I have finally consumed every word of this massive Education Week package on professional development, most of it by Stephen Sawchuk, along with Bess Keller and Mary Ann Zehr (and others I have probably missed). Thank goodness for it. The topic is all but ignored in the policy conversation and journalism, yet so important, as PD swallows so much money and time.
“Swallow” has a negative tinge to it, which might not be fair. Except that it too often is. There are many people out there in the policy world who think professional development is a waste of time and money, because mediocre teachers cannot be improved. That’s an awfully cynical view, and even if you don’t share it you know that teachers have to waste a lot of time in training that is not well thought-out or implemented. This set of articles sheds some light on the bad vs. good—there is good out there; I liked this piece on Lexington, Mass.—and most of all, the inability to even determine which is which.
My favorite quote in the project: “There’s probably not a district out there that doesn’t think it’s doing PLCs,” one superintendent said. YES. And there’s probably not a journalist out there that hasn’t written about a district adopting PLCs. But writing clearly about what that means and doesn’t mean in reality? We need more of that, to say the least.
Warning: Education Week is not good about getting articles in front of the paywall, so you might not be able to read all of this. Then again, if you are really interested in education, you should be subscribing to EdWeek anyway.