Friday, February 13, 2009

Fair Test and the George Soros Agenda

Mary Grabar, at CNS News, offers an insightful examination of how the radical left infiltrates and undermines America's educational institutions:

If one were to judge by the number of times the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, more commonly known as Fair Test, has been quoted in reference to test-optional college admissions policies, one might conclude that this organization is the nation’s preeminent authority on the issue. Seeing a quotation from one of the group’s staff in publications ranging from USA Today to the Chronicle of Higher Education is nearly as predictable as the nostrum about death and taxes.

College admissions professionals also pay homage to Fair Test. The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) encouraged its members to consider Fair Test suggestions like “‘examin[ing] whether first-year grade point average is too narrow a criteria for evaluating the utility of standardized admission tests,” when its commission on standardized testing issued its report on the matter last fall.

The issue of college admissions has significant academic and economic importance. One presumes citations on such matters would be reserved for learned individuals and organizations with considered and scholarly perspectives bolstered by data and rigorous analysis. But a closer inspection of Fair Test’s staff credentials and finances raises significant questions about the organization’s bona fides and legitimacy.

When asked about funding sources for Fair Test, the group’s public education director, Robert Schaeffer, acknowledges support from the Ford Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, and the Rockefeller Family Fund.

But curiously absent from Schaeffer’s recitation of financial backers is George Soros, the Hungarian-born billionaire who has bankrolled such notorious projects as and a plethora of other left-wing causes and politicians. Grant records from Soros’ New York City-based Open Society Institute reveal that Fair Test has received $165,000 from Soros’ Institute since 2004.

Fair Test also lists among its sponsors the Woods Fund of Chicago, which includes among its board membership William Ayers, the domestic terrorist who, as a member of the radical Weather Underground, played a role in the bombing of New York City police headquarters in 1970; the bombing of the U.S. Capitol in 1971; and the 1972 bombing of the Pentagon.

The grant records and other proceedings of the Woods Fund have remained elusive since the disclosure in 2008 of Ayers’ dealings with President Barack Obama during their time together on the fund’s board. To this day, the extent of support for Fair Test from Ayers or the Woods Fund remains unknown.

As for Schaeffer himself, his role with Fair Test is not entirely clear. Schaeffer is often referred to as Fair Test’s “public education director,” and he is the group’s most frequent spokesperson. But tax records, corporate documents and other materials paint a more muddled picture. As recently as September 2008, the left-leaning Ploughshares Fund listed Schaeffer as president of Public Policy Communications, a Sanibel, Florida-based public relations firm.

Schaeffer’s firm describes itself as a provider of “strategic communications for progressive causes, candidates, and socially-responsible businesses” yet lists no expertise in matters related to higher education or college admissions policy. Schaeffer’s clients of late include International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Families Against Incinerator Risk and the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research.
To get a feeling for the agenda that Soros, Ayers, and Fair Test are promoting, be sure to check out Andrew McCarthy's piece, "Why Won’t Obama Talk About Columbia?"