Professional Development for Teachers is Vital to School Success

I was appalled by Arnie Duncan’s recent comment that professional development dollars are being “wasted” in school districts across the country.  While there may be districts out there who still use their money for “drive by” professional development which we know is ineffective, most of the districts that I see are using job-embedded coaching and targeted PD to help teachers improve their skills.  As a result of these erroneous ideas, the feds have cut Title IIa funds to schools this year.  This is a travesty at a time when so many demands are being placed on teachers to help children reach higher and higher levels of performance.  The recent cheating scandal in Atlanta Public Schools is a perfect example of what happens when teachers feel pressured to show high scores but are still at a loss as to how to help struggling readers meet the goals.  Taking away professional dollars  at a time when teachers need targeted and specific support to reach the goals of NCLB  is exactly the opposite of what should be happening.  Clearly, Arnie Duncan needs to spend more time visiting schools where PD is effective and  money used wisely instead of listening to teachers from the” doom and gloom” crowd who resist changing their old ineffective ways to methods that are proven effective.

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