CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A West Virginia teachers union leader and the House of Delegates speaker said Monday that students' aren't being educated as well as they should be because they're forced to take more and more tests.
Christine Campbell, president of the West Virginia American Federation of Teachers, held a news conference in the House of Delegates conference room at the Capitol to announce an effort "to reclaim the promise of public education."
Education, Campbell said, is the "means by which all children can achieve their dream. Our collective responsibility is to give every child the opportunity to work in West Virginia."
Campbell believes "promoting smaller class sizes at all levels" will help students.
"Arts, music and physical education are also necessary to educations students," Campbell said. "The current fixation on testing is not working." She said the overemphasis on testing was sparked by the federal No Child Left Behind legislator backed by President George W. Bush in 2001.
Since 2003, the state has used the West Virginia Education Standards Test, often called the WESTEST, to evaluate students, and their teachers, from the third through 11th grades.
House of Delegates Speaker Tim Miley, D-Harrison, said at the Monday news conference that he supported Campbell's efforts.
"It is important that we reclaim the promise of education. As time has gone on, we have put more burdens on our teachers to test kids, rather than to educate them.
"Assessments are best used to guide instruction, not punish the system," Campbell said.