Magazine article The Learning Professional

Hard Times Call for Best Practice

Magazine article The Learning Professional

Hard Times Call for Best Practice

Article excerpt

In "How to Manage Your Business in a Recession" in the January 2009 issue of Fortune magazine, Geoff Colvin observed, "For vittually all companies, a critical part of the core is the continual development of employees. Yet it's remarkable how many businesses cut ttaining and development in a downturn. The best never do."

Those of us in education can translate Colvin's contention to, "It's discoutaging how many school systems cut professional development in a downturn. The best never do."

School systems across the country are struggling to balance budgets, often with professional development being among the fitst things to go. When times are tough and everything is on the table for scrutiny, we have an opening to take the following steps.

1. Advocate for professional learning as an indispensable part of our business. What school system does not claim to have improved student learning as its highest priority? If that is tt ue, why cut funding for something that, when done right, clearly improves student learning? With the release of NSDCs report, Professional Learning in the Learning Profession, the research base for the link between professional learning and student learning is clearer than ever before. The first key finding in the report states, "Sustained and intensive professional development for teachers is related to student achievement gains." Share this peisuasive study with principals, superintendents, boatd membets, and community membets.

2. Advocate for best practice. If we are going to argue that professional development is critical, then we better be certain that we are supporting practice that affects student learning. …

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