I moved up a level. Finally, a call from Casey's DC office. According to the legislative aide, Senator Casey supports the re-authorization of NCLB and looks forward to "next generation" assessments. When I explained that Pennsylvania teachers and parents might not be that supportive of the Senator's position, his aide pointed out that DC can't just give money away without any accountability measures. When I explained that the National Academy of Sciences found NCLB, accountability and incentives to not work and may have even set education back she told me that "next generation" assessments will remedy the poor tests being used in states for NCLB purposes. I asked her if these new assessments have been validated and checked for reliability issues. I didn't get much of a response. I asked her if it was Okay for drug companies to release new drugs to the public as soon as they have been formulated. Of course she said no. These drugs would have to be tested to see if they actually work and if they cause unwanted side effects. I asked her why Senator Casey supports using tests that have no established validity or reliability on children, teachers , and schools? She said I had a good point. She then wondered when some research might be conducted on teaching and learning. I almost lost it.
Below is the email I received after the phone conversation.
Hi Dr. Slekar,
It was good to talk with you today. As I said, you raised some very important issues with No Child Left Behind that have concerned the Senator for some time. While we may not agree on everything, I look forward to talking through these issues and gathering your feedback as the Senate moves forward with NCLB reauthorization.