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Educational policy analysis archives.
n Vol. 4, no. 2 (February 17, 1996).
Tempe, Ariz. :
b Arizona State University ;
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida.
c February 17, 1996
Includes EPAA commentary.
Staff development policy : fuzzy choices in an imperfect market / Robert T. Stout.
Arizona State University.
University of South Florida.
t Education Policy Analysis Archives (EPAA)
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1 of 16 Education Policy Analysis Archives Volume 4 Number 2February 17, 1996ISSN 1068-2341A peer-reviewed scholarly electronic journal. Editor: Gene V Glass,Glass@ASU.EDU. College of Educ ation, Arizona State University,Tempe AZ 85287-2411 Copyright 1996, the EDUCATION POLICY ANALYSIS ARCHIVES.Permission is hereby granted to copy any a rticle provided that EDU POLICY ANALYSIS ARCHIVES is credi ted and copies are not sold.Staff Development Policy: Fuzzy Choices in an Imperfect Market Robert T. Stout Arizona State Universitystout@asu.edu Abstract: It is argued here that staff development in the pu blic elementary and secondary schools of the United States is misguided in both policy an d practice. In its current form it represents an imperfect consumer market in which "proof of purcha se" substitutes for investment in either school improvement or individual development. A pol icy model based on investment in school improvement is shown, in which different assumption s about how to improve schools are linked to different alternatives for the design and implem entation of staff development. These are argued to be based on an investment rather than con sumption model. Public policy about staff development for teachers is confused by both lack of clear purpose and by unsatisfactory decision criteria. Lanier and Lit tle (1986) concluded that "staff development has not generally been the product of coherent poli cy, nor has it been systematically integrated with institutional priorities for curriculum and in structional improvement" (p. 562). Consequently, policy makers have little opportunity to assess either costs or benefits of what is a large public investment. Nonetheless they continue to view staff development-sometimes called continuing education, in-service training, or profe ssional development-as a basic tool for changing teacher behaviors, and therefore schools. The view may be misplaced or wrong-headed but it prevails.But fundamental policy choices exist. If they were made apparent they might lead to modifications in public policy decisions about inve stment in staff development. Mitchell (1986), for example, argued if school leaders believe that improving individual skill or motivation among teachers is more likely to improve performance than close supervision, staff development may be
2 of 16a good school improvement strategy. Further, when l eadership assumes that the average level of teacher performance is shaped more by cultural beli efs and subjective feelings than by objective work conditions (like class size or textbook qualit y) staff development may become a favored tactic.Although current staff development policy is muddle d at best, and out of control at worst, policy makers continue to assert the value of the enterpri se. Almost all states in the United States require some form of continuing education for teach ers. The major national reports on teacher reform, Tomorrow's Teachers (Holmes Group, 1986) an d A Nation Prepared: Teachers for the 21st Century (Carnegie, 1986), emphasize the need f or teachers to continue to learn. Virtually every school district in the country provides some form of staff development for teachers. Salary schedules, merit pay schemes, and career ladders th roughout the country reward teachers for participation in staff development.TEACHER MOTIVATION TO PARTICIPATEBut why would teachers bother to participate? At le ast four motives underlie teacher decisions to do so. One is salary enhancement. Participation pay s off. Automatic salary raises often accrue quickly, and almost always eventually. Eligibility to compete for merit pay or to climb a career ladder are often tied to "demonstrated commitment t o personal and professional development" (read participation in staff development). Another motive is certificate maintenance. State policy makers assume, whether rightly or wrongly, that per iodic retooling is desirable and that continuing in the occupation should be dependent on it. A third motive is career mobility. Teachers take courses and degrees and participate i n workshops to build resumes. Having done so, they attempt to leave education for other occup ations or to pursue other careers within education, administration being the notable example None of these three motives, in itself, necessarily leads to better performance. Sometimes participation will do so, but nothing exists in the system to ensure, or perhaps even encourage, it. If a teacher's skills improve, and if the enhanced skill can be shown to result in higher levels of student performance, or any other measure of school output, then policy assumptions have been satisfied. But on the face of it, the evidence is m issing that staff development, as currently arranged, can produce these links.Teachers talk about the fourth motive, but in vague terms. Almost always the language is of gaining new skills/knowledge to enhance classroom p erformance. The motive is both noble, and appropriate, from a public policy perspective. The problem, as will be argued, is that the chances of policy-appropriate motive connecting to availabl e, timely, and intellectually honest sources are little more than accidental.A SHORT EXCURSION INTO COSTAlthough computing the costs of all of this activit y is beyond the scope of this paper, a review of the sources of cost may be instructive. The costs a re both direct and indirect. Direct costs accrue as a result of direct payment to service providers. State-level costs occur when the state education agency (1) provides direct staff development assist ance, (2) funds project-related efforts by local education agencies or by private providers, or (3) processes advanced certification requests. Every state in the country employs department of ed ucation specialists who provide direct service to school districts, and each state has officials w ho process information about teacher progress toward this or that advanced certificate. County of fices of education (or some other intermediate
