Decentralisation of Professional Development: Teachers' Decisions and Dilemmas

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This study examines professional development activities under the omnibus Kentucky Education Reform Act and finds them lacking. It addresses three related questions. Are Kentucky teachers, in fact, in charge of their own professional development? What are the formats and foci of the professional development opportunities teachers are planning? How is professional development changing in the increasingly high–stakes environment created by the accountability movement? Analysis of professional development activities reveals systemic weaknesses that are counterproductive to improving teacher quality. Chief among these weaknesses are system–wide ignorance of alternative professional development activities and a failure to define professional development engagement beyond the cataloging of clock–hours or seat time. Analysis also reveals interesting differences in professional development according to school level and district size.

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