Archive for March 2015

Dr. Gary Thompson’s Open Letter to Dr. Darling-Hammond on her Common Core Tests   11 comments

dr-thompson

 

Utah’s Dr. Gary Thompson wrote an open letter to Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond tonight.

 

Dear Dr. Hammond:

How does placing students in front of an experimental test that has yet to undergo extensive validity measures equate to accountability in the traditional manner in which you speak?

Let me answer that question for you in three simple words:

It.  Does.  Not.

Regards,

Dr. Gary Thompson

 

 

I want to give context so that you can fully appreciate the letter’s significance.

Darling-Hammond, of Stanford University, is on the list of “Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform” for good reasons.  She works for private organizations that crush  Constitutional control of education; she promotes and writes books about socialist redistribution of wealth, and she plays key roles in the Obama administration’s fed ed goals.  She’s been an advisor and/or board member for:

1.  The Obama Administration’s Equity and Excellence Commission

2.  The CCSSO – Common Core co-creator

3.  The NGA – Common Core co-creator

4.  The CSCOPE of Texas

5. American Institutes for Research (AIR, Utah’s and Florida’s Common Core tester)

5. WestED (SBAC’s Common Core test partner)

6.  National Academy of Education

7. American Educational Research Association

8. Alliance for Excellent Education

–and more.

 

linda d

 

Dr. Thompson pointed out to his Facebook friends that Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond has been very busily publishing this month.

Her sudden articles in the Huffington Post, The Hill, Stanford University,  NEA, ECE and elsewhere show that now, while Congress heatedly debates the ESEA/No Child Left Behind disaster, she’s  desperate to persuade Congress to use Common Core and its tests as “an engine to drive better educational practice.

Darling-Hammond paints a pretty, distracting frame around her ugly baby, the Common Core.  She pretends that the whole reason parents are pushing back is only high stakes testing and she mentions nothing else that parents are screeching about.  Apparently to her, the Constitution has nothing to do with it; experimentation on children has nothing to do with it;  data mining has nothing to do with it; unpiloted and shaky standards have nothing to do with it; validity-report-lacking tests have nothing to do with it.  She keeps the “conversation” on the clearly obvious: that  basing teachers’ entire value on a test students take is stupid; that stressing those test results rather than a child’s whole education is even more stupid. (Yes, the sky is blue and the grass is green.)

But what she’s really pushing for is NOT what parents want.  In “The Hill” blog post, she pressed for federal enforcement of Common Core tests: “urge the federal government to make sure districts provide annual assessments of student progress, while allowing states to develop systems of assessment”.  She added, “The Feds should continue to require states to flag districts that require improvement”  and “the Feds need to treat accountability as an ongoing process…”

Her article in HuffPo praises California for allocating $1.25 BILLION for Common Core and for eliminating “all the old tests while bringing in new and better Common Core assessments” and concludes: “the Common Core standards in California are an engine to drive better educational practice“.

Her strategy seems to be to get readers to start nodding with her about the high stakes tests, and then forget to stop nodding when she crosses the line and promotes a unicorn:  a gentler, kinder version of the same darn Common Core tests.  She uses the term “we agreed” seven times to make her point in one article, as she claims that reformers from a wide spectrum of political camps agree with her.  Dr. Darling-Hammond, please know the wide spectrum of political camps is loaded with those who disagree with you.  Case in point:  Dr. Thompson (an Obama voter in the last election) and me (long ago lovingly and correctly labeled a “right wing nut case” –by Dr. Thompson.)

Dr. Thompson put it this way to his Facebook friends tonight:

“Advocacy should never be used as a means to effect change in ethics,” –but because Darling-Hammond is doing so– “it makes it real easy for small-town Utah doctors like myself who do not hold positions of import at Stanford University to effectively ‘slam’ the Dr. Hammonds of the world… Not once did she mention the words ‘valid testing‘.  Parents are, and always must be, the resident experts of their own children.  I will always challenge those in positions of power who use pseudo science to back their claims. It is an affront to my profession.”

Then he posted his pointed letter to Dr. Darling-Hammond.

May his letter go far and wide.  May Darling-Hammond enjoy the mountains of money she’s made $erving the institution$ that aim to $tandardize education and data so that they can control citizens more effectively.  –And may Congress see right through her words.

Congress just might.

This month we saw Senator Vitter’s Local Control of Education Act  pass the U.S. Senate.  (Read it here.)  It doesn’t end Common Core, but it spanks the Department of Education for ramming it down our throats, and prevents conditional-on-common-standards-grants.

We also saw key members of the Senate and the House sign powerful  letters  (here’s the other) that demand an end to the funding and pushing of Common Core.

So there is definitely, definitely hope.

 

 

 

Submit Questions: Governor Herbert to Answer Questions Tonight on KBYU TV   2 comments

herbert

 

 

Tonight, Utah’s Governor Gary Herbert will take questions on KBYU TV.   The public may submit questions via Twitter, Facebook, phone or email.  askeleven@byu.edu is the email address.  Click here for additional ways to submit questions.

Feel free to use my questions in your own words if you like.

 

1.  Will you veto SB 235 the school turnaround bill now that you’ve received so much input, including official open letters asking you to do so from the unanimous boards of some Utah school districts, from the UEA and from Utahns Against Common Core? Why or why not?

2. We know that your initiative, Prosperity 2020 is aimed at improving the economy of Utah. Can you explain how it differs from China’s economic centralization of schools linked with the economy?

3. Why are you supporting the ban on citizens being allowed to burn wood in the their homes?

4. What influence do Utah citizens have in the National Governor’s Association; in other words, how does the Governor’s membership in NGA benefit Utah citizens’ constitutional rights to local autonomy?

5. Last year, you led a study of the new national standards used in Utah known as Common Core; critics said your study failed to address the governance and local control of the standards. Would you be willing to revisit this issue in more depth? Why or why not?

