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Arizona Teacher Lauded for Ad

Chandler teacher Susan Thomas has made it to Oprah, sort of.

Thomas, 36, a fourth-grade teacher at Conley Elementary School and president of the Chandler Education Association, appeared during June in a TV ad critical of the No Child Left Behind law.

The ad, which was shot in May and features Thomas speaking directly to the camera, was sponsored by a national advocacy group, Communities for Quality Education.

"A friend told me she was watching Oprah and saw me three times," Thomas said.

The message was much more important than the messenger, Thomas said.

"Teachers feel so much pressure (for their students) to succeed on tests," she said, "that vital aspects of curriculum aren't getting the attention they deserve.

Thomas said she believes all the emphasis on testing should be backed up with resources and training.

Thomas, who has taught for 12 years in the Chandler Unified School District, was recruited for the ad by the Arizona Education Association. She said she has received only positive comments from her peers.

"I'm proud to say the things that so many have been saying in their circle of colleagues," she said. "I'm glad I got to be the person to do it."

Thomas' ad ran only in the Phoenix area. A similar spot ran in the Tucson area, featuring Rosemary Rosas-Delich of Apollo Middle

— Doug Carroll
Arizona Republic


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