schizophrenia (childhood onset)
20. PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorders)
21. Aptitudes for certain careers
An example of one test we us for our clinic's children (PAI):
" Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI), authored by Leslie Morey, PhD, is a multi-scale test of psychological functioning that assesses constructs relevant to personality and psychopathology evaluation (e.g., depression, anxiety, aggression) in various contexts including psychotherapy, crisis/evaluation, forensic, personnel selection, pain/medical, and child custody assessment. The PAI has 22 non-overlapping scales, providing a comprehensive overview of psychopathology in adults. The PAI contains four kinds of scales: 1) validity scales, which measure the respondent's approach to the test, including faking good or bad, exaggeration, or defensiveness; 2) clinical scales, which correspond to psychiatric diagnostic categories; 3) treatment consideration scales, which assess factors that may relate to treatment of clinical disorders or other risk factors but which are not captured in psychiatric diagnoses (e.g., suicidal ideation); and 4) interpersonal scales, which provide indicators of interpersonal dimensions of personality functioning."
Another example of test we use for our clinic's children (MMPI) (e.g., we figured if it was good enough for the FBI and the FAA, the child's version of the test must be pretty decent..and accurate....it IS very accurate):
I have only scratched the surface. I think, however, you get my point. If "behavioral" indicators listed above are matched up with and integrated with medical data (apparently some Utah public schools in Davis County have medical clinics on site....I don't know), then you have a chilling complete picture of a teen or child. I should have stated earlier that this give you a ALMOST complete and accurate picture of a child or teen.
The missing link for almost complete accuracy is DNA. You add in DNA to list already 90% powerful and accurate test list...well.....it gets booted up to 85-95% accuracy.
If one sentence of a private psychological report we perform that includes most the above listed got "leaked out" without parental consent, our clinic would be shut down immediately. Privacy laws for the private psychology sector are VERY strict, and we spent multiple years of classroom and clinic training to get it right.
Bottom line, at least for myself and my toddler who will be in the Common Core inauguration class of full implementation in 2014? Little Zoey will not be coming any where near a public school setting until privacy issues are specified.
it's almost bad enough that pediatric clinical psychologist have almost God-Like predictive powers when utilizing tests that measure "behavioral tendencies", but the Lead Clinician in our clinic, Dr. Frances Thompson, has 7 years of academic and clinical training in these issues, and our privacy guidelines are anally tight and strict. I will not allow a public school district to have access to this amount of information on my child without my consent. The final kicker? These tests of "behavioral indicators" are so private and intensive in nature, that we have not even utilized them on our own 4 children (ages 2-22) for curiosity's sake. Children deserve to have their private thoughts, feelings and dreams private unless issues in life indicate otherwise. That choice should ONLY be made in conjunction with a parent/guardian with the assistance of a properly trained psychology professional.....of which currently, I do not think Alpine District employes. School psychologist, school counselors, public school teachers, and private testing research firms certainly do not fit that criteria.
The term "behavioral indicators" is about as broad as the Grand Canyon.
I hope this helps. Feel free to call my private cell if you need any clarifications on the issue. Good luck with this whereas I certainly would not want to be in your shoes, or the shoes of the Utah State Board of Educaiton or USOE regarding these issues. The Common Core train has already left the station and is running full speed with hundreds of millions of dollars fueling its acceleration.