6. What is Utah’s State Longitudinal Database System, and how does it benefit individuals and families?

7. Some parents are calling for an opt out for the State Longitudinal Database System. Would you support giving parents this liberty? Why or why not?

8. Would you consider following the example of many other states in eliminating the income tax? Why or why not?

Little Children and Freedom of Speech   2 comments

A few days ago, fifth grader Aaron Bencomo spoke to the Arizona Senate, explaining in his own words, using his own experience to express how bad the Common Core is.  He quoted the Declaration of Independence.  He talked about the pursuit of happiness.  He described the “one size does not fit all,” boring, wasteful reviews of last year’s math in this year’s math.  He talked about not every child being the same, but being treated as if they were the same, under Common Core. His speech was a beautiful example of how even a little child can be an agent for freedom and truth.  Watch from minute 1:20 to 4:05.

 

Children do have great power.

Aaron is not the first child to speak out powerfully against the Common Core agenda’s destruction of individual freedoms.  Teenager Patrick Richardson of Arkansas spoke out.   Ethan Young of Tennessee spoke out.  Sydney Lane of Connecticut spoke out.   Please watch and share these videos if you haven’t already!

Freedom of speech is, of course, closely tied to freedom of religion; both are versions of free exercise of conscience and of free thought.

Inspired by Dallin Oaks’ article in this month’s Ensign Magazine, I reminded my children this week that they are not government employees living under rules that constrain religious speech in a school setting.  In other words, children may say, write, report, and share their faith in God freely, including in a public school if they want to.

Elder Dallin Oaks reminded us that freedom of religion is not limited to the inside of a church.  He wrote:  “…oppose government officials and public policy advocates who suggest that the free exercise of religion is limited to “freedom of worship.” In the United States, for example, the guarantee of “free exercise” protects the right to come out of our private settings, including churches, synagogues, and mosques, to act upon our beliefs, subject only to the legitimate government powers necessary to protect public health, safety, and welfare. Free exercise surely protects religious citizens in acting upon their beliefs in public policy debates...

I also reminded my children of a well-loved story in the Book of Mormon about the “Army of Helaman.” In the story, adults with histories of evil had made promises not to take up their swords to kill again, but their innocent children were under no such obligation; when attacked by an enemy, the boys took up their swords and defended their own lives and the lives of their families.  God preserved those young men, and helped their families, through them.  (See Alma 56-58)

I tell my children never to assume they are under the same obligation as their public school teachers are.  Children can speak positively about their religion.  Children have great freedom of speech.  If they feel they want to, they should speak and write about their beliefs, including belief in Constitutional liberty, and belief in God, wherever they are.

Hats off to those who are doing so.

No School Turnaround: Unanimous Board Veto Request from Utah’s Largest School District – to Gov Herbert   1 comment

alpine page one veto

alpine page two veto

For  documented articles about why school turnaround is far from an innocuous concept, please read this and this.

Stealth Testing: An Unacceptable Alternative to High Stakes Tests   11 comments

stealth assessment baby

 

Senator Howard Stephenson was right when he said on the Rod Arquette Show  that SAGE tests turn our children into guinea pigs and that SAGE should be abandoned immediately, this very minute.

He was right when he said that it’s educational malpractice to use a beta-test to judge students and teachers and schools.

He was right in saying that it’s unethical to test students in January and February on content that hasn’t even been introduced for that school year yet.

But why was there no mention of privacy –or of parental rights to informed consent?  Why is that not part of his stop-SAGE argument?  Why is the senator pushing back against SAGE/Common Core tests now, when he never has done so before?  He could have helped pass Rep. Anderegg’s student data privacy bill, two years in a row.  He could have done so much to protect our children.  He did not.   The student data privacy bill is, once again, two years in a row, utterly dead in the water.

I do suspect, because of Stephenson’s infatuation with all things technological, that Stephenson is using the anti-SAGE argument to lead listeners toward acceptance of something  just as sinister or worse:  curriculum-integrated tests, also known as “stealth assessments”.   

That’s what’s coming next.  And stealth will hurt, not help, the fight for parental rights and student privacy rights.

A resolution just passed the Utah House of Representatives along these stealth assessment lines, called  HCR7.  The visible intentions of HCR7 are great:  to reduce the amount of time wasted on testing  and reducing test anxiety; to expand the amount of time spent teaching and learning instead of test-prepping.  Its sponsor, Rep. Poulson, explained in a KSL quote: “my family were small farmers and cattlemen, and I know just from that experience that if you spend all of your time weighing and measuring, and not feeding, it causes problems.”

Agreed!  Education for a child’s benefit should be its own end, not just a stepping stone toward the Capital T Tests.

But, but, but.

See line 66.  It wants to “maximize the integration of testing into an aligned curriculum“.  How?

The school system just hides the fact that a test is happening from its students.

The techno-curriculum can suck out a constant stream of personal data from the student’s technology use.  Assignments, projects, and even games can constantly upload academic and nonacademic data about the child, all day every day, into the State Longitudinal Database Systems —and into the hands of third-party technology vendors.

This concept is hot-off-the-press in trendy scholarly journals and books under the name “stealth assessment“.  Stealth is what Pearson (world’s largest educational sales products company)  is very excited about.   Philanthropist-lobbyist Bill Gates has been throwing his money at the stealth assessments movement.  NPR is on board.   (Dr. Gary Thompson warned of the trend as part of his presentation as he exposed the lack of validity studies or ethics in Utah’s SAGE test.  Also read researcher Jakell Sullivan’s article about stealth testing.)

As Dr. Thompson has pointed out, stealth can be honorable and valuable in a private, parentally consented-to, setting:  when a parent asks a trained child psychologist to help heal a hurt child, he/she can analyze a child’s drawings, how a child plays with toys, or how he organizes objects, etc.

The difference is informed consent.

