Does Investing in Teacher Professional Development Make a Difference?

Hosted by the Center for American Progress, the Learning Policy Institute, and Learning Forward

In their full education budget, President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos proposed completely cutting the $2.1 billion in funding designated for Title II of the Every Student Succeeds Act—the major federal funding stream that districts use to support their teacher workforce through professional development and ensure equitable access to high-quality teachers for all students. Such a massive reduction in funds would be a devastating blow to localities, but does investing in teacher professional development make a difference? If so, what separates effective professional development from ineffective offerings?

Meeting student learning needs today requires effective professional development that helps teachers learn and refine the instructional strategies needed to teach 21st century skills. Quite often, however, professional development does not result in productive changes in teaching practice or student learning.

At this event the Learning Policy Institute will release the findings from a new review of research on professional development that results in student learning gains. Looking at 35 methodologically rigorous studies, the Learning Policy Institute isolated seven key elements these programs share, signaling how states and districts can design professional learning to make a positive difference.

Following the release of “Effective Teacher Professional Development,” the event will proceed with a discussion among practitioners and policymakers on the ways that federal, state, and local policy and resources can help support the implementation of high-quality professional learning opportunities for teachers.

Stephenie Johnson, associate campaign director of education policy, Center for American Progress

Introductory remarks:
Stephanie Hirsh, executive director, Learning Forward

Presentation of findings
Linda Darling-Hammond, president and CEO, Learning Policy Institute
Madelyn Gardner, research and policy associate, Learning Policy Institute
Maria E. Hyler , deputy director, Washington DC office and senior researcher, Learning Policy Institute

Panel: What does the research say about elements of effective professional development?

Featured panelists:
Stephanie Hirsh, executive director, Learning Forward
Casey Olsen, high school language arts teacher, National Writing Project
Daniel Weisberg, CEO, TNTP

Moderated by:
John Merrow, president, Learning Matters; Education Correspondent for PBS NewsHour

Panel: How can policy advance research-based best practices?

Featured panelists:
Linda Darling-Hammond, president and CEO, Learning Policy Institute
Aaliyah Samuel, director for Best Practices’ Education Division, National Governors Association
Lillian M. Lowery, vice president for p-12 policy and practice, The Education Trust
Randi Weingarten, president, American Federation of Teachers

Moderated by:
Catherine Brown, vice president of education policy, Center for American Progress


1333 H Street, H Street Northwest, Washington, DC, United States

Additional information

Coffee will be served at 9:00 a.m.


Closed-captioned-enabled video will be posted following the conclusion of the event.
If you require ADA-related accommodations for your in-person attendance at this event, please email as soon as possible so that we may assist you.