Thanks to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which replaced No Child Left Behind (NCLB), parents and teachers will get a chance to have their perspectives considered for Georgia education policies. State Superintendent Richard Woods has put together seven committees to consider feedback on ESSA implementation and to help write the state plan.
Cobb Superintendent Chris Ragsdale is serving on the state advisory committee and Marietta Superintendent Emily Lembeck is a member of the educator and leader development working committee. According to Georgia’s ESSA website, “The six working committees and the advisory committee will work ‘to get the state in the best position for our teachers and students’ as well as make sure the state’s education practices align with the new law’s standards.”
ESSA, as opposed to NCLB, seems to be an overall push to localize education decisions. School officials have stated that the replacement shifts a lot of policy decisions to states, away from the U.S. Department of Education.
Now, apparently continuing with the shift toward localization, some of those decisions will be further extended to the input of parents, teachers, and community members. This decision should be widely accepted, especially considering the recent criticism of lack of community input in schools, most notably by the Black Lives Matter Coalition.
It’s important to note, however, that this shift toward greater input from parents and community could be dealt a major blow if Gov. Deal’s school takeover proposal succeeds on Nov. 8. The school takeover plan would silence parents and hand over local control of so-called “failing schools” to an unelected, unaccountable state “education czar.”
Parents and teachers have long agreed that schools should be a place where students look forward to going because they’re being intellectually stimulated and encouraged. With greater community control over what is actually happening in schools and the decreasing value of test scores for educators, we’ll continue to get closer to that goal.