ERIC Number: EJ987596
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Reference Count: N/A
Professional Development: New Terrain for Big Business?
Gabriel, Rachael; Lester, Jessica N.
Rethinking Schools, v26 n4 p51-54 Sum 2012
It has become increasingly popular to say that individual teachers are the single most important factor affecting student achievement. This is hastily followed by pointing out the need to weed out "the ineffectives." Now this rallying cry is being used by educational consulting firms that position themselves as "partners in reform" to sell remedial, one-size-fits-all programs for professional development (PD). These canned PD programs contribute to a vicious cycle in which teachers appear to be failing and in perpetual need of more remediation. One example is from Tennessee, which has a multimillion-dollar contract with one of these firms--Battelle for Kids (BFK), a "national, not-for-profit organization that provides strategic counsel and innovative solutions for today's educational improvement challenges." BFK has contracts in a dozen states and several countries, so BFK's contract with Tennessee is an example of a much larger--and growing--problem with canned PD. As the authors warn against BFK's "solutions," they suggest that now is the time to rethink teacher PD. Systems of inequity in K-12 schools do not start and end with the school day. They are sustained by approaches that position teachers as failing, deficient, and in need of remediation, instead of as willing and capable of collaborating, investigating, and problem-solving. If students deserve a liberating pedagogy that empowers them to think independently and creatively, so do teachers. (Contains 5 notes.)
Descriptors: Educational Improvement, Professional Development, Educational Change, Remedial Instruction, Elementary Secondary Education, Academic Achievement
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Tennessee
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Race to the Top