Secretary DeVos Proposes Rethinking Teacher Professional Development by Empowering Teachers to Customize, Personalize their Continued Learning

Secretary DeVos Proposes Rethinking Teacher Professional Development by Empowering Teachers to Customize, Personalize their Continued Learning

April 15, 2020

WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos proposed a new funding priority today that would empower teachers to rethink their professional development. Under the proposal, teachers would be empowered, through stipends or vouchers, to select and access professional development courses and opportunities that are relevant to their personal needs or career goals instead of having one-size-fits all programming dictated to them by the state or local education agency.

"I've spoken with hundreds of teachers across the country who love teaching yet share the same frustration: their professional development courses don't meet their needs, and they don't help them serve students," said Secretary DeVos. "That's why I believe we must treat teachers like the valued professionals they are and empower them to seek out the professional learning opportunities that support their goals and aspirations. If we can trust teachers with our children each day, we should trust them to select the right continuing education courses."

The Education Innovation and Research (EIR) program, authorized by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act, was created to explore ways to improve academic achievement for high-need students. The proposed priorities for EIR funding announced today will help the Department explore whether personalized professional development has a positive effect on instructional practice, and in turn, a positive effect on student achievement.

The Department seeks feedback from the public about this Notice of Proposed Priorities, which is posted to the Federal Register. The comment period is open until May 13, 2020.

During FY19, over $120 million in new grant awards were made to states, school districts and nonprofit organizations to help spur new innovations in education.