Education Week recently sent an email to promote their new online sortable Professional Development Directory. Having been a subscriber to Ed Week for decades, I have always found the composite of events calendars and other special issues as informative as the weekly news. Not so much on this one.
Perhaps subtle and unintended, the mechanics of the Professional Development Directory is a sad sign of the times.
Means to search the data base offer two variables: Topic and Company.
I have taught and led in four school districts with remarkable models of professional development. The teachers and administrators who designed and implemented these models are professionals, remarkable, dedicated, career-learning professionals. A public school district is not a company.
In all four districts, we had as remarkable a relationship with local colleges and universities and developed intern programs, implemented Professional Development School models, and established routine dialogue between academics and practitioners. Washington University, Maryville in St. Louis, University of Missouri-St. Louis, Amherst College, University of Massachusetts, Bank Street College, Manhattanville College, and Teachers College are not companies.
For decades, teachers and administrators have learned with colleagues at NCTE, NCTM, NCSS, NSTA, AASA, AERA, Learning Forward and dozens of professional organizations. Content area and research professional organizations are not companies.
Not-for-profits, consortiums, higher education, public schools, world cafes, local study groups… even shared blogs and clouds where learning occurs are not companies.
I hope that Ed Week's choice of a data base heading is not an indication that they, too, hav not sold out that corporate driven education is where we are heading.
(and, no I don't think this being overstated on what might seem trivial. Ten years ago Ed Week would not have clustered professional development providers as companies).