Sunday, April 22, 2012

Is the PD Day Broken?

FINALLY someone is writing about the annoyance known as the teacher's "professional development day". These can be otherwise known as the "PA (professional activity) day".

One of my kids has not had a single full month of school this entire year due to PD/PA days.

In my opinion, there are way too many of these during the school year, and I have not seen any compelling argument that would convince me that these cannot be held during the summer. You want 7 PD days? Fine, tack it on at the end of the school year.

If the teachers' unions, and the school boards insist that these must take place during the regular school week, then they should be broken up into two half days, so that half of the staff at any given school could be re-assigned to other classes during that day.

Alternately, it is worth considering that the school board itself should be responsible for providing equal supervision and programming to the children. If the dates are known in advance, why can't individual schools offer programming-perhaps not 100% academic, but at least fully supervised on the school grounds? Why shouldn't the board be responsible for an alternate program?

Parents should also be informed of the content of the professional activity day, and how it has affected or informed their child's teacher's professional development.

I want, and like the proof.

For example, one of my children's teachers recently discussed with me the content of an augmentive communication seminar she attended. What she learned there was of direct benefit to my child's program. That's completely fine with me (and not just when it directly benefits my child, I'm happy when it benefits the entire class or school-directly).

The content of these days should be transparent, and clearly make the case to parents that they are valuable by showing-and not telling us that they are valuable. Otherwise, working parents can only continue to fret and complain and make ad hoc arrangements every month that these annoyances appear on our schedules.