Teaching Profession Opinion

The PD Black Hole

By Sara Mead — August 06, 2010 1 min read
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Linda Perlstein has a smart post calling on journalists to pay more attention to the group of “professional development consultants” education gurus who are largely unknown in national media and education policy circles, but who rake in tons of $$ in district professional development funds every year. Good idea!

One quibble, though. Linda writes: “So much journalistic focus right now is on funds the U.S. Department of Education is giving out, but if you want to follow dollars, you should look, too, at the money your school districts pour into educational consultants and related professional development.” Excellent point! But, in fact, a lot of that money that districts are pouring into consultants and PD actually is ALSO “funds the U.S. Department of Education is giving out,” because a lot of professional development funding comes from Title II of ESEA. And too much of that funding seems to be going into a black hole where we don’t know all that much about what it’s really being used for and it doesn’t seem to be accomplishing a lot. My colleague Andy Rotherham and CAP’s Robin Chait and Raegen Miller have written about this at length, and have good proposals for improving the effectiveness of Title II funds when Congress gets around to reauthorizing ESEA.

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The opinions expressed in Sara Mead’s Policy Notebook are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.