Take action on professional development

Published on Thursday, February 7, 2013

In October, the Department of Education (DOE) introduced proposed changes to Professional Development (PD) regulations that would significantly diminish your ability to make decisions about the professional learning you need to best address the needs of your students.

The proposals include:

  • Changing the 100-hour PD requirement to a 20-hour (or more in “low-performing” districts) per year requirement. This takes away your ability to pace your own professional learning according to your own needs in a given year.
  • Eliminating the school and local professional development committees and giving control of the planning and implementation of professional development to the school principal and superintendent. The replacement committees would be wholly selected by and run by administrators.
  • Replacing the Advisory Committee on Professional Development for School Leaders and Professional Teaching Standards Board (PTSB), in which teachers nominated by the association make up a majority of the members, with a commissioner-appointed “Professional Learning Committee” in which the teacher voice is minimized.

Here’s what you can do

Write to the State Board of Education. Make your letter personal. Include your own stories or experiences, and those of colleagues.

  • Explain why professional development is important to you and what you consider when making decisions about your own professional learning.
  • Explain to the State Board why you want professional development to remain teacher-led and not administrator driven. Describe significant positive changes that have resulted in professional development in your district since the PTSB was created in 1999 and the PD initiative was implemented in 2000.
  • Express your concerns about a statewide “Professional Learning Committee” appointed by the commissioner. A board with a teacher majority, selected by professional associations, such as NJEA, should be making decisions about and influencing teacher professional development.
  • Explain the importance of having a school and local professional development committee (LPDC) that consists of teachers who are elected by the majority association rather than hand-picked by administrators.

How to contact the State Board.

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