Professional Development and Education Improvement?
This chapter examines the idea that professional development (PD) is an effective education-improvement tool and raises questions about its ability to change teacher behavior and impact student achievement. It provides an overview of the logic behind a claim of PD efficiency and a summary of high-profile attempts to legislate PD to fix perceived deficiencies in the American education system. The chapter presents two small-scale, experimental studies that have demonstrated teacher change and student gains and might serve as approaches to job-embedded PD efforts. It reviews proven strategies and often overlooked alternatives to PD that do increase organizational effectiveness to help teachers teach and improve student achievement. The chapter shows these alternatives are logical, effective alternatives to expensive, ineffective PD that often removes teachers from their students and classrooms. Articles and ideas for education improvement perpetuate, with unsupported assertions, that PD is required.