to the 3rd Edition
The field of staff development has trouble changing (an irony, because change is its business); and yet it is poised to change as never before because of increases in the knowledge base and pressures from within the field and outside it.
Inside the field just about everyone is weary of brief workshops that do not affect practice. Yet, they continue to dominate offerings. Similarly, what Michael Fullan has termed a “bombardment” of initiatives to improve schools—initiatives that exist largely on paper and absent of the staff development to make them work—has worn us all to a frazzle. Yet the bombardment continues.
Outside the field the publicity given the National Report Cards and the cross national studies of educational achievement has unnerved the public and led to the “high stakes” testing programs that are making test-preparation a major curriculum area.
Yet, slowly and clumsily, knowledge continues to accrue and school districts here and there generate fine programs that provide satisfaction and growth to professional educators and increased learning to students. Staff development ultimately depends on the individual development of all its members, as described by Joyce, Calhoun, and Hopkins (1999), in The New Structure of School Improvement.
Staff development knowledge has reached the point where any school district can build a staff development program that enhances professionalism and supports curricular and instructional change that accelerates student learning in the personal, social, and academic domains. Just imagine, for example, what we can do with social studies in a post–September 11, 2001, world.
Let's just do it!