Here’s your chance to tell state superintendent what you think about new federal education law

Richard Woods
Richard Woods

Georgia schools superintendent Richard Woods will lead a public forum next week in Columbus to help the state develop its plan to implement a new federal education law.

The forum, 6-8 p.m. Monday in Northside High School, 2002 American Way, is one of eight sessions the Georgia Department of Education is scheduled to conduct around the state to explain and receive comments and questions about the Every Students Succeeds Act.

President Barack Obama signed ESSA into law in December. ESSA replaced the No Child Left Behind Act, which was enacted in 2002 under President George W. Bush. NCLB required states to create accountability systems for their public schools, including mandatory tests that expected all students to achieve the same academic standards. By 2010, educators had convinced enough legislators that too many NCLB requirements and their rapid pace had become unrealistic, and the Obama administration joined the bipartisan effort to improve the law.

As a result, ESSA reduces the number of mandatory statewide standardized tests and increases the emphasis on college and career readiness. Instead of the federal government setting student performance targets and basing school ratings on only test scores, ESSA allows states to formulate their accountability system based on multiple measurements. Instead of one-size-fits-all intervention for struggling schools and students dictated by the federal government, ESSA allows states to develop their own interventions.

“For all those invested in the future of Georgia’s education system – and those interested in a more holistic approach for students – whether you’re a parent, a student, an educator or a community member, I strongly encourage you to offer your feedback as we develop our ESSA state plan,” Woods said in a news release.

The Muscogee County School Board has moved this month’s meeting to Tuesday at 6 p.m. so it won’t conflict with the forum.

For more information about ESSA and the state’s process to develop its plan, visit Folks who don’t attend the forum still can participate by emailing their comments to

Wednesday’s forum in Fulton County, 6-8 p.m., will be streamed live.