Tami Hirsch authored and sent this article to me for publishing. Thank you Tami.
At the Alpine School Board meeting on 4/22/2014, I asked JoDee Sundberg if she knew about this Education Excellence Commission and how one could become a member. I expressed interest in becoming a member as a former teacher and my husband as a business owner. She was excited to tell me that she was a member and that all I had to do was ask to be “invited” to become a member.
I told her that I had written the Governor’s office to request a 30 min. meeting with him to discuss my children’s “non-proficient” score on the new SAGE test. I was told by the Governor’s office that I could only meet with someone at the USOE. I wrote them back explaining that I had already spoken with my neighbor who serves on the USOE board and that I would wait the 6-8 weeks that he was booked out, and requested once again a personal meeting with the Governor. Their response was shocking. It read that I could not meet with the Governor, NOW or EVER.
I told her that the reason why I was attending the ASD board meeting was to discuss my concerns with SAGE testing. I showed her my notebook of hours upon hours of research, and that I had real problems with my children logging onto American Institutes Research (AIR) servers, which were most likely in Washington, D.C. and that with the 1974 FERPA law being changed by Obama’s education administration unconstitutionally, I believed that my children’s data could be shared with third parties that were research based, without my parental consent. I have a document found on USOE’s web-site that says that AIR will keep all FERPA laws in regards to our students’ data, which circumvents AIR’s letter to Superintendent Martell Menlove that says that our students’ data will be kept secure.
I also explained to her that I believed that this was now opposite of how CRT’s were done in the past. They were once taken at the local schools, given to each district or ASD for correction with a 1-4 score and then their aggregate scores were shared with USOE and then passed on to the federal government.
Now with SAGE computer adaptive testing, it has become top-down, meaning that my children’s data is being collected at the same time they are tested because they are directly accessing AIR’s servers and I have a document that proves that AIR corrects and scores these tests 1-4 and then gives the scores to USOE, where they then pass them on to ASD. I have legislation that says that disaggregate information is now allowed, instead of aggregate information.
Also, I have read legislation that allows, “the use of student behavior indicators in assessing student performance”. In R277-404-9: CRISIS INDICATORS IN STATE ASSESSMENTS, it reads, “A. Students participating in state assessments may reveal intentions to harm themselves or others, that a student is at risk of harm from others, or may reveal other indicators that the student is in a crisis situation.” Since when do standardized state assessments ask questions that would provoke these type of answers?
My main red flag is that AIR is a non-profit, psychometric behavioral research company that UT paid $39 million dollars to have them help write and proctor the test. Also, I found on AIR’s web-site that they have partnered with Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and also Data Recognition Corporation.
Another red flag, is that I can never see the test, so how do I know if the questions are appropriate. All I have to go on is my research that AIR is a psychometric behavioral company that has “helped change social behavior” and that USOE’s contract with AIR actually says “Psychometrics” as part of the contract.
I know that three of the fifteen parents who were chosen to read the questions, opted their own children out of the test. I would love to take a survey of the remaining twelve parents.
Why would I trust a non-profit organization located in Washington D.C. with ties to the United Nations and UNESCO with my precious children’s data? Why can’t the school district see this is WRONG?
– Tami Hirsch