3 of 16unit) often provide direct services which parallel or supplement those of the state education agency.Local education agencies also incur direct costs. S maller costs manifest in one or two days a year set aside as "in-service days." A higher level of c ost in incurred when a local education agency decides to stress a particular theme. In this scena rio, a private consultant (or district employee) provides a series of workshops and other training e xperiences. Perhaps the greatest direct expenditure of local funds attaches to general scho ol improvement efforts, in which teachers are instructed in techniques, planning, curriculum deve lopment, and a host of other topics associated with a general model of school change.Additional direct costs are incurred when substitut e teachers must be hired to replace teachers who are attending staff development activities. Alt hough much staff development takes place before and after regular school hours, sufficient a ctivity occurs during the work day that this cost is noticeable. A final direct cost is that borne by teachers. As they advance in certification or obtain advanced degrees, teachers incur outof-poc ket expenses for college and university course work. Although the costs of such courses are recove red manyfold (given contemporary salary schedules), teachers nonetheless incur them.The most expensive indirect cost of staff developme nt rests with typical school district compensation systems. Under these, teachers get aut omatic pay raises for completing courses and workshops offered by whatever agencies are recogniz ed by the school district. A related indirect cost is that public subsidies are provided for many of the providers. Public universities and colleges may enjoy subsidies of 30 percent or more of the true direct costs of instruction. Presumably, independent colleges and universities s how profit, but even they receive public subsidy through the use of school-district faciliti es or by hiring full-time employees of local school districts and paying them modest wages.Although beyond the scope of this work to establish the total cost of all of this is not trivial. Little (1988) estimated that in 1986-87 staff devel opment costs (direct and indirect) in California were about $368 million, or about $1700 per certifi ed staff member. This figure is consistent with that reported by Miller, Lord and Dorney (1994 ), who estimated costs between $1700 and $3500 per teacher in four school districts. THE PUB LIC INTEREST Although pubic interest in staff development is long-standing, shifts of focus and authority have been common, reflecting, perhaps, a continuing uncertainty over purpose, and discomfort about quality. Two general policy goals have been associated with staff development in this century; general upgrading of teacher skills and preparing teachers to accomplish new tasks (Stout and Wigand 1982). The locus of policy interest has shifted fro m the states and state interests in insisting that teachers be college graduates, to the federal gover nment, and back to an alliance between state and local policy makers. Federal interest was at it s peak during the years from about 1956 to about 1975, during which time staff development was used as a mechanism to produce a general reformation of America's schools. Better curricula and better personnel were thought to be much needed and to be possible through federal intervent ion in training. Now state and local policy makers have received and responded to the mandate t o recapture excellence and are using staff development in a host of ways. At the core of these efforts is a belief that staff development can produce school improvement.Over the past sixty or so years, policy about staff development has not been guided by a single consistent purpose. Row and column salary schedules have been used to improve the teaching force in a general way. Some targeted efforts have been implemented in response to changes in
4 of 16federal policy directions, and periodic efforts hav e been made to link staff development to systematic school reform efforts. But, overall, the se efforts have been without general direction and the coordination required to achieve some clear purpose. THE MARKET SYSTEM FOR STAFF DEVELOPMENTThe lack of policy focus in staff development is co nfounded by the nature of the market system through which it is provided. The multiple motives of teachers to participate have been described and the assertion made that only one of the four (t he most difficult to track) has a clear potential link to improving school performance. In addition, the system of providing staff development is not unlike a giant academic bazaar. Colleges and un iversities compete fiercely for clients. In metropolitan areas of any size, tens of colleges an d universities may be offering courses with the same title at the same time. Thousands of other pro viders crowd the marketplace as well. Local education agencies, county and state education agen cies, private consultants, publishers and manufacturers of instructional materials, and purve yors of all sorts of answers to education concerns and problems set up their stalls and attem pt to attract paying customers. This market is largely unregulated with respect to quality, though it is regulated in part with respect to form. The absence of quality controls is a result of both the absence of a clearly understood purpose and the motive systems that induce teachers to participate.States have attempted to address the question of qu ality and return on state subsidy by regulating processes and procedures such as the number of requ ired contact hours for courses or mandating that examinations be given in them. Some states hav e, from time to time, mandated content, particularly in response to a hot curricular issue. In other states, state agency employees have entered the marketplace as competitors. While these actions have encumbered and complicated the marketplace, they are misplaced because they ar e based on a misunderstanding of the operating market mechanism.Staff development is a consumer market, albeit an i mperfect one. In a true consumer market quality derives from consumer expectations of benef it and subsequent consumer choice. Bad products are driven out by consumer disinterest bec ause the product is expected to produce utility for the purchaser. Products which do not are not pu rchased. In the staff development market, however, the inherent utility of a course or activi ty is irrelevant. The utility does not lie in the experience, but in evidence that the experience has been purchased. The consumer market analog is the "proof of purchase" which can be redeemed fo r a rebate or premium. In the case of staff development the "proof of purchase" is a transcript showing course completion, or a degree, or a certificate of attendance. The "proof of purchase" is traded for utility. Consequently, quality of the experience is easily sacrificed by participants for convenience or ease of access or free parking or a host of other considerations. Three of the motives to participate (salary enhancement, certificate maintenance, career mobili ty) are satisfied by showing sufficient numbers of proofs of purchase. At the point of "cas hing in," proofs of purchase from one experience or course or institution are as good as those from any other. The market then is a high volume, high cost, consum er driven one in which utility is disconnected to product and current regulatory atte mpts are misplaced because they do not affect the primary currency.APPARENT CONSEQUENCES OF THE CURRENT MODELTeachers in large numbers continue to participate i n staff development, and providers have
