November 13-- State School Superintendent Richard Woods is running for re-election next year and paid a visit to the November meeting of the Toombs County Republican Party.
Three area school superintendents were at the meeting to hear Woods' comments. (L-R) Toombs County Superintendent Richard Smith, Mr. Woods, Vidalia School Superintendent Garrett Wilcox and Tattnall County School Superintendent Gina Williams.
Woods has 22 years experience teaching in the Irwin County school system and wants to see less mandated testing in Georgia schools,"We require more mandated testing in Georgia than what the federals require. What's the purpose of a test? I'd like more of a diagnostic type of testing throughout the year. Right now we have what I call the autopsy report at the end of the year. Ultimately it's about our children and making sure they are learning the content of material and not the test. I think that to better address their needs, we need to look at it throughout the year," he said.
One thing Woods likes in our public schools is the emerging career academy concept much like the Southeastern Early College and Career Academy in Vidalia which includes students from four different school systems.
"For Georgia to be successful, we've got to have a diverse workforce. Not everyone needs to go to a university and not everyone needs four classes of subject 'X'.' Also, giving kids a choice is important. Some kids have a desire to go to a university, some want to have a technical experience and some want to go into the military or go straight into the workforce. If we give them a strong background of learning, they can make that choice. My job is to try to that because at the end of the day there is a lot of opportunity for technical work throughout the state right now," he said.
Two potential Democrat opponents to Woods are Sid Chapman of Clayton County, current president of the Georgia Association of Educators, and Otha Thornton, a Fort Stewart defense contractor and immediate past president of the national Parent-Teachers Association.