If your state is telling you and the legislature is not collecting any personally identifiable information for Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia, that statement has been proven false in one state, West Virginia. Anti-Common Core advocates and Dr. Peg Luskik obtained copies of the agreement between the State Superintendent and American Institute Research (AIR) which detailed the information gathered on public school students and who would have access to this personally identifiable information. (SBAC has contracted with AIR to develop and administer the test in WVa).
From the West Virginia activist who obtained the agreement and testified in a hearing:
When I gave my presentation to the joint education committee a few weeks ago, I had placed all four binders on the shelves in the podium and pulled them out one by one as I told about our $71 million contract. I also had it copied to disk and handed each education chair a copy.
The agreement is four binders front and back. And you read that correctly: this agreement between the State Superintendent and AIR will cost the state of West Virginia $71 million over five years. What was contained in this four binder agreement between the state and AIR, which apparently allows access by SBAC to personally identifiable information? Dr. Peg Luskik reviewed the agreement and was interviewed by radio show host Mike Queen about what was in this agreement. It can be found here:
It really is an important 15:00 minute interview about the information available to SBAC and third party researchers. Some bullet points from the agreement:
AIR is designated as an authorized representative via FERPA for allowance to data which is Personally Identifiable Information (PII) on students
The West Virginia Department of Education will disclose to the contractor under this agreement the following information, some of which is considered confidential: student name, student identifier (master code that follows the student from pre-school to career and all data can be tracked to this specific number), gender, race/ethnicity, birthdate, grade, IEP status, language information, English proficiency, economic status, district number, district name, school number, school name
‘No other information will be supplied to the contractor’ (as Luskik points out we don’t need any more information)
Queen points out that the contractor is NOT a governmental agency and the contractor is not immune to hacking. Concerning IEPs, information will be accessed by the contractor. What will be disclosed is the plan’s status. To be able to determine student status, the IEP plan must be available. For Special ed students, all information will be disclosed including medical/psychological services.
Regarding 504 information: example Luksik used is a child who has asthma or a child in a wheelchair. They need special accommodations but not an IEP. Many times the reason for a 504 includes medical information that will be disclosed to the contractor. Each child’s plan becomes part of their record. Queen mentions that for 504, this information is primarily for medical diagnosis and why should this private company have this information.
Luksik believes the goal of this data gathering is tracking. She points listeners to visit the Workforce Data Quality Initiative (WDQI) which WVA supported (as have most states) and this information will be gathered and sent to the Department of Labor. The Dept of Labor will take the education data, moving it forward and following individuals into the workforce where we can track what kind of job they obtained, basically how much is this person worth?
In some states, (she mentions Delaware) they use a ‘career list’ given to the students in 8th grade and their future coursework is structured around this list. The child is educated to be prepared for that career. She states the Delaware parents can look at their child’s success plan but they can’t change it.
This agreement circumvented the WVA Legislature and the State Department of Ed and AIR. According to the host, the parties to the agreement have consistently told the legislatures that no PII was being gathered and accessed by a private company. This has proven to be untrue. Data is being used to supply SBAC testing questions on a psychometric level.
Listen to the entire interview: https://www.dropbox.com/s/lkv8ejjgxkr0xy3/MQ_6_24_2015_Peg_Luksik.mp3?dl=0
What agreement does your state have with an administering SBAC vendor and what data is listed in that agreement that will be accessed by SBAC and outside the state? Does your legislature know what agreements your State Agency has agreed to?
From the Mike Queen FB post (June 24, 2015):
Great interview, Mike! Thanks for getting this out. It is hard to deny when the facts are in print with Martirano’s signature. This is a 3 year $71.3 million contract with AIR, signed by Martirano in January of this year, the very same time period when the legislature was in session taking up a repeal bill that Gayle Manchin and Martirano claimed would cost us millions, while they failed to mention this contract to the legislators. Dr. Luksik tells it like it is.
Correction: $71.3 million agreement between The State Board of West Virginia and AIR is for three years, 2015,2016,2017.