The school system currently requires teachers to have 20 hours of professional development a year. On Wednesday, the board’s instruction committee discussed cutting training time to 10 hours a year.
Last month, the board approved a budget for next school year with $104 million in cuts, including seven furlough days for teachers. A proposal calls for three of those furlough days to be designated teacher professional development days, said Gloria Talley, deputy superintendent of teaching and learning.
To make up for that lost time, administrators are proposing teachers see to their professional development during the school day and in between instruction time.
Teacher Magazine, in an article titled, "Becoming a Culturally Responsive Teacher," reported that Ron Walker, executive director of the Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color, publishers of "Standards for Schools Educating Boys of Color" has this to say about professional development:
How important is professional development for teachers? Is good professional development key to undergoing some of the reforms suggested in the report?
Absolutely. Good, solid PD is the lifeblood of creative and successful schools because they are on the razor's edge. It keeps teachers sharp. Good, well-developed, thoughtful PD that takes into account where people are across the continuum of their learning styles and experiences validates and affirms. It keeps people fresh. It gives people a chance to create and contribute to their own development.
I would contend professional development needs the people who live in that school to be the stakeholders. They need to play an active role in developing it which is why having learning communities that are really functioning entities makes sense.
So, what are we to think? This is yet another example of how the "emergency" budget cuts will effect students in the classroom, continuing our school system's slide down a very slippery slope. As I understand Gloria Talley's budget-cutting proposal, teachers will be expected to "see to their professional development during the school day and in between instruction time." When exactly, is that?