Better late than never, but still nauseatingly pathetic. And you can bet that Joel Packer has his focus groups out in Deleware to gauge the public reaction to the new ads. From the News Journal:
As students return to class this month, Delaware teachers are spending big bucks to spread their back-to-school message: "A student is more than a test score."
Last week, 44 billboards went up statewide, soon to have their message reiterated in a two-week radio spot that will hit the airwaves Aug. 20.
Delaware State Education Association, the state's largest school employee union, will spend $49,000 on the campaign.
The message is a shot at the federal No Child Left Behind law, now up for re-authorization. DSEA leaders' aim is to let families know that teachers know testing is not teaching and that testing is not learning.
"Teachers in public schools are caring people who understand that the goal is students who are productive, hard-working, responsible citizens who live up to their potential," spokeswoman Pamela Nichols said in an e-mail. "Testing is a tool to evaluate teaching and learning -- it's not the goal. But that is what it has become under NCLB."
Frederika Jenner, a sixth-grade science teacher at H.B. du Pont Middle School in the Red Clay Consolidated School District, said it is an important message.
"There has just been such an incredible focus on scores, on individual student scores, on class scores, on school scores, on using scores to prove or disprove a teacher's effectiveness," she said. "Ever since the first day I stepped in the classroom, I understood my accountability. My greatest accountability is to those kids sitting in front of me and to their families.
"Most of the teaching staff gets that and responds to it."
"This focus on testing as the be-all and end-all, as the No. 1 indicator of the success of a student or the success of a teacher or the success of a school has distracted us," she said.
Nichols said educators want students to love learning, not love being tested: "For many students, an overemphasis on testing will, in fact, kill their love of learning."