The simple answer to the Why is there a [teaching] shortage? question is the economy – but there’s more to it, including trends, particularly standardized testing, that Woods says have all but taken the heart out of education.
Too Many Tests
“Most teachers went into the profession because they love children,” says Woods. “They want to have that impact. They want to have time to build relationships with each and every child. Unfortunately, since the conception of No Child Left Behind and the standardized testing movement that really took hold across the nation, we began to lose some of that.
“You began not to even hear the word ‘child’ at all. It became ‘subgroups,’ it became ‘percentages,’ it became ‘data points.’ We’ve almost dehumanized education,” he adds. “The environment we were setting up in Georgia took some of the heart out of education. It was a pretty sterile environment, not what teachers envisioned.”
Read Teachers: Wanted, Needed, Underappreciated on Georgia Trend at: http://www.georgiatrend.com/October-2016/Teachers-Wanted-Needed-Underappreciated/
The Georgia Department of Education's annual Educating Georgia's Future booklet provides an overview of education in Georgia -- where we are and where we are going.
Superintendent Woods speaks out in support of Board rule that would provide the opportunity to eliminate up to 5 high-stakes tests for high school students
I want to speak for a moment about State Board Rule 160-3-1.-07. You’re voting today to post this rule for public comment.
With the exception of three courses, this would exempt students from taking the end-of-course test for a core subject course if he or she earns a post-secondary credit in that course.
This would solve a problem that’s been brought to us many times by parents and educators in the field: students taking college courses through Move On When Ready/dual enrollment are essentially tested on a class they didn’t take.
If approved, this rule would be another step toward a responsible, common-sense approach to accountability.
It would end duplicative testing – in other words, students having to take a college-level final exam AND a Milestones test.
And it would provide the opportunity to eliminate up to five high-stakes tests for students.
Superintendent Woods and State Board of Education adopt resolution calling for a 'Renewed commitment to literacy and foundational skills'
Op-ed by Superintendent Woods: Renewed commitment to literacy and K-5 foundational skills
It’s true there are no silver bullets in education – no single change that will set every student on the path toward success. What’s needed, instead, is a holistic approach. We must focus on the whole child, on each child, and all the interlocking elements necessary to equip them with the skills they need.
One of the most essential changes we can make on behalf of Georgia’s students is renewing our commitment to literacy and K-5 foundational skills. The ability to read on grade level by third grade, along with proficiency in math by fifth grade, is the first crucial step toward future academic attainment. We have to get it right in the early grades if students are going to achieve later on.
Governor Nathan Deal and First Lady Sandra Deal have, through their advocacy, laid a firm foundation for an increased focus on literacy. Partnerships with the Get Georgia Reading Campaign and Georgia Public Library Service are game-changers in this regard as well. For the first time, a network exists that is expanding the capacity of Georgia’s education system and allowing educators and communities alike to explore new methods of increasing literacy.
At the Georgia Department of Education, we’re working each day to leverage these resources to the very best of our ability and the maximum benefit of Georgia’s students. We’re working closely with our Regional Education Service Agencies (RESAs) to help train and equip school districts with the tools necessary to make improvements in the classroom. OurStriving Readers grant provides funding to schools to ensure all children – birth to 12th grade – are able to read on grade level and communicate effectively with others.
Efforts funded by this grant have shown strong results, and we plan to apply for grant funds through the LEARN Act to expand and strengthen our efforts in this area.
Through our agency strategic plan, we’re setting a course to raise and develop viable academic standards and increase the percentage of K-5 students with a strong knowledge of foundational skills and concepts.
Read more: http://www.gadoe.org/External-Affairs-and-Policy/communications/Pages/PressReleaseDetails.aspx?PressView=default&pid=463
Georgia's School Superintendent
Richard Woods has over 22 years of pre-k through 12th grade experience in public education. > Read Full Bio