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Education stakeholders study state policy and collective bargaining language

Report highlights need for collaborative professional development


DALLAS - August 09, 2010 -

A new report, “Advancing High-Quality Professional Learning Through Collective Bargaining and State Policy,” calls for more collaboration and a common set of standards for developing policy on professional development for teachers. The study is the result of a three-year partnership between the National Staff Development Council (NSDC), National Education Association (NEA), American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). This report explores how states and districts can support high-quality professional learning opportunities for educators.

Professional development—or professional learning—refers to activities teachers undertake to enhance professional knowledge and skills or career opportunities, with the goal of improving student learning.

The report contains recommendations and examples of legislation, regulations, administrative guidelines, and collective bargaining language in 12 policy areas.  Members of the task force who worked on the report hope it will be used to guide the development of collective bargaining agreements, memorandums of understanding, and state policies that strengthen professional development in order to improve teaching and learning.

After examining state policies and local bargaining agreements, the task force drew some broad conclusions:

  • There is wide variation in state policies and collective bargaining language pertaining to professional development across states and districts;
  • The quality of professional learning for teachers is improved when it is embedded in state policy and collective bargaining; and
  • Collaboration among stakeholders at the school, district and state level is needed to create and sustain policies that promote high-quality professional development for teachers.

“The project is a landmark collaboration among school, district and state stakeholders to develop policy recommendations about professional development for effective teaching and student success,” said Stephanie Hirsh, NSDC’s executive director. “The four national organizations formed a productive partnership that serves as a model for how state and local stakeholders can join forces to create and promote collective bargaining agreements and policies to strengthen and enhance the quality of teaching and student learning.”

“High-quality professional development is necessary to ensure that all teachers are able to meet the needs of diverse student populations, effectively use data to guide reform, engage parents, and become active agents of their own professional growth,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “This report demonstrates that professional development is most effective when it is incorporated into collective bargaining agreements and policies that drive the day-to-day work of teachers.” 

Six states were represented on the task force: Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas. To read the full report and review the task force recommendations, please visit www.nsdc.org/news/advancinghighqualityprofessionallearning.pdf

About National Staff Development Council
The goal of the National Staff Development Council is to ensure that every educator engages in effective professional learning every day so every student achieves. NSDC is the only education association working solely to increase student achievement through more effective professional development. For more information about the impact of high-quality professional learning, visit www.nsdc.org.

About National Education Association
The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.  For more information, visit www.nea.org.

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Contacts:  NSDC: Joellen Killon (303) 432-0958, joellen.killion@nsdc.org
                         NEA:  Michelle Hudgins (202) 822-7649,   mhudgins@nea.org