The governmental-corporate machine is suggesting that legislatures force schools to adopt compulsory testing embedded in school curriculum and activities, allowing student data collection to be pulled without informed consent.

Do we want our students to be tested and analyzed and tracked like guinea pigs all day, year after year—  not by teachers, but by third party vendors and the government?

Stealth testing, or “integrated testing” removes the possibility for parental opt-outs.  I’m not for that.  Are you?

Why doesn’t anyone seem to care?   I repeat:  two years in a row Rep. Jake Anderegg’s student data protection bill has gone unpassed.  I cannot understand the legislature’s apathy about privacy rights and the lack of valiant protection of children’s privacy in this data-binging day and age.

I don’t get it.  Someone, tell me why this is not important in a supposedly child-friendly state.  It is known all over the planet that private data is the new gold, the new oil.  Knowledge about individuals is power over them. When someone knows extremely detailed information about individuals, they can can persuade them, influence them, guide them, help them –and control them. Children’s privacy, their data, is gold to corporations and governments. Yet they are not being protected.  Our legislators don’t think it’s important enough.  We can pass bills about every petty thing you can imagine, but we can’t protect our kids from having their gold robbed every single day.  I can’t believe it’s just neglect and busy-ness.  I think it’s greed-based.

Don’t believe it?  Study what the feds have done in recent years to destroy student privacy.  Search Utah code for any mention of students having rights to their own data, or ownership of it; search in vain for any punishment when data is collected without parental consent by schools or third party vendors.  See corporations salivating over taken student data –collected without parental consent by every state’s “State Longitudinal Database System”.

Look at this detailed Knewton interview where the corporation brags about millions of data points —soon to be billions, they brag– of data points, collected thanks to schools, but benefitting the corporate pocketbook:  https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/01/25/arizona-st-and-knewtons-grand-experiment-adaptive-learning

Watch the Datapalooza event where the same type of talk is going on– absolutely no discussion of parental rights, of privacy rights, of the morality of picking up academic and nonacademic personal information about another person without his/her consent nor parental consent:  https://youtu.be/Lr7Z7ysDluQ

See this recent Politico article that casually discusses Salt Lake City’s Cyber Snoops working for Pearson, tracking our children:   http://www.politico.com/story/2015/03/cyber-snoops-track-students-116276.html

 

Our elected representatives, from Governor Herbert through Howard Stephenson through Marie Poulson through our state school board, are not demonstrating any respect for parental consent.  By their inaction, they are violating our children’s data privacy.

Utah is volunteering to give away our gold, our children’s private data–  out of naiivete, greed, or tragically misplaced “trust”.

There is only one solution that I can see:  parents,  we are the only ones who really care.  WE CAN SPEAK UP.

We can protect our children by pressuring our elected representatives at the senate, house and state school board.  We can tell elected representatives that our children need and deserve proper data privacy protection.  Tell them that FERPA is broken and we need local protection. Tell them we will not tolerate embedded tests in the daily curriculum and technologies that our children use.

Demand the dignity of privacy for your child.  Say NO to “integrated curriculum and testing”– stealth assessment.    Put these words in  your elected representatives’ inboxes and messaging systems and twitter feeds and ears.  Don’t let it rest.  Be a pest.  Silence is acquiescence.

Children and their private data are not “stakeholder” owned inventory.  Children are not “human capital” to be  tracked and directed by the government.  My child is mine.  He/she has a mission unrelated to fattening up the workforce or serving Prosperity 2020.   I do not think the legislature comprehends that fact.  

Maybe I am not barking loudly enough.  Maybe a hundred thousand parents need to be barking.

I’ll repaste the elected representatives’ email information here.

 

———————————————————————–

Write to the Utah State School Board:    Board@schools.utah.gov

Here are the Utah State Representatives.  

