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​Superintendent Woods on ESEA Reauthorization: We must find a balance between accountability and responsibility

MEDIA CONTACT: Matt Cardoza, GaDOE Communications Office, (404) 651-7358, or Meghan Frick, GaDOE Communications Office, (404) 656-5594,

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January 26, 2015 – State School Superintendent Richard Woods today sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, members of Georgia’s congressional delegation and members of the U.S. Senate and House Education Committees about the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). In his letter, he calls for a balance between accountability and responsibility with regard to testing requirements.


“With the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act comes an opportunity to address the valid concerns of students, parents, teachers, and communities regarding the quantity and quality of federally mandated standardized tests,” Superintendent Woods wrote in the letter. “As a nation, we have surrendered time, talent, and resources to an emphasis on autopsy-styled assessments, rather than physical-styled assessments.  With the reauthorization of ESEA comes an opportunity for a real paradigm shift in the area of assessment.”


“Instead of a ‘measure, pressure, and punish’ model that sets our students, teachers, and schools up for failure, we need a diagnostic, remediate/accelerate model that personalizes instruction, empowers students, involves parents, and provides real feedback to our teachers. We need greater emphasis for a federally supported but state-driven formative assessment model that identifies the strengths and weakness of students, coupled with a less intrusive, student-sampled or grade-staggered summative assessment model for the purposes of state-to-state comparisons and world rankings.”


“We must find a balance between accountability and responsibility. We must give our teachers the tools and trust to be successful or our current path to hyper-accountability will continue to set our students and teachers up for failure.”


You can read the full letter here.​