What’s professional development for?

June 16 at the Bainbridge-Guilford school board meeting, a panel of teachers recommended that the board bring in an outside consultant at a cost of $7,000 per day to teach the school staff to deal with bullying.

William Tammaro,  Delaware-Chenango-Madison-Otsego BOCES superintendent, said if BG could get another district to join in the training,  the $7,000 cost could be covered by BOCES aid. BOCES aid means taxpayers would fund the training from their state taxes instead of their local property taxes.

One of the teachers had attended a seminar led by the consultant the team recommended. She gave a glowing testimonial to the value of the seminar information to classroom teachers.

Some things about this proposal puzzle me.

If there is a teacher on staff who has been trained in procedures for countering bullying, why is it necessary to bring in an outside consultant to share that information with the staff? Isn’t taxpayer-provided professional development for teachers supposed to enable them to teach others?

Of course, it is possible that the teacher could not learn all she needed to learn in one session. Would putting all teachers in the school district through one session of training have better results?

That’s the $7,000 question.

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