District Representative Party Counties Represented Contact Info
1 Sandall, Scott D. R Box Elder, Cache ssandall@le.utah.gov
435-279-7551
2 Lifferth, David E. R Utah dlifferth@le.utah.gov
801-358-9124
3 Draxler, Jack R. R Cache jdraxler@le.utah.gov
435-752-1488
4 Redd, Edward H. R Cache eredd@le.utah.gov
435-760-3177
5 Webb, R. Curt R Cache curtwebb@le.utah.gov
435-753-0215
6 Anderegg, Jacob L. R Utah janderegg@le.utah.gov
801-901-3580
7 Fawson, Justin L. R Weber justinfawson@le.utah.gov
801-781-0016
8 Froerer, Gage R Weber gfroerer@le.utah.gov
801-391-4233
9 Peterson, Jeremy A. R Weber jeremyapeterson@le.utah.gov
801-390-1480
10 Pitcher, Dixon M. R Weber dpitcher@le.utah.gov
801-710-9150
11 Dee, Brad L. R Davis, Weber bdee@le.utah.gov
801-479-5495
12 Schultz, Mike R Davis, Weber mikeschultz@le.utah.gov
801-859-7713
13 Ray, Paul R Davis pray@le.utah.gov
801-725-2719
14 Oda, Curtis R Davis coda@le.utah.gov
801-725-0277
15 Wilson, Brad R. R Davis bradwilson@le.utah.gov
801-425-1028
16 Handy, Stephen G. R Davis stevehandy@le.utah.gov
801-979-8711
17 Barlow, Stewart R Davis sbarlow@le.utah.gov
801-289-6699
18 Hawkes, Timothy D. R Davis thawkes@le.utah.gov
801-294-4494
19 Ward, Raymond P. R Davis rayward@le.utah.gov
801-440-8765
20 Edwards, Rebecca P. R Davis beckyedwards@le.utah.gov
801-554-1968
21 Sagers, Douglas V. R Tooele dougsagers@le.utah.gov
435-830-3485
22 Duckworth, Susan D Salt Lake sduckworth@le.utah.gov
801-250-0728
23 Hollins, Sandra D Salt Lake shollins@le.utah.gov
801-363-4257
24 Chavez-Houck, Rebecca D Salt Lake rchouck@le.utah.gov
801-891-9292
25 Briscoe, Joel K. D Salt Lake jbriscoe@le.utah.gov
801-946-9791
26 Romero, Angela D Salt Lake angelaromero@le.utah.gov
801-722-4972
27 Kennedy, Michael S. R Utah mikekennedy@le.utah.gov
801-358-2362
28 King, Brian S. D Salt Lake, Summit briansking@le.utah.gov
801-560-0769
29 Perry, Lee B. R Box Elder, Weber leeperry@le.utah.gov
435-225-0430
30 Cox, Fred C. R Salt Lake fredcox@le.utah.gov
801-966-2636
31 DiCaro, Sophia M. R Salt Lake sdicaro@le.utah.gov
32 Christensen, LaVar R Salt Lake lavarchristensen@le.utah.gov
801-808-5105
33 Hall, Craig R Salt Lake chall@le.utah.gov
801-573-1774
34 Anderson, Johnny R Salt Lake janderson34@le.utah.gov
801-898-1168
35 Wheatley, Mark A. D Salt Lake markwheatley@le.utah.gov
801-556-4862
36 Arent, Patrice M. D Salt Lake parent@le.utah.gov
801-889-7849
37 Moss, Carol Spackman D Salt Lake csmoss@le.utah.gov
801-647-8764
38 Hutchings, Eric K. R Salt Lake ehutchings@le.utah.gov
801-963-2639
39 Dunnigan, James A. R Salt Lake jdunnigan@le.utah.gov
801-840-1800
40 Miller, Justin J. D Salt Lake jjmiller@le.utah.gov
801-573-8810
41 McCay, Daniel R Salt Lake dmccay@le.utah.gov
801-810-4110
42 Coleman, Kim R Salt Lake kimcoleman@le.utah.gov
801-865-8970
43 Tanner, Earl D. R Salt Lake earltanner@le.utah.gov
801-792-2156
44 Cutler, Bruce R. R Salt Lake brucecutler@le.utah.gov
801-556-4600
45 Eliason, Steve R Salt Lake seliason@le.utah.gov
801-673-4748
46 Poulson, Marie H. D Salt Lake mariepoulson@le.utah.gov
801-942-5390
47 Ivory, Ken R Salt Lake kivory@le.utah.gov
801-694-8380
48 Stratton, Keven J. R Utah kstratton@le.utah.gov
801-836-6010
49 Spendlove, Robert M. R Salt Lake rspendlove@le.utah.gov
801-560-5394
50 Cunningham, Rich R Salt Lake rcunningham@le.utah.gov
801-722-4942
51 Hughes, Gregory H. R Salt Lake greghughes@le.utah.gov
801-432-0362
52 Knotwell, John R Salt Lake jknotwell@le.utah.gov
801-449-1834
53 Brown, Melvin R. R Daggett, Duchesne, Morgan, Rich, Summit melbrown@le.utah.gov
435-647-6512
54 Powell, Kraig R Summit, Wasatch kraigpowell@le.utah.gov
435-654-0501
55 Chew, Scott H. R Duchesne, Uintah scottchew@le.utah.gov
56 Christofferson, Kay J. R Utah kchristofferson@le.utah.gov
801-592-5709
57 Greene, Brian M. R Utah bgreene@le.utah.gov
801-889-5693
58 Cox, Jon R Juab, Sanpete jcox@le.utah.gov
435-851-4457
59 Peterson, Val L. R Utah vpeterson@le.utah.gov
801-224-4473
60 Daw, Brad M. R Utah bdaw@le.utah.gov
801-850-3608
61 Grover, Keith R Utah keithgrover@le.utah.gov
801-319-0170
62 Stanard, Jon E. R Washington jstanard@le.utah.gov
435-414-4631
63 Sanpei, Dean R Utah dsanpei@le.utah.gov
801-979-5711
64 Thurston, Norman K R Utah normthurston@le.utah.gov
385-399-9658
65 Gibson, Francis D. R Utah fgibson@le.utah.gov
801-491-3763
66 McKell, Mike K. R Utah mmckell@le.utah.gov
801-210-1495
67 Roberts, Marc K. R Utah mroberts@le.utah.gov
801-210-0155
68 Nelson, Merrill F. R Beaver, Juab, Millard, Tooele, Utah mnelson@le.utah.gov
801-971-2172
69 King, Brad D Carbon, Duchesne, Emery, Grand bradking@le.utah.gov
435-637-7955
70 McIff, Kay L. R Emery, Grand, Sanpete, Sevier kaymciff@le.utah.gov
801-608-4331
71 Last, Bradley G. R Iron, Washington blast@le.utah.gov
435-635-7334
72 Westwood, John R. R Iron jwestwood@le.utah.gov
435-586-6961
73 Noel, Michael E. R Beaver, Garfield, Kane, Piute, San Juan, Sevier, Wayne mnoel@kanab.net
435-616-5603
74 Snow, V. Lowry R Washington vlsnow@le.utah.gov
435-703-3688
75 Ipson, Don L. R Washington dipson@le.utah.gov
435-817-5281

 

Here are the Utah Senators (write more than just your own senator.)

