Behind the Headline: Billions of Dollars in Annual Teacher Training is Largely a Waste

On Top of the News
Study: Billions of dollars in annual teacher training is largely a waste
The Washington Post | 8/4/15

Behind the Headline
What Do We Know About Professional Development?
Education Next | 2/19/14

A new study by TNTP finds no evidence that any kind of teacher professional development consistently helps teachers improve in the classroom.

“We are bombarding teachers with a lot of help, but the truth is, it’s not helping all that much,” said Dan Weisberg, TNTP’s chief executive. “We are not approaching this in a very smart way. We’re basically throwing a lot of things against the wall and not even looking to see whether it works.”

A review of existing research on teacher professional development conducted by Tom Loveless in 2014 found the same thing. “The latest disappointing findings join a large but methodologically weak corpus of research on PD,” he wrote.

He concluded

When I hear people say that we know what good PD is, or that we know how to improve teaching but lack the will to do so, my initial reaction is that people who say such things are engaged in wishful thinking. We are flying by the seat of our pants. Teachers who seek to improve their own practice are primarily guided by common sense, intuition, word of mouth, personal experience, ideologically laden ideas about progressive or traditional instruction, the guidance of mentors, and folk wisdom—not a body of knowledge and practice that has been rigorously tested for its efficacy.

— Education Next

Last Updated


Notify Me When Education Next

Posts a Big Story

Business + Editorial Office

Program on Education Policy and Governance
Harvard Kennedy School
79 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone (617) 496-5488
Fax (617) 496-4428

For subscription service to the printed journal
Phone (617) 496-5488

Copyright © 2024 President & Fellows of Harvard College