The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) emphasize more critical thinking and less routine learning in English language arts and mathematics than previous state standards. These increased expectations for students require commensurate increases in the knowledge and skills of teachers. In this article, Elizabeth Leisy Stosich examines the experience of two high-poverty schools that participated in a district professional development (PD) initiative designed to support teachers in meeting the goals of the CCSS. A small group of teachers from each school attended PD, learned collaborative planning and inquiry practices, and were expected to lead this work at their school. Key findings suggest that PD is more likely to enhance teachers’ capacity for improving instruction in high-poverty schools when part of a comprehensive system of external supports, including:
Job-embedded support and accountability for engaging in instructional and collaborative practices, and,
Direct support to principals in using PD as part of a schoolwide strategy for improvement.
A new book, Global Education Reform: How Privatization and Public Investment Influence Education Outcomes, provides a powerful analysis of these different ends of an ideological spectrum – from market-based experiments to strong state investments in public education.