5 of 16multiplied as creative people continue to develop n ew delivery systems. Yet research evidence continues to be elusive, with no demonstrated link between teacher performance and attainment of advanced courses (Glasman and Biniaminov, 1981). School quality is not predicted by the numbers of teachers with advanced preparation. Sust ained effort to use staff development in the context of general school reform has been lacking. As Guskey (1986, p.5) put it, "Nearly every major work on the topic of staff development has em phasized the failings of these efforts." Stallings and Krasavage (1986) argue that even high ly directed training in specific instructional skills conducted over a period of several years did not result in sustained changes in teaching behaviors. Slavin (1989) placed the ineffectiveness of staff development in the larger context of fads in education. Fenstermacher and Berliner (1985 ) have written about the lack of evaluation models for understanding the effectiveness of staff development, and have proposed a way to begin to do so. Finally, data from the METROPOLITAN LIFE SURVEY OF THE AMERICAN TEACHER (1986) indicate that about 75 percent of teachers wished to influence the design and conduct of staff development programs, but only abo ut 30 percent felt that they did so. A recent summary of staff development says that it is an "en terprise that is fragmented, not frequently engaged in on a continuing basis by practitioners, not regarded very highly as it is practiced, and rarely assessed in terms of teacher behavior and st udent learning outcomes." (Howey and Vaughn cited in Guskey, 1986, p.5)It is quite difficult to imagine what kind of evide nce would address the general question of the level of success of staff development efforts in th e United States. At the most abstract level perhaps staff development has been successful. Over the years teachers have been able to adapt technique and curricula to changes in policy mandat es. If schools have changed at all in fifty years, one must admit the possibility that staff de velopment has contributed to these changes. In addition, policy makers must see some benefit in st aff development because it continues to receive funding, and policy makers continue to worr y about its content, quality, and form. At more concrete levels, the evidence is much less certain. Because staff development is so pervasive, no large-scale studies of it effects hav e been done. The assessments of Teacher Corps and the Teacher Centers did not prove compelling en ough to sustain them. Cuban (1984) argued that "... over nearly a century, the data show stri king convergence in outlining a stable core of teacher-centered instructional activities in the el ementary school and, in high school classrooms, a remarkably pure and durable version of the same s et of activities." (p.238) Aside from the effect of staff development efforts, their quality is a major issue. Shoddy work is tolerated perhaps because teachers have come to exp ect little from staff development, the "proofs of purchase" continue to be available and no profes sional standards are available to assess the activity. The system is so diffuse that word-of-mou th assessments may or may not affect subsequent provider behavior. Often enough, evaluat ion is conducted against teacher perceptions of usefulness or likability, but almost never again st a standard having to do with school improvement. Finally, it is probably fair to say th at entertaining presentations on "hot" topics get far better marks from teachers than the content or consequence would justify. The profession seems to have agreed tacitly that since staff devel opment is not to be taken seriously anyway, great variations in quality are tolerable.A second serious problem has to do with quantity. N o evidence exists to allow a sensible policy decision about the amount of staff development need ed to accomplish any given purpose. This is so in part because activity and purpose are so seld om connected. Private providers charge hourly rates, so the amount of staff development is a func tion of a district's willingness to spend. The provider simply matches the quantity of the service to the contract price. Universities and colleges operate on the basis of credit hours, with course material tailored to fill up the number of
6 of 16contact hours required to satisfy a definition of a credit hour. No standards exist to help define how much a person might expect to learn in a one or three credit hour course. The matter rests almost entirely with the faculty member teaching th e course. A third problem is one of distribution. Teachers in urban areas have choices and exposures that teachers in remote areas lack. Because staff develo pment delivery is labor intensive, teachers in remote areas must often travel great distances, rel y on local talent, or engage with a variety of "non-traditional" delivery systems.Despite research of varying focus and quality, incl uding perhaps the largest single effort to assess results (Little et al., 1988), staff development ef forts continue and expand based on the assumption of benefit to the public. The system rum bles on, unchecked and effectively unexamined.POLICY ALTERNATIVESIf the central argument of this article is sound--v iz., that current models of staff development neither deliver, nor promise to deliver, predictabl e increases in school quality-some obvious policy alternatives can be examined. The first, of course, is to do nothing. Powerful vested interests would support the option. Row and column salary schedules are quite attractive to teacher associations. Movement across and down is r elatively painless, with staff development providing easy mechanisms for enhancing life-time e arnings. Providers of all sorts benefit in many ways. New ideas, for good or naught, do get di sseminated. Participants may benefit in other than economic ways. Thus, in the absence of d ocumented harm, and with undocumented expenditures, the political cost of making major ch anges may be too high. A second option would be to abandon the basic assum ption that staff development makes any difference to anyone, and get out of the business w ith public funds. The elimination of public funding for staff development might free up substan tial dollars for other efforts to increase student performance. But this option is as unattrac tive as the first is attractive, and for the same reasons. Substantial numbers of individuals and gro ups benefit from the current system. Consequently, it is an unlikely choice.A third option is for state and local education age ncies to develop policies which increase the possibilities for successful staff development. To do so, however, requires that policy decisions be informed by an understanding of the alternative forms that such programs can take and how these are related to adopted goals. Much in a presc riptive nature has been written about successful delivery systems (Dilworth and Imig,1995 ; Howey, Bents and Corrigan, 1980; McKenzie 1980; Academy for Educational Development, 1985; Hall, 1986; Fielding and Schalock, 1985).However, two prior considerations modify the struct ure of a staff development system; the content of the training to be provided and the meth ods of program delivery. ContentIn content, staff development programs provide some combination of technical and interpersonal or organizational skills. Technical skills include subject matter expertness and pedagogical techniques along with such ancillary bodies of know ledge as child development, student assessment, and classroom management. These skills, critical in the development and effective implementation of instruction, inform the selection of materials, modification of instruction to
