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Big P.D. Report Coming Out


Professional development is one of the most difficult teacher issues to write about well. It sits right at the nexus of policy and practice, the research on PD is spotty, the common delivery methods ("spray 'n pray" workshops) are positively archaic, and the really good examples are so classroom-based that it's hard to talk about them in broad strokes.

So I'm excited about a report coming out next week. It's expected to synthesize much of the research on staff development, draw from other countries that have had success developing teachers, and situate the U.S.'s current efforts in the context of those findings.

Linda Darling-Hammond, who spearheaded much of the report, gave some teasers about the findings back at the NSDC conference last December. Check those out here.

There's an interesting political subtext here, and that's that Arne Duncan, the newly appointed secretary of education, will be speaking at the release event next Wednesday. As will Ms. Darling-Hammond. Will we get a staffing announcement? Perhaps an outline of Mr. Duncan's teacher-quality priorities?

Teacher Beat and Education Week are on the case, so stay tuned.


Link is broken. (Enjoy your work.)

Clay, thanks for bringing this to my attention. Link is now fixed.

I am disappointed that Arne Duncan has not spent time as a classroom teacher. I have tremendous respect for Linda Darling-Hammond because she is experienced and respected for her work on the tiered educational levels that make her credible. She understands policy, practice and teacher effectiveness, as it relates to all of our kids. After traveling abroad myself researching education for kids from 3-15 in one lower SES region of one European country, I realized how diverse America truly is, and how one-size fits all doesn't always translate to understanding our children and our teachers.

Linda's research and her dedication to moving the profession forward is without question... stellar.

I truly hope that future appointments bring more than administrative and policy backgrounds. We can ill afford to have rookie teachers learning from each other when many of our veterans, who have not only the professional development knowledge and skills but the 'wisdom of practice,' are leaving the profession through retirement or disillusionment.

There is a silver lining in this economic situation if we can call tap into it and move away from some of the highly touted short term teaching organizations. Train and ear-mark funds and coaches to truly develop career changers and those in transition (due to economic downturn) for long-term teaching careers.

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