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Op-Ed by Superintendent Richard Woods
goal as State School Superintendent is to improve outcomes and expand options
for Georgia’s public K-12 students. That won’t happen without strong
communication, meaningful collaboration, and child-focused, classroom-centered
can only move education forward by working together. Partnerships between the
Governor’s office, State Board of Education, General Assembly, educators,
parents, students and other stakeholders are crucial. Relationships need
repairing – some relationships need starting – and I’m committed to the task.
we work collaboratively, we must keep the focus on students, directly
addressing the challenges they face. On the campaign trail, I heard from many
whose students struggled with integrated math. Together with the Governor’s
office and State Board, we’re set to allow schools to offer integrated or
traditional math courses.
many students, academic success has been eroded by a weak foundation of the
fundamentals and a one-size-fits-all approach. I applaud the Governor’s push to
award math, science or foreign language credit for Computer Science courses,
and will work to expand this concept. We should also offer a wide range of
diploma seals, from Career Pathways to honors course completion.
students deserve the very best standards. Proposed revisions to the Common Core
Georgia Performance Standards are a step in that direction, but public concerns
remain. Georgia must retain the authority to make changes to the standards as
and social studies standards should be Georgia-owned and Georgia-grown. And the
Department should establish K-5 Foundational Standards that ensure our students
are on a firm footing for academic success. We must emphasize early detection
of reading deficiencies, and professional development that equips teachers to
meet those needs.
and teachers are suffering from an overemphasis on test scores, a burden we
must aggressively seek ways to reduce. I’m calling on the General Assembly to
explore ways to do just that, and will request a one-year moratorium on the use
of test scores in the College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI).
child deserves a great teacher, and we must make sure our measurements of
teacher effectiveness are fair. Under the current tool, administrators are
struggling with time demands and loads of paperwork. We have to find the
balance between accountability and responsibility.
also need to share our students’ and teachers’ successes. In the near future,
I’ll launch a public awareness campaign highlighting best practices in
Georgia’s schools. I’m committed to hearing what students, educators, parents
and other stakeholders have to say.
our greatest constitutional responsibility is funding a quality education for
every child. I applaud the Governor and General Assembly’s commitment to this,
demonstrated by 2014’s sharp increase in education funding. I will work to
ensure that as many dollars as possible flow into education – and that those
funds directly support our students’ success.
have a history of pulling together and finding the opportunities within our
challenges. No opportunity is greater than the 1.7 million students and
100,000+ teachers in our classrooms. With a collaborative effort, real
communication, and classroom-centered, child-focused policies, we can recognize
their full potential.
Richard Woods, a
22-year public school educator and former small business owner, is Georgia’s