7 of 16meet the needs of diverse student groups, identific ation of alternative learning experiences, adaptation of lesson plans to changing classroom co ntexts, and so on. They significantly affect day-to-day classroom operations (Mitchell, Ortiz an d Mitchell, 1983). Although colleges and universities are expected to develop these skills i n preparation programs, beginning teachers cannot be expected to have mastered them, as Berlin er (1986) has shown. Staff development, thus, may have a legitimate role to play in continu ed skill development. Beyond the inculcation of improved craft skills, st aff development programs might help teachers understand and use organizational skills needed to work effectively with other adults. These skills include learning to participate in decisionmaking groups, to assess and plan for overall school improvement, and to interact with groups of parents. Put more generally, these are the skills required to work as colleagues with other ad ults in a professional setting (Blankenship, 1977). Modern schools are not simple organizations as portrayed in the folklore of American education.While much of the work of schools continues to be d one in a setting where one teacher works with small groups of students on simple and standar dized lessons, this image obscures as much as it reveals. Schools are complex social enterpris es filled with different roles for students and teachers. Strong and frequently divergent points of view shape the behavior of professional educators at all levels. Moreover, differences in c ommunity values and social systems subject the schools to competing interests.The complex social order of the modern school creat es even more need to master interpersonal or organizational skills. Mentoring or coaching, for e xample, requires a set of skills that teachers rarely develop during their initial preparation. Me ntors must be able to assess the behavior of a colleague, counsel with the person and provide sugg estions for improvement while, at the same time, retaining a peer relationship. The introducti on of schoolsite councils requires that teachers learn an array of group process skills. Once again, these are not skills which routinely appear in preparation programs.DeliveryIn addition to emphasizing different types of train ing content, staff development programs differ significantly in form. From a policy perspective, t he most important factor in the form of delivery is whether training opportunities are directed to i ndividual teachers or to groups of teachers with common work responsibilities. The first approach is more common, used when the goal is to improve individual performance by allowing teachers to identify their own needs and preferences and to select training opportunities without refere nce to others in the same school organization. This is the modal form of delivery in the current m odel. The alternative, the work-group approach, has grown more popular in recent years. Here the main goal is to strengthen institutional capacity by enc ouraging teachers to think of staff development as an integral part of an overall school or distric t improvement program. It is usually delivered in the form of workshops or seminars focused on school site, grade-level, or subject matter problems that require coordinated responses from bo th teachers and administrators. Content/Delivery ModelsIn combination, the content and delivery variables define four models of staff development for teachers. As shown in Table 1, these four models de fine the parameters of a system.
8 of 16 Table 1 Models of Staff DevelopmentFOCUS OF DELIVERY IndividualWork Group Pedagogy/InstructionInstructional Enhancement Program DevelopmentCONTENT Organization LeadershipProfessional Leadership School ImprovementInstructional enhancement is the traditional mode, and is served by staff development programs that combine technical skill development with a foc us on delivering services to individual teachers. Skills such as new instruction methods, c lassroom management, diagnosis of student learning problems, motivation techniques and the us e of curricular materials are typically taught in this way.The lower left cell describes staff development des igned to enhance professional leadership. The content of training shifts from technical to organi zational skills, although the focus continues to be on individuals. Department heads, mentor teacher s, team leaders and master teachers are obvious participants. Each needs to know how to fun ction effectively with other adults and to operate within complex social roles that are not or dinarily contemplated, much less developed, during preparation or in early career.Improved functioning for groups of teachers working on program development tasks is the focus of activity in the upper right cell. It is one thin g for a single teacher to plan lessons for a year, but quite another to establish the scope and sequence o f science or mathematics instruction for a particular grade level in an entire school. Teacher s must learn high levels of technical skills, not generally applicable in individual classrooms. Text book assessment, curriculum alignment, program evaluation, and student assessment models a re examples of these sets of skills. Their application is conditioned by the context of school and district-level decisions regarding emphases and directions. As decisions of the group affect its various members, teachers participate as members of work groups rather than a s individuals. The activity represented in the lower right cell ha s as focus overall school improvement. In order to make schools more robust learning places teacher s combine their personal skills with organizational processes that can only be acquired and exercised in a work-group setting. Even the best teachers will be less than optimally effec tive if they succumb to intra-faculty squabbles over teaching methods, coordination and cooperation or school directions. This cell represents much of what is required to bring about collaborati ve, school-based, change. Taken together, the processes of genuine change in a school are quite i nvolved (Dillon-Peterson 1981) and require sophisticated interaction skills.
