THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT AND DEVELOPMENT OF PROFESSIONAL LEARNING COMMUNITIES
Archer, Kimberly Rochelle
University of Kansas
Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
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In the early to late 1990s, school systems throughout the United States were undergoing a rash of educational reforms as a result of public demands for holding schools accountable for student learning. Schools were searching for the reform or innovation that would help them improve student achievement. All over the country, "professional learning communities" were being discussed as one of the newest educational reforms. Since then, professional learning communities have slowly gained momentum as a school reform framework for helping schools meet the needs of their students and meet the requirements set forth by No Child Left Behind. Currently, professional learning communities are in high demand. In education, reform efforts frequently are met with high expectations, and school systems from all over the country rush to adopt them. They are often short-lived and are quickly dismissed, leaving little proof of their effectiveness behind. Are professional learning communities just another educational reform effort that will be adopted by thousands of educational leaders filled with hope and promise only to quickly disappear, leaving frustration in their wake? This overview of the professional literature about professional learning communities is written from a historical perspective. Understanding the history leading up to this reform may provide insight about its current and possibly future success. Studying the various changes and reform efforts in education through its history may help us understand current innovations in education. Tracking and analyzing the reaction of educators and researchers to the implementation of this educational reform and comparing it to other educational reforms can yield insight into the fate of current and future reforms and innovations in education. The primary sources for this study were a collection of articles, books, and dissertations in professional literature about professional learning communities and the history of American education. In addition, interviews were conducted in order to gain personal insight regarding professional learning communities.
- Dissertations 
- Education Dissertations and Theses 
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