The U.S. House of Representatives is poised to consider H.R. 5: Student Success Act, a bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), currently known as No Child Left Behind. As the bill makes it way toward the floor this week, several members of the U.S. Congress submitted amendments to the legislation for consideration. Rep. Jared Polis offered an important amendment that significantly improves the definition of professional learning in federal education law.
Rep. Polis's amendment is research-based and aligns with the internationally recognized Standards for Professional Learning. The proposed definition emphasizes collaborative, school-based professional learning based on student and educator performance data. This type of professional learning has the power to dramatically improve teaching effectiveness and student achievement at the largest scale.
Rep. Polis's definition of professional learning is the nation's greatest hope for ensuring that every teacher engages in effective professional learning every day so that every student achieves. Democrats and Republicans alike should rally around this amendment because it promotes the type of professional learning most likely to improve educator performance. Furthermore, the amendment and definition put control and responsibility for improving teaching effectiveness back in the hands of local educators.
As Congress continues its deliberations on the reauthorization of ESEA in the coming weeks, be sure to share with your congressperson your support for this amendment. Policy at local, state, and national levels impacts practice, and policy measures that recognize and demand effective professional learning are critical to transformed practices in schools.
M. René Islas
Director, Learning Forward Center for Results