9 of 16The four types of staff development are available t o policy makers. But because these models are designed to accomplish different ends, the links to policy objectives need to be made clear. EVIDENT POLICY CHOICESPolicy choices are statements of value. As such the y rest on both desired ends and on assumptions about the relationships between ends an d means (Marshall et al., 1985). In the absence of reliable data about what really works to make schools better, policy makers operate from what they believe will work or from ideas whic h they believe will satisfy their own self interests. The choice of staff development models, in turn, rests on those beliefs, and each staff development model has behind it a different assumpt ion about how to reform schools. It makes sense for policy makers to be clear about their ass umptions concerning school reform, because the choice of staff development emphases can be mad e consistent with them. If policy makers believe that the primary tool for improving education is to hold teachers strictly accountable for performance, then the Instructional Enhancement model of staff development is appropriate. This is so because teacher accountabil ity policies make the logical, but narrow, assumption that the best way to make better schools is to make better teachers. This is to be accomplished by tougher performance evaluation stan dards and, sometimes, by linking performance to compensation. Doing so might encoura ge teachers to look beyond the "proof of purchase" utility of staff development programs and to concentrate on experiences that they thought would increase the probability that trainin g would improve chances for positive evaluation or increased compensation.If policy makers believe that the key to school imp rovement lies with creating new teacher work roles, the Professional Leadership model of staff d evelopment is preferred. This policy strategy assumes that overall school improvement will result if teachers accept more differentiated job responsibilities and make unique contributions to t he instructional program. In effect, this strategy attempts to increase the general density o f instructional leadership in a school. If policy makers believe that professionalizing tea ching is a precursor to school improvement then the staff development strategy of choice shoul d be that of Program Development. The key assumption of this policy strategy is that a profes sionalized workforce in the schools will find more effective ways of cooperation and collaboratio n in school program design and implementation. Professionalization, the argument g oes, means that teachers will become intimately involved in the design and assessment of programs. As a result, they will accept more responsibility for the quality of their implementat ion and will work closely with their colleagues to insure that all students are given appropriate o pportunities to learn. Staff development is concentrated on technical aspects of the instructio nal process not ordinarily exposed to teacher control.Finally, if policy makers believe that improving ed ucation is more likely if schools are restructured, the staff development strategy of Sch ool Improvement may be attractive. The intent of the strategy is to transform schools into cooper ative learning communities in which student needs become paramount by altering decision-making procedures, organization structures, and the distribution of authority and responsibility. T he needs of the school, as identified by teachers, students, parents and local administrators determin e the scope and nature of the staff development work undertaken. In this environment, s taff development is a continuous and central element of life-not a special set of progra ms or activities. As argued, the choice of staff development model ca n and ought to be linked to beliefs about
10 of 16central strategies for school reform. Depending on assumptions policy makers make about what will work, staff development models will vary. It i s not clear which, if any, of these is most successful, but it is clear that each is designed t o accomplish different ends. If policy makers mix ends and means, as they do now, the results are unl ikely to be different from the current muddle in which staff development is provided.IMPLICATIONS FOR THE STAFF DEVELOPMENT MARKETPLACESo far I have argued that current staff development policy and implementation is flawed on two counts; little deliberate connection is made betwee n the presumed purposes of staff development and the various means by which it is carried out, a nd the marketplace for staff development is an imperfect consumer market in which "proofs of purch ase" can substitute for utility. I have argued as well that it is possible to articulate four dist inct models of staff development, each anchored in a distinct set of assumptions about how to improve schools. In the next section I explore how each of the four school improvement strategies, and its associated staff development model, has a potential effect on the marketplace for staff devel opment. No claim can be made that these consequences are likely, since a prior claim was ma de that "doing nothing" is the likely policy choice. But they are interesting speculations.Instructional Enhancement ModelsThe accountability strategies, so prevalent in rece nt reform efforts, may already have begun to shift the market system away from open choice and h igh levels of teacher discretion toward authoritative definitions of required technical ski lls. Generally accepted standards of good practice are being incorporated into standards for staff training and evaluation in many states, as are the knowledge and experience seen as the basis for their mastery. The most likely consequence is that the variety of staff developmen t programs and activities will be reduced, sharpening the focus and intellectual definitions o f teaching. Publication of TOWARD HIGH AND RIGOROUS STANDARDS FOR THE TEACHING PROFESSION (National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, 1989), and subsequ ent assessment of individuals by the Board is an obvious first step toward establishing unifor m standards of teacher performance. In the long run, one can hope that teaching will be come a more rigorous field of study. Under accountability pressure, teachers might be expected to seek high quality staff development programs more explicitly linked to the skills requi red for positive appraisal, salary advances and job retention. As the Carnegie Task Force (1986) pu t it, there is "no reason to perpetuate a system of continuing education that determines teacher com pensation on the basis of credits earned after becoming a teacher. Compensation should be based on proven competence, not time in the chair" (p.77).Carefully developed accountability policies might b e expected to have a second important effect on the staff development delivery system. By establ ishing performance-based criteria for certification and recertification, accountability p olicies encourage the development of richer and more comprehensive teacher assessment practices. In addition to standardized tests of pedagogical and subject-matter knowledge, recent ac countability proposals include requirements that teachers prepare a work portfolio containing s uch artifacts of competence as lesson plans, teacher-made tests, instructional materials, or vid eotapes of teaching. Staff development which cannot, in some demonstrable way, contribute to a r icher portfolio might become unattractive to potential consumers.One possible result will be new staff development v endors. Private coaching schools aimed at
11 of 16facilitating the acquisition of needed knowledge an d skills would have a natural market if the financial rewards approached the rewards available in other fields. Publicly supported colleges and universities might not compete vigorously in th is market. Prestige law schools and private cram schools exist side by side. If repeated in edu cation, university based schools of education might concentrate on pedagogical theory and researc h, leaving specialized skill development to other vendors.Professional Leadership ModelsThese strategies could lead to greater specializati on in the delivery of staff development services. To the extent that differentiated staffing in schoo ls becomes a reality, programs will become available to support mobility into various speciali zed roles within the school. Training for mentor teachers, peer coaches, curriculum developers, depa rtment chairs and other new roles could follow the well-developed pattern of specialized tr aining for school counselors, reading specialists, and school administrators.Training in the new roles of teacher leadership is likely to be more on-the-job than otherwise, because such jobs are likely to be filled by person s who are chosen by their peers. Colleges, universities and private vendors will undoubtedly d evelop packages of short-term training which incorporate specific skill sets. The market is like ly to be segmented and the purchasers are more likely to be districts than individuals.Program Development ModelsState policy strategies supporting professionalizat ion can be expected to have a different effect on the staff development market system. The respons ibility for program development, implicit in these models, will rest in large part with groups o f teachers working together. It is at least possible that individual teachers will become exper t in certain areas and will be able to coach their colleagues. Within schools and school distric ts we may see an increasing "in-house" capacity for staff development and the adoption of locally designed "trainer of trainers" models. Outsiders might be brought in for purposes of helpi ng design staff development systems, but the direct services may well be provided by local talen t. In addition, state department of education employees can serve as useful technical assistance providers. The net effect of this may be to reduce course taking by teachers and to increase on the job training provided by school district employees.School Improvement ModelsThe fourth general model can be expected to have th e most profound effect on staff development marketing. In order to support restructuring, staff development activities have to be placed in the hands of local school or district leaders, and staf f training has to be merged with school program and policy development so that skill enhancement is parallel to shifting responsibilities of staff. Within this framework, control over staff developme nt resources needs to be linked to overall school leadership responsibility. Whether placed in the hands of teachers or administrators, leadership for school restructuring will need to co mbine new organizational designs with new systems of resource and authority allocation. In or der for redesigned schools to work, staff development resources will have to be focused direc tly on helping all members of the organization make the transition and become contrib utors within the new structural framework. Staff development, therefore, will have to give up its emphasis on service to individuals and become an integral part of organizational planning and development.
