About Educational Research and Dissemination

Quest Professional Develoment

Educational Research and Dissemination (ER&D) is a union-sponsored, research-based professional development program. The program is designed to help local unions build the capacity to deliver high-quality professional development services to all their members—teachers, paraprofessionals, and school-related personnel.

The AFT has long recognized that the union’s responsibilities go beyond the traditional “bread and butter” issues. The ER&D Program represents one of the union’s major efforts to improve student achievement by making a difference in practitioners’ performance and professional growth. ER&D was created in 1981 to encourage school practitioners to improve their practice and their students’ performance by becoming users of research.

By addressing the professional needs of its members, thereby helping them perform their job responsibilities more effectively, both the union and the institutions in which members work are strengthened.

The ER&D Program offers professional development experiences that are very different from traditional inservice sessions. ER&D is unique because it:

  • provides solid, research-based content;
  • is created and delivered by classroom teachers and school personnel;
  • is an ongoing process, rather than an inservice event;
  • offers a non-threatening, non-judgmental learning environment;
  • builds in opportunities for self-reflection, application, and implementation of instructional strategies, resulting in real change in practice;
  • builds a sense of pride in the quality of a union service.



The ER&D program offers courses, covering a wide range of topics, including reading and mathematics instruction, classroom management, family involvement, and managing student behavior. In developing these courses, the AFT collaborates with leading educational researchers to synthesize reliable findings on best practice and translate them into a user-friendly format that connects the research to its applications in the real world of classrooms and schools. ER&D classes model strategies that, according to research, provide the most effective adult learning experiences.