State School Superintendent and Georgia Department of Education seeks feedback from Columbus parents, community members

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COLUMBUS, Ga- Georgia’s public schools are going through a redesign that gives districts more power to make changes at the local level. The State School Superintendent was in Columbus Monday night to meet with parents, educators, and community leaders.

Superintendent Richard Woods was here to get input on the Every Student Succeeds Act, the replacement to the “No Child Left Behind” Act. Under this new plan, learning becomes more school-system based instead of one-size fits all. Monday night, our community had a chance to have its say.

Students are usually the ones raising their hands in school, but Monday night at Northside High School in Columbus, parents and community members had a turn.

“But we can put all the stuff in the world in a school, and without educators that are ready for those innovative, passionate lessons and opportunities, we are not going to utilize the stuff to engage our students and incite their passion,” said Superintendent Woods.

This gathering is one of eight stops on State School Superintendent Richard Woods Georgia-wide tour to gather feedback on the Every Student Succeeds Act—or ESSA for short—that now replaces the No Child Left Behind law.

“It is definitely improved. It offers us a lot more flexibility at the state and local level which we have not seen really since the inception of the Early Childhood Secondary Education Act of 1965,” said Superintendent Woods.

“Well, my kids are in public school here in town, and I want to know what’s going on, and I want to know how funding works, and how they are going to be affected and impacted because education is important,” said Columbus parent Travis Hester.

That’s why Travis Hester made sure he made time to attend Monday’s ESSA forum.

“I’m eager to learn about what it’s about. I’m sure the intentions are great. We just want to make sure the results actually meet up with those intentions,” said Hester.

That’s why the forum was designed to provide parents the opportunities to attend break-out sessions to offer suggestions to improve schools—and the state superintendent says those suggestions will be taken seriously.

“Because your voice does matter because it has an impact, really, on our most precious impact, and that’s our children,” said Superintendent Woods.

If you missed tonight’s forum, State Superintendent Woods encourages parents and community members to reach out to his office via email, Facebook, or Twitter. He stressed there is still time for everyone to offer input.

ESSA plans will be put in place in Georgia beginning next academic year.

It’s important to point out while school districts are able to have more freedom in localizing education plans, they are still held to federal accountability standards.

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