 

District Name Email County(ies)
1 Escamilla, Luz (D) lescamilla@le.utah.gov Salt Lake
2 Dabakis, Jim (D) jdabakis@le.utah.gov Salt Lake
3 Davis, Gene (D) gdavis@le.utah.gov Salt Lake
4 Iwamoto, Jani (D) jiwamoto@le.utah.gov Salt Lake
5 Mayne, Karen (D) kmayne@le.utah.gov Salt Lake
6 Harper, Wayne A. (R) wharper@le.utah.gov Salt Lake
7 Henderson, Deidre M. (R) dhenderson@le.utah.gov Utah
8 Shiozawa, Brian E. (R) bshiozawa@le.utah.gov Salt Lake
9 Niederhauser, Wayne L. (R) wniederhauser@le.utah.gov Salt Lake
10 Osmond, Aaron (R) aosmond@le.utah.gov Salt Lake
11 Stephenson, Howard A. (R) hstephenson@le.utah.gov Salt Lake, Utah
12 Thatcher, Daniel W. (R) dthatcher@le.utah.gov Salt Lake, Tooele
13 Madsen, Mark B. (R) mmadsen@le.utah.gov Salt Lake, Utah
14 Jackson, Alvin B. (R) abjackson@le.utah.gov Utah
15 Dayton, Margaret (R) mdayton@le.utah.gov Utah
16 Bramble, Curtis S. (R) curt@cbramble.com Utah, Wasatch
17 Knudson, Peter C. (R) pknudson@le.utah.gov Box Elder, Cache, Tooele
18 Millner, Ann (R) amillner@le.utah.gov Davis, Morgan, Weber
19 Christensen, Allen M. (R) achristensen@le.utah.gov Morgan, Summit, Weber
20 Jenkins, Scott K. (R) sjenkins@le.utah.gov Davis, Weber
21 Stevenson, Jerry W. (R) jwstevenson@le.utah.gov Davis
22 Adams, J. Stuart (R) jsadams@le.utah.gov Davis
23 Weiler, Todd (R) tweiler@le.utah.gov Davis, Salt Lake
24 Okerlund, Ralph (R) rokerlund@le.utah.gov Beaver, Garfield, Juab, Kane, Millard, Piute, Sanpete, Sevier, Utah, Wayne
25 Hillyard, Lyle W. (R) lhillyard@le.utah.gov Cache, Rich
26 Van Tassell, Kevin T. (R) kvantassell@le.utah.gov Daggett, Duchesne, Summit, Uintah, Wasatch
27 Hinkins, David P. (R) dhinkins@le.utah.gov Carbon, Emery, Grand, San Juan, Utah, Wasatch
28 Vickers, Evan J. (R) evickers@le.utah.gov Beaver, Iron, Washington
29 Urquhart, Stephen H. (R) surquhart@le.utah.gov Washington

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Gary Thompson’s $100,000 Reward For SAGE Common Core Test Validity Reports   14 comments

 

 

100k2

 

 

Last year, on behalf of Early Life Child Psychology and Education Center, Dr. Gary Thompson offered $100,000.00 to the Utah State Office of Education (USOE) for validity reports for Utah’s SAGE Common Core test.

He made the offer after Associate Superintendent Judy Park made a public statement regarding the validity of SAGE which Dr. Thompson knew to be false.  He knew that test makers such as American Institutes for Research (AIR)  or Pearson routinely provide validity reports to psychologists in the private sector, because by law and ethics, they know the tests can’t be used otherwise.

Dr. Thompson gave the USOE a 24-hour deadline to forward to his clinic some certified copies of industry-standard validity reports prepared by AIR.  Such reports would show the test’s construct validity, criterion validity, content validity, concurrent validity, and predictive validity.

In exchange for copies of the reports, Early Life Corp would donate $50,000.00 to a public school of USOE’s choice, plus an additional $50,000.00 to the 2014-15 Utah Public School Teacher of the Year.  He sent the offer directly to Dr. Judy Park and to some of the Utah State School Board members; he also posted the offer on his personal Facebook page, the clinic’s Facebook page, and on the Utahns Against Common Core Facebook page.

The offer was quickly big news among those who follow the Common Core Initiative’s unfolding saga nationwide.  Six clinicians and partners of Early Life, including the CEO who happens to be Dr. Thompson’s wife, were not happy about the offer.  That night was a sleepless one for them and Dr. Thompson was consigned to the couch for the night by the CEO.  Still, Dr. Thompson slept like a baby.  Why?

Here’s a little bit of history:

Right after his appearance on the Glenn Beck TV show, where Dr. Thompson had exposed the Common Core/SAGE test’s assault on student privacy and its unanswered validity questions, Dr. Thompson had been summoned to the offices of then-Superintendent Dr. Martell Menlove and Associate Superintendent Brenda Hales.  He accepted the invitation, bringing along his clinic’s lawyer and his best friend, Edward D. Flint.

During the two and a half hour meeting, Dr. Thompson and Ed Flint first sat and listened to “Brenda Hales’ hour-long lecture about ‘the Standards'”.  Dr. Thompson finally explained, when she was finished speaking, that academic standards were not Thompson/Flint’s area of expertise and that the subject was of no interest to them on any level.

Next, Menlove/Hales listened to Thompson/Flint.  The doctor and the lawyer explained the fundamentals of test validity issues and data gathering, and expressed their concerns about privacy and testing issues, laying out a careful analysis of how easily potential violations could occur under Common Core’s tests.

Menlove/Hales dismissed their concerns as “conspiracy theories” and requested that Thompson/Flint “stop bringing fear into our community via social media”.  Thompson and Flint promised to cease speaking of their concerns if Menlove and Hales would agree to contact AIR to provide documentation that the concerns were unwarranted.

Dr. Menlove agreed.

Weeks later, still having seen no validity reports, Dr. Thompson finally received a phone call –from a parent, who had noticed an AIR letter posted  on the USOE webpage.  The letter was directed to Dr. Menlove from AIR Vice President Jon Cohen; it purported to address the concerns of Mr. Flint and Dr. Thompson, using their names.

AIR Vice President Jon Cohen failed to actually respond to the pointed, specific concerns that had been submitted in writing to Dr. Menlove.  (Read those here.)

What he did do is attempt to give AIR a pat on the back by sharing a link to what was meant to go to a national nonprofit disabilities organization, one that would vouch for the test verbally (not with any validity studies or reports).  Yet –incredibly– when one click’s on the AIR Vice President’s link, one is linked to a vacation spot on Catalina Island.

