Earlier this year The New Teacher Project released a two-year study of 20,000 teachers from three large urban districts and one charter school. They found that all the teacher development programs utilized with those teachers yielded NO improvement in teacher-classroom performance or student-test performance. The average teacher development cost in the U.S. is $18,000 per teacher per year—including 19 lost teacher days per year—which means that for the 3.5 million K-12 teachers nationally, the total cost of teacher development is a staggering $60 billion each year.
The study suggests that we spend $60 billion yearly for nothing. You might think this would cause great concern among school administrators or the government officials who fund this education, but there seems to be no outcry at the waste nor a widespread interest in investigating it.
Why is nobody doing anything? Because nobody understands the greatest need of teachers and students, so development courses are not addressing that need. The truth—apparently hidden from nearly everyone—is that students perform badly in school primarily because of the stress they carry with them from home, which distracts them in ways and to a degree that we can scarcely imagine. Students who are in pain fail to listen, cooperate poorly with teachers and each other, bully each other, and cannot learn at a level that would be reasonably predicted by their intelligence. Similarly, teachers react all day to their own pain and fear, which severely inhibits their ability to give their students what they really need: loving AND teaching.
Over the years I have asked hundreds of teachers how many of them ever took a course in college or in post-graduate “teacher development” programs that addressed the critical need their students have for unconditional love. Answer? None. I have also asked these teachers how many courses they ever took to help the TEACHERS to feel more loved and therefore be far better prepared to “loveandteach” their students. Answer? None.
Every human being REQUIRES unconditional love to achieve the peace and happiness that optimize everything else in life: learning, creativity, communication, problem-solving, teaching, relationships, and more. And yet we are doing nothing—or very close to nothing—to address this vital need. Until we do, teacher development won’t help anyone. And, by the way, just as important is the education of PARENTS in loving their children, so the children don’t arrive at school in such pain that optimal learning is impossible.