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Former SAT Exec Manuel Alfaro Addresses Details of Reuters’ “FBI Raid” Article

August 28, 2016

Below is former SAT executive Manuel Alfaro’s response to details in the August 26, 2016, Reuters article about the FBI raid on Alfaro’s home. Reuters noted that the raid was in connection with the August 03, 2016, leak of over 400 SAT items to Reuters.

In its August 26, 2016, article, Reuters includes comments from a number of state departments of education that Alfaro contacted with his concerns about the redesigned SAT.

Alfaro takes issue with these departments of education for failing to act “to protect the best interests of… children.” One point he makes is that no state department chose to meet with him and instead only contacted the College Board.

Alfaro posted the response below on August 28, 2016, on LinkedIn. I have reproduced below in its entirety. In it, Alfaro includes an appeal to major news outlets to interview him, including guidance on how to obtain documents to verify details in the post:

Department of Education Heads of the States Using the SAT for Accountability Should Resign Immediately

Manuel Alfaro

Residents of CO, CT, DE, IL, ME, MI, and NH, the heads of the Department of Education of your states have failed to protect the best interests of your students and your families, opting instead to protect their own interests and the interests of the College Board.

As these officials are elected (or appointed by an elected official), you can demand their immediate resignation or you can vote to replace them immediately to ensure that the department of Education in your state is headed by an individual willing to put the interests of your students and your family first.

In the paragraphs that follow, I will describe how the current heads of the Department of Education have failed you and why the lack the judgment (and common sense) to protect the best interests of your children.

On May 7, 2016, I wrote a letter to the heads of the Department of Education in CO, CT, DE, IL, ME, MI, and NH to let them know that the College Board has committed global fraud against their states and the federal government. In that letter, I offered to meet with their legal teams to expose the fraud. Instead of meeting with me (or asking me for additional information), they approached the College Board about my statements and allegations. According to a Reuter’s story, published on Friday August 26, 2016, here is what some of the states had to say about my statements and allegations:

A spokesman for the Michigan Department of Education, Bill DiSessa, said the state “checked with the College Board” and decided not to look into Alfaro’s claims. Jeremy Meyer of the Colorado Department of Education said the state discussed Alfaro’s email with the College Board and was “satisfied with the response we received.”

Kelly Donnelly, spokesperson for the Connecticut State Department of Education, said the state considered Alfaro’s email to be “replete with hyperbole, but scant on actual facts. We did not take further action.” Donnelly said the state hadn’t reviewed Alfaro’s detailed posts on LinkedIn.

Although I have not seen any of the explanations the College Board may have provided, I can assure you that none included the following critical fact: The College Board, ETS, and the Content Advisory Committee did not have time to review all the items prior to pretesting, as the College Board has repeatedly claimed they do.

I’ve estimated amount of time and the amount of money needed to review all the items that were included in the pretest forms up until I left the College Board in February 2015. A list of assumptions and my computations is shown below.

Assumptions

  • Items Developed (about) 14,000
  • Cost to review 200 items (prior to face to face meeting) $3,000 Per Reviewer (about 4 days; 700 per day)
  • Cost to review 200 items during face to face meeting $5000 Per Reviewer (about 5 days; $700 per day; plus travel expenses)

Computations

(Number of 200 item batches)*(number of reviewers)*(costs) = total savings
(14000/200)(30)(8000) = $16,800,000

This estimate is very rough and it does not include the costs for the Fairness and Sensitivity Committees.

Further, this would require 70 five-day meetings for about 30 people. That is almost 1 ½ years of continuous face-to-face meetings, week after week, including holidays. Now, the Content Advisory Committee members, the College Board and ETS staff, and the external consultants ALL have other full-time jobs. So, unless the College Board exists in a parallel universe with space-time properties different than our own, reviewing the all the items prior to pretesting was IMPOSIBLE.

If the heads of the Department of Education of your state knew anything about test development, they would have noticed that something about the College Board’s explanation didn’t add up and would have requested copies of the records of the face-to-face committee meetings, which the College Board must keep in order to comply with the Standards of Educational and Psychological Testing. Most importantly, the College Board needs to provide these records to the federal government as evidence for peer review of the assessment programs for these states.

The heads of the Department of Education of your states clearly lack the critical reasoning skills (and the common sense) and basic knowledge of test development required to make good decisions on behalf of the millions of children in their care. This reason alone is enough to demand their immediate resignation.

The College Board saved approximately 17 million dollars by taking shortcuts in the development of a product that affects the lives of millions of students every year. This is how the College Board can afford to offer the SAT to states for about $12 per student.

An Invitation to Major News Organizations

I can no longer do this work alone. I need your help to expose the global fraud perpetrated by the College Board against students, families, member colleges and universities, partner organizations, state governments, and the federal government.

 I will give an exclusive interview to the first major news organization that uses the Freedom of Information Act to get un-redacted copies of the College Board’s response to the states using the SAT for accountability—I also need an unedited copy of the test the students took in May. In preparation for the exclusive interview, I will also let you know how to obtain the information necessary to verify everything I’ve discussed in this post. You will be able to get this information on your own, directly from some Content Advisory Committee members, without any intermediary action on my part. To inform the public that the process used to get the information is legal, you can discuss how you got the information after you’ve gotten what you need. I can’t tell you how to do it now without compromising your tactical advantage.

This is a big story. Please help me make a difference in the lives of the 20 million high school students currently enrolled in U.S. schools.

Surely there is at least one major news outlet willing to investigate Alfaro’s claims.

Will any major media outlet accept the challenge?

extra

____________________________________________________________

Released July 2016– Book Three:

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of both A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

3 Comments
  1. Laura H. Chapman permalink

    I hope that someone responds. I am concerned about the potential dismissals of his whistleblowing based on the judgment that his claims are “replete with hyperbole.” We do not know the message he sent to the chief education officers; but, the hyperbole in this post evident in asking for resignations but also trying to enlist a third party to find and examine documents. There is no small amount of desperation here. I am on his side. You are doing your part in getting the word out, as is Diane. I hope that this does not end in an extended debate over test development protocols and technical issues that are perceived as “boring” and of little consequence to the millions who take SAT tests and use those scores to make judgments. I hope Alfaro’s invitation produces some investigative action.

  2. This is gravely concerning and thank you Mercedes for posting this. This is of the utmost importance however, Mr. Alfaro clearly has the inside information and knowledge of these tests and his pleading will surely fall on deaf ears as they will bury this like they have everything else. Just like the validity of the common core state standards and the tests that go along with them. AIR, Pearson, SBAC, MI, DRC, ETS, WestEd, MP, Questar, Jeb Bush and his foundations (both of them), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Walton Foundation, Broad Foundation- each and every one of them – they are all connected and share the same goal of reaping heavy profits while conducting the largest experiment in the history of the US on our children. They have defrauding this country and every state out of millions of dollars and have to this day – never produced validity reports except for the ones that were written by the very people who work for them that proclaimed the standards and tests valid and instead continue to perpetrate this fraud against millions of American school children and taxpayers. As more and more people become aware and the opt out movement gains strength – their credibility is starting to fall apart. Thanks to the heroic people like Mr. Alfaro who can no longer sit back and allow this to continue. Thank you to Mr. Alfaro for standing up. I said in one of my blogs that we just need one person, one hero to stand up. Unfortunately, due to the named foundations and entities that own the mainstream media – we may not get anyone with real credibility to investigate this but I sure hope someone does.

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  1. FBI Raids Former College Board Exec’s Home After ‘Massive’ Breach - Breitbart

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