It’s been two years since AIR’s defense of validity letter was posted on the USOE website, and still no correction has been made.

Why haven’t the newspapers reported that the validity of Utah’s SAGE test is proved with a link to a Catalina Island website?  This singular error (I’m assuming, hoping it was an error) and it’s now two-year uncorrected status speaks tragic volumes about the lack of professionalism of the SAGE, the USOE and the AIR Corporation.  (AIR has received at least $39 million so far for its testing service, from Utah taxpayers.)

Dr. Thompson was not amused by AIR’s error.  He shared this story in multiple, filmed presentations in four different states.  Audiences and parents were stunned.

 

This is news.  Why is it not in the papers?  When AIR had the perfect opportunity to silence “misinformed” critics by putting the issue to rest with actual validity tests, the company produced no reports of any tests, just a short  letter that said nothing.

Multiple calls to Dr. Menlove’s office and to his personal cell phone were never returned.  Months later both Dr. Menlove and Brenda Hales abruptly resigned with no explanations given.

It had become clear to Dr. Thompson that the SAGE test was designed to assess both academic and psychological constructs.  Dr. Thompson knew from his direct doctoral residency experience and from his academic training in assessment that no test of this kind had ever been devised in the history of clinical psychology. With knowledge of the extreme experimental nature of the test it was his logical assumption that AIR’s efforts were devoted to the construction of the test and could not have concurrently designed an entirely new method of measuring validity; providing validity reports is a time-consuming and extremely expensive task. (He notes that AIR and other Common Core test makers must have been thrilled to oblige when “client” Secretary Arne Duncan gave them the opportunity to devise a huge test without requiring the normally expensive and very time-consuming validity tests.)

It’s common knowledge, thanks to the USOE, that AIR was the only company that was federally approved; thus, the only company Utah could have chosen once it dumped its SBAC membership.  The USOE has explained, “AIR is currently the only vendor who produces a summative adaptive assessment that has received federal approval.”

No one really knows– outside of the few AIR psychometricians and V.P. Jon Cohen– exactly what the Utah SAGE test (which is now also used outside Utah)  measures.  After two years of studying the issue, Dr. Thompson surmises that AIR has devised one of the most complex, accurate measures of personality characteristics ever made.  Dr. Thompson believes that behavioral testing was AIR’s contractual goal and that SAGE reached that goal.

Support for Dr. Thompson’s conclusion is easy to find.  As one example, scan the federal report entitled “Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perserverance“.  It openly promotes schools’ collection of students’ psychological and belief-based data via behavioral assessment.  (See page 44 to view biometric data collection device photos: student mood meters, posture analysis seats, wireless skin conductance sensors, etc.)  Utah’s own documents, such as the grant application for the State Longitudinal Database System, reveal that noncognitive assessment, including psychometric census-taking of Utah students, were part of the state’s agreement with the federal government even before the Common Core Initiative had come to our state.

As for the SAGE test’s academics, Dr. Thompson points out that barring independent, peer-reviewed documentation, it is not possible to honestly claim that SAGE measures what it claims to measure– academics– in a valid manner.  Dr. Thompson puts it this way:  “There is no way in hell that the AIR-produced SAGE/Common Core test measures academic achievement in a valid manner, and quite probably, does not measure academics at all.”

 

Dr_GARY-550x400

Dr. Gary Thompson and his family

 

 

Postscript:  For more opt-out-of-SAGE-tests motivation please read the testimonies of parents who served on Utah’s SAGE “validation committee”.  They read the SAGE questions last year and are now speaking out.

Utah Governor: Please Veto SB 235. Please Pass HB 360   1 comment

american mom field

 

The State School Board of Utah meets tomorrow and will discuss SB 235 (bad bill) and HB 360 (great bill).  They apparently want the good one vetoed.  Too much liberty for teachers; too much distance between Utah and Common Core.  It’s an open meeting; come and see.

The board doesn’t like this freedom-saving bill.  But the Utah legislature did like it; HB 360 passed both houses and should be signed into law by the governor next week.    Unless he vetoes, swayed by the school board…

Please email them:  Board@schools.utah.gov

 

Dear State School Board,

I want to give input on two bills that you will be recommending for veto or signing to our governor.

  • HB 360 is a good bill for teachers’ autonomy, parental input and local control.  Please do not ask for a veto.  This is a good, constitutional bill.  Parents and teachers want autonomy and this bill creates space for it.  I see no reason to veto this bill.  If this board does recommend a veto, I would like to know why each board member voted as he/she did on the issue.
  • SB 235, on the other hand, is a terrible bill that punishes schools with unvalid labels of “failing” based on the controversial SAGE tests and on an unfair bell curve, so that some are forced to failregardless; it punishes schools with high parental opt-out rates and falsely labels them “failing” and then it forces these “failing” schools to take an “expert” to create “turnaround” that will likely be based on the Obama/Gates Turnaround Model.
For detailed, annotated research on SB 235, see two articles:
1.  https://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2015/03/13/utah-legislature-adopts-obamas-model-for-turnaround-schools/
2.  http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/sb235-effectively-federalized-utahs-education-system-and-federalization-is-anti-family/
Please consider these important bills very, very carefully before you make recommendations to our Governor.
Christel Swasey

—————————————————————–

Here’s the link for Governor Herbert’s electronic messages to ask for that SB 235 veto:    http://www.utah.gov/governor/contact/

Here are the Utah Representatives.  Ask them to contact the Governor too:  (write more than just your own rep.)

