September 29, 2017 11:07 AM
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.