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ERIC Number: ED564605
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Jun-5
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
How State Takeover School Districts Shake Up Teacher Professional Development
Pennington, Kaitlin
Center for American Progress
Over the past few decades, many state departments of education have taken over low-performing schools or districts as a school turnaround strategy. Recently, that strategy has shifted to creating new districts--managed by the state--that include schools and parts of districts that face challenges in performance. The governance structure brings schools together based on similar needs, rather than on geographic proximity. This new state takeover strategy varies in terms of the level of state control and local influence, and its success has been mixed or cannot yet be fully measured. Nonetheless, it has sparked new thinking and innovation in states and districts throughout the United States. Schools or districts taken over by state departments of education operate under a governance structure that grants them freedom from some of the restrictions placed on typical U.S. school districts. This freedom has allowed school and district leaders in state takeover districts to experiment with everything from school staffing, to the school calendar, to curriculum and lesson planning. This issue brief focuses on another area of innovation for state takeover schools and districts--teacher professional development. As a growing body of evidence points to the overriding importance of teachers in promoting student achievement, professional development that supports teachers in meaningful ways has also become a hot topic in policymaking circles at the district, state, and federal levels. Yet ensuring that teachers receive effective professional development with the resources available is a challenge all districts face, and there is a long history of states and districts using funds ineffectively in this area. Because state takeover districts are given the opportunity to rethink district policies and practices, often with new leadership in place, this brief takes a closer look at how several state takeover districts govern teacher professional development. A close look at state takeover districts in Louisiana, Michigan, and Tennessee reveals the following trends in the governance of teacher professional development: (1) complete autonomy for charter schools; (2) partnerships with outside service providers; and (3) connecting teacher evaluation and professional development. Lessons learned from the innovation in these districts could influence professional-development spending and practices in districts throughout the United States. While it is too soon to tell if the professional-development governance systems in state takeover districts are effective, they are worth noting--if for no other reason than that they break the mold. Contains endnotes.
Center for American Progress. 1333 H Street NW 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20005. Tel: 202-682-1611; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Center for American Progress
Identifiers - Location: Louisiana; Michigan; Tennessee