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Report Finds Investment in Teacher PD Ineffective; Ed Leaders Respond

Report Finds Investment in Teacher PD Ineffective, Ed Leaders Respond

A recently released study from TNTP, a national non-profit organization, has revealed that despite big investments involved with providing workshops and other opportunities, teacher professional development programs are largely ineffective.

"School districts participating in the study invested an average of $18,000 per teacher, per year in development, but only three out of 10 teachers improved substantially over a two- to three-year period. The study also found no evidence that any particular approach to or quantity of professional development consistently helps teachers improve their instruction," said the organization in a statement.

The report, titled The Mirage: Confronting the Hard Truth About Our Quest for Teacher Development, looked at three large school districts and one charter school, accounting for the development of over 10,000 teachers to arrive at its conclusions.

In general, the study found that despite an increase in investment in programs, districts did not enough to outline professional goals for teachers to improve.

"School systems are failing to help teachers understand how they need to improve—or even that they need to improve at all. For example, less than half of all surveyed teachers agreed that they have weaknesses in their instruction," the organization's statement said.

TNTP made several recommendations based on its findings for the future of professional development programs for teachers:

  • Redefine 'development' by setting clear, measurable goals for teacher improvement.
  • Reevaluate existing development efforts and make necessary changes to meet that new definition of teacher improvement. Pilot new approaches and reallocate resources toward what works.
  • Reinvent how they support great teaching at scale. Consider investments in recruitment, compensation, and smart retention policies, and reimagine teacher preparation, how teacher jobs are structured, and how schools are designed.

After the release of the report, 25 top education leaders responded to the findings in partnership with Learning Forward and representing the National Education Association, American Federation of Teachers, Center for Teaching Quality, Center for American Progress and Council of Chief State School Officers among others.

The partners released a statement through Leaning Forward to address TNTP's findings, where they explained their collective effort to reform professional development for the past year and discussed what needs to be done going forward.

"[T]he system for professional learning must be reimagined. While we have thought for years that we know what it takes to help people improve, the evidence doesn’t support it. We must get serious about creating the systems of support that our teachers and students need most," the statement said.

The leaders supported in their statement TNTP's suggestions for reforming teacher PD programs moving forward.

Read the full report here and comment with your thoughts below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

08/05/2015

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