Parents, educators discuss 'Every Student Succeeds Act' in Muscogee County

Parents, educators discuss Every Student Succeeds Act in Muscogee County

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - With a new law to reshape Georgia's educational system, Muscogee County parents and educators gave their opinions on the future of their children's education.

The Every Student Succeeds Act was signed into law in December 2015, and replaces the No Child Left Behind Act.

The community was invited to the fifth of eight feedback sessions in Georgia, which will be held Wednesday night, on what they can expect and would like to see with this new law.

"Until we put the student as number one and meeting the needs of that student, we will not be successful in improving the education no matter how much we spend," said a concerned participant.

Several opinions and ideas were tossed around on how to improve educational needs of students under the Every Student Succeeds Act.

"We've been given a lot of flexibility from the federal government as far as putting Georgia's footprint so we are taking advantage that's been given to us," said Richard Woods, State School Superintendent of Georgia.

Woods is going around the state, holding listening sessions like the one at Northside High School in Columbus.
So far, he's heard several concerns from parents they want to see change for their child.

"There's always the concern of the amount of testing and how we are using testing in the state of Georgia and how that relates to ESSA but also trying to address needs of the total child-not just coming to school taking a test but maybe fine arts," said Woods.

Every Student Succeeds Act allows states and local districts to develop plans addressing standardized testing and low performing schools.

"The difference between ESSA and No Child Left Behind is the flexibility the federal government is giving us. It's now coming from the bottom up instead of the top down and very reflective of the local concerns and local control," said Woods.

Information from the listening session will be used to help write a state plan to be presented to the federal government for approval.

People were also able to learn more about the five areas of the act such as accountability, assessment, education of the whole child, federal programs and teacher and leader development.

The Every Student Succeeds Act takes full effect in the 2017-18 school year.

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