The AIR Stinks of SAGE
Brian Halladay, Alpine School District Board Member, sent out this email today alerting residents to a meeting next week in the school district. This should be sent to every legislator in the state so they understand what happens when the USOE tells them they are exiting their relationship with SBAC, but then writes an RFP (Request for Proposal) in such a way as to guarantee that only an SBAC related vendor will be selected. At the time we published that tidbit, we were criticized by numerous people at the state office and school board. Then Utah selected AIR and our state superintendent called them the “only organization currently delivering statewide, online adaptive tests approved for ESEA accountability.” Really? There were 13 applicants, and one already being used successfully in Utah. Check out what’s coming down the pike from AIR.
Next Thursday, April 11th, you are invited to participate in the SAGE assessment System presentation at 4pm at the Alpine School District Office Building.
SAGE is the acronym for the common core testing system that will be collecting data from our children.
I think it’s important for all of us to know before the meeting what SAGE is and it’s implications for our children, our privacy, and our school district.
Student Assessment for Growth and Excellence (“SAGE”) is being developed for Utah by the American Institutes for Research (AIR). SAGE is Utah’s comprehensive adaptive assessment system, or the testing mechanism that will replace the CRTs. It is designed to replace and expand UTIPS, and provides the test delivery and administration of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.
So, who is AIR? AIR is not an academic assessment company – it is a behavioral research organization. AIR has been around for over 60 years. Their founder, John Flanagan, a psychologist, started AIR by developing the “critical incident technique” one of the most widely used behavioral methods that is even now used in assessment models today.
In 1960, AIR initiated “Project Talent,” a research project administered by John Flanagan and a group of other behavioral scientists involving 440,000 high school students, collecting information on “aptitudes, abilities, knowledge, interests, activities, and backgrounds” of each student. These questions included questions about “hobbies, organizational and club memberships, dating and work experiences. There were questions about students’ health and about their school and study habits. Students were asked about their fathers’ occupations, parents’ education, financial situations, etc.” One question asked was, “How many children do you expect to have after you marry?” and “How old were you when you first started dating?”
What is AIR doing today? AIR is currently working with multiple partners, including the Department of Education, United Nations, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Open Society Institute (George Soros), to “conduct and apply the best behavioral and social science research evaluation towards improving peoples’ lives, with a special emphasis on the disadvantaged.” AIR prides itself on its ”long history of contributing to evidence-based social change.”
What does this mean for the Alpine School District, or even the State of Utah? In 2012 USOE developed the USOE Technology Standards 2012. One of the standards is to have a network-enabled computing device capable of providing access to the school’s technology resources. A purpose of this is for the understanding “human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.” I don’t think it’s a stretch to think that AIR will be heavily involved with this.
AIR will be developing these assessments, which will include behavioral questions. It’s what they do. One of their primary objectives is to use this data not only in collaboration with other states in relation to common core, but also in collaboration with the United Nations.
With the recent amendments to the FERPA laws, the question becomes what will we as parents do right now to protect the privacy of our children?
Come to the meeting next Thursday at 4pm at the Alpine School District Office Building and get informed!
Thank you Brian for shining the light on this insanity.