How Effective is Traditional Professional Development?
According to the teacher policy organization TNTP, on average, in the United States, districts spend $18,000 on professional development, per educator, with only a 30% improvement rate for educators. There is a strong disconnect between the professional development services provided through outside providers and the implementation, which takes place within the classroom.
When attending professional development sessions, educators are placed in an enclosed environment with an expert in the field for an allotted period of time. Educators are then expected to incorporate the lessons learned from the professional development in their classrooms with little to no support or feedback from the population that is being served. Repeatedly, decisions are being made on behalf of students that further perpetuate the cycles of inequity due to the unconscious biases that are not being discussed within the professional development settings.
Experts with great intentions are continuing to work within a power structure that further marginalizes the exact population that it is sought to develop. How can we as an education system incorporate more student-led and student-centered learning in all decision making processes? How can we begin to eliminate barriers for students to be more in control of their learning in a safe and supportive environment? How can we begin to shift the mindset of adults to allow students to have a seat at the table and be viewed as equals? We must be willing to uncover the inequitable systems that impact college and career readiness for every student but we must first be willing to engage in uncomfortable conversations.
Solution: Diversity Talks
Diversity Talks focuses on addressing unconscious biases that affect student achievement by providing K-12 school districts, higher education institutions, community based organizations, and corporations with facilitated conversations led by students that are grounded in the cultural competencies of diversity, equity and inclusion to increase academic performance and achievement. Utilizing Diversity Talks’ approach to student-led conversations opens up a unique avenue for students to take the lead in examining inequities with their peers, teachers, families, and community.