District Representative Party Counties Represented Contact Info
1 Sandall, Scott D. R Box Elder, Cache ssandall@le.utah.gov
435-279-7551
2 Lifferth, David E. R Utah dlifferth@le.utah.gov
801-358-9124
3 Draxler, Jack R. R Cache jdraxler@le.utah.gov
435-752-1488
4 Redd, Edward H. R Cache eredd@le.utah.gov
435-760-3177
5 Webb, R. Curt R Cache curtwebb@le.utah.gov
435-753-0215
6 Anderegg, Jacob L. R Utah janderegg@le.utah.gov
801-901-3580
7 Fawson, Justin L. R Weber justinfawson@le.utah.gov
801-781-0016
8 Froerer, Gage R Weber gfroerer@le.utah.gov
801-391-4233
9 Peterson, Jeremy A. R Weber jeremyapeterson@le.utah.gov
801-390-1480
10 Pitcher, Dixon M. R Weber dpitcher@le.utah.gov
801-710-9150
11 Dee, Brad L. R Davis, Weber bdee@le.utah.gov
801-479-5495
12 Schultz, Mike R Davis, Weber mikeschultz@le.utah.gov
801-859-7713
13 Ray, Paul R Davis pray@le.utah.gov
801-725-2719
14 Oda, Curtis R Davis coda@le.utah.gov
801-725-0277
15 Wilson, Brad R. R Davis bradwilson@le.utah.gov
801-425-1028
16 Handy, Stephen G. R Davis stevehandy@le.utah.gov
801-979-8711
17 Barlow, Stewart R Davis sbarlow@le.utah.gov
801-289-6699
18 Hawkes, Timothy D. R Davis thawkes@le.utah.gov
801-294-4494
19 Ward, Raymond P. R Davis rayward@le.utah.gov
801-440-8765
20 Edwards, Rebecca P. R Davis beckyedwards@le.utah.gov
801-554-1968
21 Sagers, Douglas V. R Tooele dougsagers@le.utah.gov
435-830-3485
22 Duckworth, Susan D Salt Lake sduckworth@le.utah.gov
801-250-0728
23 Hollins, Sandra D Salt Lake shollins@le.utah.gov
801-363-4257
24 Chavez-Houck, Rebecca D Salt Lake rchouck@le.utah.gov
801-891-9292
25 Briscoe, Joel K. D Salt Lake jbriscoe@le.utah.gov
801-946-9791
26 Romero, Angela D Salt Lake angelaromero@le.utah.gov
801-722-4972
27 Kennedy, Michael S. R Utah mikekennedy@le.utah.gov
801-358-2362
28 King, Brian S. D Salt Lake, Summit briansking@le.utah.gov
801-560-0769
29 Perry, Lee B. R Box Elder, Weber leeperry@le.utah.gov
435-225-0430
30 Cox, Fred C. R Salt Lake fredcox@le.utah.gov
801-966-2636
31 DiCaro, Sophia M. R Salt Lake sdicaro@le.utah.gov
32 Christensen, LaVar R Salt Lake lavarchristensen@le.utah.gov
801-808-5105
33 Hall, Craig R Salt Lake chall@le.utah.gov
801-573-1774
34 Anderson, Johnny R Salt Lake janderson34@le.utah.gov
801-898-1168
35 Wheatley, Mark A. D Salt Lake markwheatley@le.utah.gov
801-556-4862
36 Arent, Patrice M. D Salt Lake parent@le.utah.gov
801-889-7849
37 Moss, Carol Spackman D Salt Lake csmoss@le.utah.gov
801-647-8764
38 Hutchings, Eric K. R Salt Lake ehutchings@le.utah.gov
801-963-2639
39 Dunnigan, James A. R Salt Lake jdunnigan@le.utah.gov
801-840-1800
40 Miller, Justin J. D Salt Lake jjmiller@le.utah.gov
801-573-8810
41 McCay, Daniel R Salt Lake dmccay@le.utah.gov
801-810-4110
42 Coleman, Kim R Salt Lake kimcoleman@le.utah.gov
801-865-8970
43 Tanner, Earl D. R Salt Lake earltanner@le.utah.gov
801-792-2156
44 Cutler, Bruce R. R Salt Lake brucecutler@le.utah.gov
801-556-4600
45 Eliason, Steve R Salt Lake seliason@le.utah.gov
801-673-4748
46 Poulson, Marie H. D Salt Lake mariepoulson@le.utah.gov
801-942-5390
47 Ivory, Ken R Salt Lake kivory@le.utah.gov
801-694-8380
48 Stratton, Keven J. R Utah kstratton@le.utah.gov
801-836-6010
49 Spendlove, Robert M. R Salt Lake rspendlove@le.utah.gov
801-560-5394
50 Cunningham, Rich R Salt Lake rcunningham@le.utah.gov
801-722-4942
51 Hughes, Gregory H. R Salt Lake greghughes@le.utah.gov
801-432-0362
52 Knotwell, John R Salt Lake jknotwell@le.utah.gov
801-449-1834
53 Brown, Melvin R. R Daggett, Duchesne, Morgan, Rich, Summit melbrown@le.utah.gov
435-647-6512
54 Powell, Kraig R Summit, Wasatch kraigpowell@le.utah.gov
435-654-0501
55 Chew, Scott H. R Duchesne, Uintah scottchew@le.utah.gov
56 Christofferson, Kay J. R Utah kchristofferson@le.utah.gov
801-592-5709
57 Greene, Brian M. R Utah bgreene@le.utah.gov
801-889-5693
58 Cox, Jon R Juab, Sanpete jcox@le.utah.gov
435-851-4457
59 Peterson, Val L. R Utah vpeterson@le.utah.gov
801-224-4473
60 Daw, Brad M. R Utah bdaw@le.utah.gov
801-850-3608
61 Grover, Keith R Utah keithgrover@le.utah.gov
801-319-0170
62 Stanard, Jon E. R Washington jstanard@le.utah.gov
435-414-4631
63 Sanpei, Dean R Utah dsanpei@le.utah.gov
801-979-5711
64 Thurston, Norman K R Utah normthurston@le.utah.gov
385-399-9658
65 Gibson, Francis D. R Utah fgibson@le.utah.gov
801-491-3763
66 McKell, Mike K. R Utah mmckell@le.utah.gov
801-210-1495
67 Roberts, Marc K. R Utah mroberts@le.utah.gov
801-210-0155
68 Nelson, Merrill F. R Beaver, Juab, Millard, Tooele, Utah mnelson@le.utah.gov
801-971-2172
69 King, Brad D Carbon, Duchesne, Emery, Grand bradking@le.utah.gov
435-637-7955
70 McIff, Kay L. R Emery, Grand, Sanpete, Sevier kaymciff@le.utah.gov
801-608-4331
71 Last, Bradley G. R Iron, Washington blast@le.utah.gov
435-635-7334
72 Westwood, John R. R Iron jwestwood@le.utah.gov
435-586-6961
73 Noel, Michael E. R Beaver, Garfield, Kane, Piute, San Juan, Sevier, Wayne mnoel@kanab.net
435-616-5603
74 Snow, V. Lowry R Washington vlsnow@le.utah.gov
435-703-3688
75 Ipson, Don L. R Washington dipson@le.utah.gov
435-817-5281