12 of 16FROM A CONSUMPTION TO AN INVESTMENT MODELThe current state of staff development is in disarr ay and driven by undesirable market conditions. By connecting staff development to school improveme nt, the staff development market can be changed from a largely unregulated consumer market to one in which quality is demanded by persons who view staff development as an investment decision rather than a consumption decision. In this model, return on investment becom es the decision criterion, and the rate of return will be indicated by the level of progress o f school improvement. Such a model will force higher quality experiences.If return on investment were to become the primary decision criterion, two consequences become apparent. The first consequence would be substantia l reduction in the cafeteria-like offerings now in the market and possibly an end to the proliferat ion of "courses" offered by colleges and universities, county offices of education, state de partments of education and school districts. Without the sure return on investment provided by t he proof of purchase, teachers might simply stop accumulating credits. (This assumes, of course that policy makers have sufficient motive to abandon current row and column salary schedules.) A side from some dislocations in the workforce of providers, the result might be a subst antial reduction in public subsidy. In addition, relieved of pressures to offer courses and workshops for the convenience of the "credit collectors," universities and colleges migh t give serious attention to constructing degree programs of rigor and intellectual integrity. Teach ers might then choose to take advanced degrees because of clear evidence that doing so would impro ve their work performance or their intellectual quality of life. They might also deman d much higher levels of performance by faculty since the teachers would have to risk the cost of t uition and fees against no clear return on investment.The second consequence may be a shift in the struct ure of providers, with the dominance of colleges and universities giving way to entrepreneu rs. New providers and new technologies for delivery could develop. College and university facu lty in education might begin to differentiate the unique roles of university study, and a degree in education may come to have some common meaning as staff development activity is assumed by other agencies. This might mean a reduction in the size of education faculties, though normal a ttrition would offset any sudden dislocations. An investment market in which anticipated return wo uld drive up the quality of offerings and would be linked to strategic policy choices about s chool reform leaves unanswered the questions of "Who invests?" and "Who benefits?" At least two general answers are available. The first is that the primary beneficiary is the teacher, and th us the teacher should make the major investment. The argument makes most sense if accoun tability models or leadership development models are the strategies of choice for school impr ovement. Because the teacher will benefit directly by job retention, higher pay, or increased job responsibility, the teacher should pay for the skills, as private practice professionals do.But this argument has two flaws. The first is that the level of return on investment is quite low for teachers. A base salary in the $20,000-$30,000 range is not comparable to the salaries of private practice professionals. In addition, public ly financed institutions typically cap the salaries of even the highest performing individuals. Thus, t he decision by a teacher to invest is bounded by narrowly defined returns.The second flaw is that teachers work in public bur eaucracies and do not have full discretion to practice their craft. They are expected to accept i nstitutional goals and constraints. Consequently
13 of 16the returns to them are modified by institutional d emands and interventions. Newly acquired skills may not be used if they conflict with instit utional policies, procedures, and cultures. The difficulties with placing the decision to inves t with the teacher suggest that school district officials should make major investment decisions. C urrently, teachers make the major consumption decisions and the cost of those decisio ns are passed through to the public, with no apparent relationship to improvement. Were school d istricts to take seriously the investment model, decisions about participants, content, cost, delivery and the rest would be made only after consideration of the underlying question of expecte d return. Then justification for public subsidy could be stated and debated. At present the debate over return is not held because market mechanisms deflect such questions.School districts can decide the mix of services, id entify providers, assess results, and determine, finally, the quality of available services. State a nd federal roles would include monitoring school district decisions and suggesting or mandating alte rnative strategies or providers. If teachers chose to study for degrees or to buy experiences ou tside those sponsored and paid for by districts, they would do so as private investors with no guara ntee of return on their investments. Thus, the proof of purchase would disappear as a measure of u tility. CONCLUSIONStaff development has had a spotty record in Americ an education. Most thoughtful persons will at once agree that it is a necessary activity and t hat it is unsatisfactory in its current form. By linking staff development to strategies for school improvement, policy makers can rethink the purposes, structures, and content of future efforts The current lack of focus in staff development poli cy derives from the disjunction of activity and purpose and the domination of an imperfect and inap propriate consumer market. It has been shown that the goals, delivery, and content of staf f development can be linked differentially to strategies for school improvement. By doing so, pol icy-makers can change the market to one driven by investment decisions, can raise the overa ll quality of experiences, and build a base for clearly assessing the returns on investment.ReferencesAcademy for Educational Development. (1985) TEACHER DEVELOPMENT IN SCHOOLS: A REPORT TO THE FORD FOUNDATION. New York: Academy for Educational Development. Berliner, D. (1986) In pursuit of the expert pedago gue. EDUCATIONAL RESEARCHER. August/September. 5-13.Blankenship, R.L., (ed.) (1977) COLLEAGUES IN ORGANIZATION: THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF PROFESSIONAL WORK. New York: John Wiley and Sons. Carnegie Task Force on Teaching as a Profession. (1 986) A NATION PREPARED: TEACHERS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY. New York: Carnegie Forum on Education and the Econ omy. Cuban, L. (1984) HOW TEACHERS TAUGHT. New York: Longman. Dillon-Peterson, B.(ed.) (1981) STAFF DEVELOPMENT/ORGANIZATION DEVELOPMENT. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Cur riculum Development.
