Saturday, August 27, 2011

NCLB is a State Issue?

This is latest in my ongoing communications with Pennsylvania Senator Robert Casey's office. In the reply from Casey's office you'll see that they are trying to say that NCLB and RttT and all of the forced standardized tests are "state issues."

So even though the state testing is Federally imposed it's a state issue. Huh? Feel free to contact the Senator's office. Maybe you'll have better luck than me.

Dear Ms. Bierly,

It has now been six months since we (Michele Gray and I) met to talk to you about Senator Casey's position on high stakes testing. This is my third email reminding you that we still have not heard anything from the Senator's education staff. We hope that the Senator is still interested in our cause to restore American public education and take it away from the corporate reformers that are trying to dismantle our public schools using high stakes testing. If the Senator is interested we have now started a national movement to have parents "Opt Out" of state tests this school year. It seems we can no longer wait for elected officials to listen to teachers and the parents of public school children. This is sad.

Please visit

As you know, the movement to dismantle public schools is a bipartisan effort. Therefore, from our point of view, it doesn't matter if you're a Democrat or a Republican. This may come as a surprise to Senator Casey (since he typically receives support from public teachers and working class parents). But the Senator can no longer assume he has a voting block locked up. If he is supportive of the high stakes culture of testing and corporate reform then he is no different than any Republican candidate. I hope Senator Casey and his education staff find time to respond to our constant attempts at beginning a constructive dialogue.

Thank you for your time,


I will get back to you Monday. This is really a state issue. We are limited in what state issues we can get involved in. My cell is 8142216567 if you want to reach me next week. Talk to you Monday. Thanks for the email. Kim
Kimberley Bierly
Regional Field Representative
U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey Jr.
814-357-0314 office


  1. There are 2 basic interpretations that I see of Kim Bierly's response:

    1) She is ignorant about NCLB & standardized testing;

    2) She may mean that the actual implementation of testing, mandated at the Federal level via NCLB, is a matter to be handled at the state level, and that she/Casey aren't really interested in helping you. In other words, punting the ball to the other team (whoever is responsible at the state level).

    Either way, it sounds like you are getting the run-around, and that Casey can't be bothered with such issues.

    If she does ever get back to you, I suggest directly and in no uncertain terms making it clear to her that teachers are fed up with this testing nonsense coming down on high from the Federal level, and that, if Casey is concerned about getting reelected, he had better seriously tend to the issues a portion of his base (teachers) is seriously concerned about.

    You more or less do mention this in your email, but perhaps this concept could be emphasized more firmly. This is easier said than done, as you don't want to give an already reluctant-to-help politician's staffer any excuse to write you off. But, sadly, there is always the need to keep in mind that most politicians' #1 concern is reelection (/END cynicism).

  2. Hmmm. US Senator Lindsey Graham's office (SC) gave me the same response - this is an issue that would have to be handled on the state level. That said, not a single state legislator responded to my plea for help regarding the tests.