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Superintendent Dr Oatts on U.S. Dept. of Education assessment decision
Conyers, Ga. –  Rockdale County Public Schools (RCPS) Superintendent Dr. Terry Oatts released a statement on the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) decision not to grant federal assessment waivers for 2020-21:  

“U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy Devos’ announcement that the USDE would not be granting federal assessment waivers for the 2020-21 school year was extremely unfortunate and with all due respect very misguided. That said, I commend State Superintendent Richard Woods for his strong condemnation of this decision. As Superintendent of Rockdale County Public Schools, I was an early advocate for our state pursuing an assessment waiver for this current school year and shared this with both Superintendent Woods’ and Governor Kemp’s offices last spring. I am very encouraged by Superintendent Woods’ resolve to mitigate the impact of this misguided decision from the federal government. With most districts starting this current school year virtually; with COVID-19 still active though declining in our state; and in light of some residual instructional gaps that some of our students have experienced since last spring, adding the burden of high stakes state assessments is counterproductive. I am not at all opposed to accountability for achievement outcomes, but our students must have a level playing field. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated challenges, there is currently no level playing field for our students. The prudent course of action would be to grant the waiver so as to put the emphasis on teachers providing appropriate instructional support for students to catch them up, close any existing gaps, and accelerate them as needed.”

Dr. Oatts will be reviewing the district’s strategic waiver to determine if there is local flexibility to mitigate the impact of the USDE’s decision.

According to a statement from State Superintendent Richard Woods, the Georgia Department of Education will be releasing more information on recommendations and actions to reduce the pressure of high-stakes testing in Georgia classrooms for the 2020-2021 school year.