Decatur Neighbor | Georgia Superintendent Richard Woods sees 2017 – and beyond – as being transformative years for schools across the state.
Most important for progression, he said, is the way education and economic development work together.
“Our students are graduating and seeking careers in industries that didn’t even exist in our state years ago,” he said. “In education, we need to consider expectations 10 and 20 years down the road.”
At a recent open door discussion, hosted by the Dunwoody Perimeter Chamber Partners in Education and Workforce Development Council, Woods highlighted the accomplishments, struggles, plans and goals for Georgia schools.
"Harder doesn’t mean smarter"
When looking at the state’s educational improvements, Woods said rigor should not exceed relevance. “Are we where we need to be? No, but we’re trending upwards,” he said. Points of accomplishments include an all-time high in graduation rates, rising SAT and ACT test scores, especially among minority students, and an increase of enrollment for students in advance placement and career and technical education classes.
Woods said the biggest challenge faced by the state’s education system is poverty. “If we want to attract businesses, we have to offer something great, which I think is a well-balanced education,” he said. “We need to understand that not everyone has the desire to go to a four year university.” By encouraging more schools to be science, technology, engineering, and math (or STEM) certified, working with local schools and districts to align courses with industry demands in the area and moving away from a regulatory model system, Woods said he believes schools, businesses and the economy will help each other succeed and thrive.
“If we want to attract businesses, we have to offer something great, which I think is a well-balanced education."
-- Richard Woods, Georgia's School Superintendent
Georgia's School Superintendent
Richard Woods has over 24 years of pre-k through 12th grade experience in public education. > Read Full Bio