14 of 16Dilworth, M. and Imig, D. (1995) Professional Teach er Development. THE ERIC REVIEW. 3(3). Winter 1995. 5-11.Fenstermacher, G. and Berliner, D. (1985) Determini ng the value of staff development. THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL JOURNAL. 85(3). 282314. Fielding, G.D. and Schalock, H.D. (1985) PROMOTING THE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF TEACHERS AND ADMINISTRATORS. Eugene, OR: Center for Educational Policy and Management, University of Or egon. Glasman, N.S. and Biniaminov, K. (1981) Input-outpu t analyses of schools. REVIEW OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH. 51. 509-41. Guskey, T.R. (1986) Staff development and the proce ss of change. EDUCATIONAL RESEARCHER. May. 5-12. Hall, G.E. (1986) BEYOND THE LOOKING GLASS: RECOMMENDATIONS AND CRIT ICAL WARNINGS FOR TEACHER EDUCATION PRACTITIONERS, POLIC Y MAKERS AND RESEARCHERS. Austin, TX: The Research and Development Center fo r Teacher Education, The University of Texas at Austin.Holmes Group. (1986) TOMORROW'S TEACHERS: A REPORT OF THE HOLMES GROUP. East Lansing, Michigan.Howey, K.R., Bents, R. and Corrigan, D., (eds.) (19 81) SCHOOLFOCUSED INSERVICE: DESCRIPTIONS AND DISCUSSIONS. Reston, VA: Association of Teacher Educators. Lanier, J.E. and Little, J.W. (1986) Research on te acher education. Wittrock, M. (ed.) HANDBOOK OF RESEARCH ON TEACHING (Third Edition). New York: Macmillan. pp. 527-69.Little, J.W., Gerritz, W., Stern, D., Guthrie, J., Kirst, M. and Marsh, D. (1988) STAFF DEVELOPMENT IN CALIFORNIA. San Francisco: Far West Laboratory for Educational Research and Development.McKenzie, F. (1980) Staff development as a means of improving schools. National Council of States on Inservice Education. PROVIDING LEADERSHIP FOR STAFF DEVELOPMENT AND INSERVICE EDUCATION. Syracuse, N.Y.: National Dissemination Center, Syr acuse University School of Education.Marshall, C., Mitchell, D., Wirt, F. (1985) Assumpt ive worlds of education policy makers. PEABODY JOURNAL OF EDUCATION. 62(4). 90-116. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. (1986) THE AMERICAN TEACHER, 1986. New York: The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.Miller, B., Lord, B., and Dorney, J. 1994. SUMMARY REPORT. STAFF DEVELOPMENT FOR TEACHERS. A STUDY OF CONFIGURATIONS AND COSTS IN FO UR DISTRICTS. Newton, MA: Education Development Center.Mitchell, D. (1986) State policy strategies for imp roving teacher quality. POLICY BRIEFS. San Francisco: Far West Laboratory for Educational Rese arch and Development.
15 of 16 Mitchell, D.E., Ortiz, F.I. and Mitchell, T.K. (198 3) WORK ORIENTATION AND JOB PERFORMANCE: THE CULTURAL BASIS OF TEACHING REWARDS AND INCENTIVES. A report to the National Institute of Education.National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. (1989) TOWARD HIGH AND RIGOROUS STANDARDS FOR THE TEACHING PROFESSION. Detroit: National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.Slavin, R. (1989) PET and the pendulum: Faddism in education and how to stop it. PHI DELTA KAPPAN. 70, June. 752-758. Stallings, J. and Krasavage, E.M. (1986) Program im plementation and student achievement in a four-year Madeline Hunter Followthrough Project. THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL JOURNAL. 87(2). 117-138.Stout, R. and Wigand, R. (1982) Education. Karnig, A. and Hall, J., (eds.) THE IMPACT OF THE NEW FEDERALISM ON ARIZONA. Tempe, AZ: The Morrison Institute for Public Polic y, Arizona State University.Copyright 1996 by the Education Policy Analysis ArchivesEPAA can be accessed either by visiting one of its seve ral archived forms or by subscribing to the LISTSERV known as EPAA at LISTSERV@asu.edu. (To sub scribe, send an email letter to LISTSERV@asu.edu whose sole contents are SUB EPAA y our-name.) As articles are published by the Archives they are sent immediately to the EPAA subscribers and simultaneously archived in three forms. Articles are archived on EPAA as individual files under the name of the author a nd the Volume and article number. For example, the article by Stephen Kemmis in Volume 1, Number 1 of the Archives can be retrieved by sending an e-mail letter to LISTSERV@a su.edu and making the single line in the letter rea d GET KEMMIS V1N1 F=MAIL. For a table of contents of the entire ARCHIVES, send the following e-mail message to LISTSERV@asu.edu: INDEX EPAA F=MAIL, tha t is, send an e-mail letter and make its single line read INDEX EPAA F=MAIL.The World Wide Web address for the Education Policy Analysis Archives is http://seamonkey.ed.asu.edu/ Education Policy Analysis Archives are "gophered" in the directory Campus-Wide Inform ation at the gopher server INFO.ASU.EDU.To receive a publication guide for submitting artic les, see the EPAA World Wide Web site or send an e-mail letter to LISTSERV@asu.edu and include the single l ine GET EPAA PUBGUIDE F=MAIL. It will be sent to you by return e-mail. General questions about ap propriateness of topics or particular articles may be addressed to the Editor, Gene V Glass, Glass@asu.ed u or reach him at College of Education, Arizona Sta te University, Tempe, AZ 85287-2411. (602-965-2692)Editorial Board John Covaleskiejcovales@nmu.edu Andrew Coulson firstname.lastname@example.org Alan Davis email@example.com Mark E. Fetlerfetlerctc.aol.com
