Heather C. Hill reported recently that the “professional development “system” is broken. It relies on short-term, episodic, and disconnected professional learning for teachers—the kinds of training programs that are unlikely to positively influence teaching and improve student achievement.
“Perhaps the most damning indictment of PD [professional development] is that even teachers themselves regard it with contempt,” writes Frederick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute.
Both of these critiques miss a vital point with their hermeneutics. Professional development has not existed as a system. It is at best a random collection of efforts by individual writers, teachers, critics, and organizations to share their views about education. Imposing the image of a failing system does injustice to those efforts.
The suggestion of a single system of professional development violates the assumption that participants in education as a social institution volunteer, they are not conscripted. The single system view appears to impose a political agenda on educators.