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Richard G. Innes
Education Analyst
Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions

Richard Innes brings a uniquely independent viewpoint to public education research. Approaching education studies from a parent’s point of view, Innes deploys background and experience that few parents can match. As an Air Force instructor pilot in 1971, Innes was a member of the initial cadre of program developers during the introduction of automated teaching machines into the Air Force’s pilot training program. Innes developed courseware for this new technology using some of the same standards-based education theories now being applied to public education. Thus, Innes has long-term experience with these theories exceeding that of many professional educators. A graduate electrical engineer with both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, Innes also understands analytical research and technical reporting.

Innes has made a number of important discoveries involving education. At the very beginning of his studies in 1994, he identified an incorrect science question from Kentucky’s public school assessment. The error had been missed by many teachers as well as managers responsible for administration of the assessment. Innes discovered the problem after the question had been released as an exemplary practice problem for schools. Innes identified many other erroneous questions from Kentucky’s assessment after this first discovery. In the mid-1990’s Innes also performed some of the earliest independent studies on the validity of Kentucky’s dropout figures and graduation rates. Questions he raised have dogged these figures ever since, culminating in a legislative call for an independent audit in August 2003. Innes also was the first to publicly highlight severe imbalances in the distribution of resources in Kentucky’s Extended School Services program, which encompasses the state’s tutorial and remedial programs. Innes showed in 1995 that fourth grade students were receiving a seriously disproportionate share of the total effort deployed in this program. The discovery led to a major article in the Lexington Herald-Leader newspaper, and in succeeding years, distribution of these services improved.

Innes attained national attention with his stunning discovery in 1999 that Kentucky’s notable improvement between 1994 and 1998 on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 4th grade reading assessment was apparently due to a 250 percent rise in the state’s exclusion of students with learning disabilities. This discovery has had long-term impacts on the NAEP, and professional studies still continue today in an effort to clearly define the exact amount of inflation caused by these sharp exclusion rises.

News articles including comments about Innes’ work and his letters to the editor have appeared in a number of papers including USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, Education Week, The Lexington Herald-Leader, the Louisville Courier-Journal, the Kentucky Post, and the Kentucky Enquirer. He is currently affiliated with the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions of Bowling Green, Kentucky.

© 2003 All content is owned by Richard Innes, unless otherwise specified. All rights reserved.
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