16 of 16Thomas F. Greentfgreen@mailbox.syr.edu Alison I. Griffithagriffith@edu.yorku.ca Arlen Gullickson firstname.lastname@example.org Ernest R. Houseernie.email@example.com Aimee Howleyess016@marshall.wvnet.edu Craig B. Howley firstname.lastname@example.org William Hunterhunter@acs.ucalgary.ca Richard M. Jaeger email@example.com Benjamin Levinlevin@ccu.umanitoba.ca Thomas Mauhs-Pughthomas.firstname.lastname@example.org Dewayne Matthewsdm@wiche.edu Mary P. McKeowniadmpm@asuvm.inre.asu.edu Les McLeanlmclean@oise.on.ca Susan Bobbitt Nolensunolen@u.washington.edu Anne L. Pembertonapembert@pen.k12.va.us Hugh G. Petrieprohugh@ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu Richard C. Richardsonrichard.email@example.com Anthony G. Rud Jr.firstname.lastname@example.org Dennis Sayersdmsayers@ucdavis.edu Jay Scribnerjayscrib@tenet.edu Robert Stonehillrstonehi@inet.ed.gov Robert T. Stoutstout@asu.edu
1 of 2 Contributed Commentary on Volume 4 Number 2: Stout Staff Development Policy: Fuzzy Choices in an Imperfect Market 4 November 1996Damon A. Runion The University of Oklahomadrunion@usfk.korea.army.mil Robert Stout brings an issue to the policy table t hat has been hotly debated in the past few years. Questions regarding improving the quality of our schools have been posed to educators, lawmakers and public administrators on a frequent b asis. Stout sees the development of the school faculty as a major piece in the reform movem ent. His analysis of the current system of staff development shows why in many respects it is an obvious failure. Viewing the current system as a smorgasbord of uncertain and untested c ourses and workshops, Stout makes the solid point that such credit collecting is undermining th e well-intended efforts of legislatures and educational policy bodies. It is obvious that Stout addresses a key issue in American education; however, something is lacking. Good policy suggestions are offered, su ch as shifting to an investment model of staff development. But little is suggested that will have a long term impact on the public education field. Public administrators need to be constantly looking for ways to improve systems. Whether it is minor reform, as suggested by Stout, or syste mic reform, as will be suggested in this commentary, the eyes of the professional must be on the crux of the question. In this case that crux is the professionalism of public school teache rs. Two main propositions are offered in this area to alleviate many of the problems Stout has explicated. The first is the abandonment of the Bac helors degree as the minimum required educational level for entry into the teaching profe ssion. An idea that offers one way to remedy the problems of staff development--and one which ha s gained recent momentum--is the fifth-year Masters program. At present teachers are clearly re warded with a significant raise upon completing a Masters degree. Often these degrees ar e actually the culmination of many years of staff development course work. As demonstrated by S tout such training is dubious at best in many cases. The standardization of the Master of Ar ts in Teaching or Master of Arts in Education as the entry level degree assures as much as possible a firm professional background of training for all teachers. The additional year o f professional training coupled with four years of exclusive subject matter study insures a high level of quality in new teachers. Teachers who are already certified with only a Bachelors degree will be exempted from this requirement, but will soon fall behind in competitiveness with their fell ow teachers. The second proposition rises out of the establishm ent of the first. Current staff development programs hope to retool teachers and ma intain quality in the teaching profession. By setting the requirements for entry into the teac hing profession at the Masters level, professional standards can be developed. One profes sional career stands out as an excellent
2 of 2model to follow, the legal profession. The American Bar Association in conjunction with state Bars mandates certain levels of continuing legal ed ucation to maintain licensing. The National Education Association could pursue similar objectiv es in conjunction with state boards of education. Such a model provides uniform and approv ed training to all teachers, unlike the current system with virtually no regulation. Questi ons of utility and efficiency are virtually absent in such a model. In addition, the pursuit of advanc ed degrees is basically limited to those who wish to leave the field of teaching. Doctor of Educ ation degrees would only be pursued by those who want to step into positions of great administra tive responsibly or into the college classroom, as in law where significantly small numbers pursue LL.M. and J.S.D. degrees. The suggestions offered here only represent a smal l percentage of systems that could work better. Recently the Public Administration field ha s been turned upside down by works such as "Reinventing Government" by David Osborne and Ted G aebler. The main message behind such works is that government often does not have the be st model for the way things can be done. By looking at the private sector we can often find a w ay to do things differently. Given the current dissatisfaction with the quality of public educatio n in America, a fresh approach needs to be taken. The model offered here does not purport to b e the solution to all problems, it simply shows that it has worked for another profession. Pe rhaps now is the time to modify and implement such a model in American public education