Bagwell College of Education welcomes faculty back to campus
Georgia State School Superintendent delivers address KENNESAW, Ga. (Aug. 12, 2015) – With…
Georgia (Aug 12, 2015) — Georgia State School Superintendent delivers address
KENNESAW, Ga. (Aug. 12, 2015) – With less than a week to go before Kennesaw State University’s Bagwell College of Education opens the doors of its new building to students, Dean Arlinda Eaton welcomed faculty back to campus Wednesday, with special guest speaker Georgia State School Superintendent Richard Woods.
“I think all of you know this year, by design, will be focused and productive as in previous years,” Eaton told the assembled crowd of faculty. “We really need to be energized for this upcoming year, so I hope you are relaxed and well rested after your summer vacations.”
In introducing the superintendent, Eaton said she invited Woods, a Kennesaw State alum, to campus because of his desire to collaborate with higher education in making P-12 education in Georgia better.
“There are new standards that call for us to strengthen and deepen P-12 partnerships in ways we maybe haven’t before,” she said.
With 22 years of experience in education, Woods said his Bagwell College education has served him well.
“A lot has changed since I went to school here; life has changed, campus has changed,” he said. “You’re about to have your first football game. When I came here, the only sports were softball and basketball – that’s all. But, I don’t want to focus on the past. We’re really about the future, the future of public education.”
Woods said he believes the greatest days in public education are still ahead, but for that vision to become a reality, Georgia schools have to focus on improving reading and literacy. Math education also needs to improve, he said.
“These are two foundation skills our children have to have a mastery of to be successful in life,” he said. “Roughly 40 percent of students have to take remedial reading or math in college. Our kids need to be better prepared. I want our kids to go into your classes ready to learn.”
Noting that college students, in turn, become the state’s workforce, Woods said those in P-12 need to work with those in higher education for better outcomes.
“How I see education is we sail together or we sink together,” he said.
Another area of concern for the superintendent is the high turnover rate among new teachers.
“It’s tough to be a first-year teacher,” he said. “First-year teachers have the same look probably as the freshmen who arrive here on your campus.”
By their fifth year, 50 percent of teachers quit, Woods said, noting the stress inherent in high-stakes testing is taking its toll.
“The accountability system in education has become about the testing, and education is about more than testing,” he said. “It’s about the child, and I’m trying to bring that back.”
Tests are supposed to help improve educational outcomes, not punish students or teachers, Woods said.
“I think if we keep our focus on our children, we’ll be OK,” he said. “I think if we keep our focus on our teachers, we’ll be OK.”
--By Jennifer Hafer
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers close to 200 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the second-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 126 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.