The National PTA recognizes that educational opportunities for students in the public schools of this nation are dependent on the quality of instructional programs and personnel. PTA recognizes teacher preparation, staff development and renewal as critical investments in children. PTAs must encourage and support adequately funded teacher preparation and staff development programs. These programs must be designed to initiate and strengthen professional excellence in instruction, teaching techniques (including classroom management and basic skills development), academic knowledge, human understanding, critical thinking, technology and parent and community involvement.
Institutions of teacher education should provide leadership for educational development. These institutions must assume a major role in the research and investigation of professional issues related to education and should work closely with such entities as university departments, regional labs, professional development centers, and business and industry. Teacher education must include a strong emphasis on subject matter content in the chosen discipline, parent involvement in education, as well as child growth and development. Teacher education should develop the capability to respect individual differences in students and alternative learning styles.
The National PTA places great importance on in-service/staff development, and on education as a means of career-long professional development and as an approach to helping teachers do a better job. Plans for ins-service education should be collaboratively developed among educators, appropriate institutions, and the community, and should be closely related to curriculum and to the classroom, as well as to student and parent interests and needs.
The National PTA suggests the following criteria for both pre-service and in-service/staff development programs:
- recognition of the comprehensive needs of the students of the school system;
- opportunity for teachers to develop skills in effective parent and community involvement;
- opportunity for teachers to identify their own strengths and needs as a base for professional education plan;
- opportunity for teachers to learn curriculum planning jointly with other teachers;
- opportunity for continuing education in the teacher's subject area.