 

Here are the Utah Senators (write more than just your own senator):

 

District Name Email County(ies)
1 Escamilla, Luz (D) lescamilla@le.utah.gov Salt Lake
2 Dabakis, Jim (D) jdabakis@le.utah.gov Salt Lake
3 Davis, Gene (D) gdavis@le.utah.gov Salt Lake
4 Iwamoto, Jani (D) jiwamoto@le.utah.gov Salt Lake
5 Mayne, Karen (D) kmayne@le.utah.gov Salt Lake
6 Harper, Wayne A. (R) wharper@le.utah.gov Salt Lake
7 Henderson, Deidre M. (R) dhenderson@le.utah.gov Utah
8 Shiozawa, Brian E. (R) bshiozawa@le.utah.gov Salt Lake
9 Niederhauser, Wayne L. (R) wniederhauser@le.utah.gov Salt Lake
10 Osmond, Aaron (R) aosmond@le.utah.gov Salt Lake
11 Stephenson, Howard A. (R) hstephenson@le.utah.gov Salt Lake, Utah
12 Thatcher, Daniel W. (R) dthatcher@le.utah.gov Salt Lake, Tooele
13 Madsen, Mark B. (R) mmadsen@le.utah.gov Salt Lake, Utah
14 Jackson, Alvin B. (R) abjackson@le.utah.gov Utah
15 Dayton, Margaret (R) mdayton@le.utah.gov Utah
16 Bramble, Curtis S. (R) curt@cbramble.com Utah, Wasatch
17 Knudson, Peter C. (R) pknudson@le.utah.gov Box Elder, Cache, Tooele
18 Millner, Ann (R) amillner@le.utah.gov Davis, Morgan, Weber
19 Christensen, Allen M. (R) achristensen@le.utah.gov Morgan, Summit, Weber
20 Jenkins, Scott K. (R) sjenkins@le.utah.gov Davis, Weber
21 Stevenson, Jerry W. (R) jwstevenson@le.utah.gov Davis
22 Adams, J. Stuart (R) jsadams@le.utah.gov Davis
23 Weiler, Todd (R) tweiler@le.utah.gov Davis, Salt Lake
24 Okerlund, Ralph (R) rokerlund@le.utah.gov Beaver, Garfield, Juab, Kane, Millard, Piute, Sanpete, Sevier, Utah, Wayne
25 Hillyard, Lyle W. (R) lhillyard@le.utah.gov Cache, Rich
26 Van Tassell, Kevin T. (R) kvantassell@le.utah.gov Daggett, Duchesne, Summit, Uintah, Wasatch
27 Hinkins, David P. (R) dhinkins@le.utah.gov Carbon, Emery, Grand, San Juan, Utah, Wasatch
28 Vickers, Evan J. (R) evickers@le.utah.gov Beaver, Iron, Washington
29 Urquhart, Stephen H. (R) surquhart@le.utah.gov Washington

 

Please write or call!  This is still America and not every legislator is bought by lobby money.  Some actually do listen to constituents.We should act –even if we act alone.  If we each act on conscience, rather than failing to act, for fear of failure, we might be winning many more battles.

A war over children’s lives and schooling and privacy rights is being waged, far under the radar of most people’s daily lives– but even those who know it’s going on, often fail to act.  Keep acting, even if it appears there is no hope.  Please join me if you can.

–And by the way, there is real hope!

  • The powerful Utah Educators’ Association (UEA) was also opposed to SB 235.  So were key Utah Democrats.  Some of the conservatives who actually voted for SB 235 now regret it.

Many people have written to the governor on this issue, pleading for a veto.

  • HB 360 already successfully PASSED both legislative houses, so it has the support of our elected reps.  There’s no reason anyone would want it vetoed, that I can see, except if they are being paid (in money or in power) by “the machine”.

 

 

herbert

 

I sometimes think that we would be better off if we had an obvious wolf for a Governor.

If we had an obvious wolf, people would be paying very close attention to what he was doing.  But Governor Herbert uses conservative language while he passes rascally progressive bills and initiatives and blocks conservative ones.

Most of Utah pays no real attention.  Many assume that the conservative-sounding speech they heard him make on the campaign trail matches his actions today.

But this is not the case.  He’s a key member of the Common Core creation team at NGA/CCSSO and he’s a proud promoter of Prosperity 2020, the cradle-to-workforce program that puts the economy first (not children) and puts businesses, not moms, dads and teachers, in positions of power over schools.  He is not about to fight his own machine.  The only thing he might fear is losing re-election.  This is why I have a little bit of  faith that letters asking him to veto SB 235 and asking him to pass HB 360,  might, in great numbers, have influence on him –only for his re-election hopes.  If he does just the opposite of what we are asking, and passes SB 235 and vetoes HB 360, let’s at least not let him do it too quietly and without pushback.  We still have about a week until it’s too late to veto or to pass these bills into law.

 

 

 

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