A new report from the American Institutes of Research argues that in reauthorizing the ESEA, Congress must reengineer Title IIA to focus strictly on the continuous performance improvement of staff and schools. Title IIA sends $2.5 billion per year to states and nearly all districts to improve teacher and principal quality.
Currently, the funds can be applied to a long list of permissible activities (including tenure reform, student loan forgiveness, and educator bonuses), though most districts spend Title IIA dollars on professional development and class-size reduction.
Research shows that teacher professional development has had disappointing impacts on teacher practice and student learning. The report recommends that Congress redefine “professional development,” focusing Title IIA strictly on continuous performance improvement, and keep implementation flexible.