Where I have noticed the shift, however, is in the teaching in-service days. While I've only been here for five years, I've already seen a remarkable difference in how in-service is treated now as opposed to when I first started. In the first few years, in-service was always a chance to learn something new. Whether it was a visiting speaker who talked with the whole staff, or teacher-led discussion sessions, or individual department meeting, there was usually something new to be discussed and debated. I didn't always agree with the speaker, and sometimes it didn't directly apply, but at least there was a notion that something new was going to get done. As time went on, however, the in-service days have changed. Budget cuts (mainly on the state and federal level) eliminated the expendable incomes for such luxuries. New forms of observation and "educator effectiveness" have changed the way teachers have to think about their responsibilities. Rather than spending time learning something new or fixing old lesson, districts are often put in a position of forcing teachers to spend time completing SLO forms, or publishing content to PA-ETEP to verify their evaluations. Again, hardly the fault of the local districts...but an unintended side-effect of new government initiatives.
Was today's in-service terrible? Hardly. I was able to get my required work done quickly, and then spend the afternoon working on the upcoming TED event. Still, it did make me miss the days where in-service meant I might learn something new. As it stands now, we're lucky to learn something old with the speed of these ever-changing regulations.