Governor Rejects Superintendent Woods’ Plan To Measure Success

We have a battle over how to document success in Georgia’s public schools, and it pits Governor Nathan Deal and the State Board of Education versus the State School Superintendent, Richard Woods. At the crux of the issue is the federal “Every Student Succeeds Act”, which requires states to file a plan with the Federal Department of Education on how success will be attained. To be attained, however, SOMETHING must be measured.

From the front page of today’s AJC, we have the background:

Deal wrote to Woods that Georgia’s plan, required under the Every Student Succeeds Act, “falls short in setting high expectations for Georgia students and schools” and is too restrictive on how local districts run their schools.

One Georgia Board of Education member said the conflict between Deal and Woods is a terrible sign for the state’s public schools. “Ignoring the input of our governor to the ESSA plan to the point where he did not sign it is not how one moves education forward,” said board member Larry Winter, from North Georgia.

At Thursday’s board meeting, Winter had strong criticism for Woods’ leadership of Georgia’s education department.

Woods sent the plan to U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Sept. 18, the same day as Deal’s letter.

It’s highly likely that many will attempt to distract from the fundamental argument here by stating that the Federal Government has no place meddling in the state’s education plan. That’s a fine red herring, but there’s still a real and material fundamental difference in philosophy at work here.

Richard Woods is a career educrat. His version puts more control in Atlanta, and less flexibility for local systems. That’s one issue. More fundamentally, is Woods’ insistence that success will continue to be measured by inputs, not outputs. This is classic ivory tower education management.

From the AJC article, Woods wants success points to be awarded for number of AP classes offered. Educrats always want to be measured by inputs. And when the output product fails, they always want to demand…more inputs.

The argument that testing has become too intrusive to instruction is salient, but the number of tests have been reduced. Under Wood’s tenure, the number of subjective evaluations of educators has also been reduced.

The real argument here continues to be one of accountability. Georgia DOE only wants to be held accountable for what is offered, but continues to shun any evaluation of what these offerings actually produce.

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Saltycracker
Saltycracker

Good DEAL.

TDubs
TDubs

If Johnny can’t read and Mary can’t do math then pretty watercolors from art class for the refrigerator or clapping rhythms from music class shouldn’t mask those failing scores. The first step in any twelve step program is admitting you have a problem not hiding the problem.

Ellynn
Ellynn

In defense of art dweebs and band nerds everywhere… Being able to paint water colors means knowing how to mix colors, ratio out water, develop proportion, absorption rates and bleed factors, perspectives angles ect. This takes being able to execute science and math skills correctly. If you have a good art teacher, she throws in the history lesson or quizzes you on the arts of the flower. Music class requires learning how to read the notes on a page. All rhythms are technically factions. You have be able to do divisions based on a time signature. When you read music,… Read more »

FreeDuck
FreeDuck

Also, studies have shown that music education improves math outcomes. I’m not a teacher, but I have kids, and I know that teaching is not the act of putting knowledge inside a child’s head while they sit in a chair. It’s all connected.

bethebalance
bethebalance

Music, math, and language are all positively interrelated.

Benevolus
Benevolus

With the notable exception of the Little River Band. No redeeming value there.

bethebalance
bethebalance

If I were an evaluator, I would consider the # of classes to be an “activity” or a very short-term output (the inputs being staff, funding, etc.) But the # of classes is certainly not an outcome. Perhaps the Supe is confused between outputs and outcomes. Outputs would be the # of classes, but the outcomes would be how well the students do in the classes (assuming that actual learning is the desired goal). But the argument is clear: You can’t measure student learning or success by the # of classes. Maybe the # of class offerings could be used… Read more »

Dave Bearse
Dave Bearse

measure performance would seem to be better choice of words than document success