A member of the PDK International family of associations

Previous Study Tour

Travel to Paris/Amsterdam with PDK: October 6-15, 2014

PDK teamed up with EF, an international tour group, to offer a 10-day trip to Amsterdam and Paris in fall. The trip was led by Kappan editor-in-chief Joan Richardson and provided an exciting blend of professional development opportunities and sightseeing.


By any measure, PDK’s 2014 trip to Amsterdam and Paris was a success. Forty educators signed up for the 10-day trip that just returned October 15, 2014. It included presentations by the ministries of education in both the Netherlands and France, visits to elementary and high schools in both cities, and a visit to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris. And, of course, we also spent many hours visiting art museums (the Louvre, Musee D’Orsay, the Van Gogh museum, and the Rijksmuseum) and historic sights (the Anne Frank House and Versailles, for example) and enjoying coffees and wines at charming cafes.

What did we learn? The Netherlands has a form of wide-open choice in which anyone can start a school and receive public funds to support it; France is the polar opposite where everything is highly centralized, from the standards, curriculum, and pacing guides to the hiring and placement of teachers. Teachers in Holland are quite happy and feel respected; teachers in France are among the most unhappy in the world, according to OECD. Both countries have far more diversity in their schools than we expected, and both countries are struggling in the same ways as the United States to cope with that. We had to do a bit of a mindshift to get our heads around the idea that it was a problem in Amsterdam when parents don’t speak Dutch at home, for example.

I think everyone came home feeling they had learned a lot and had a good visit.

Joan Richardson
Editor-In-Chief, Kappan Magazine
Director, 2014 International Study Tour

 For more information, call 800-766-1156 or e-mail intltravel@pdkintl.org.


Whether you are a teacher or an administrator, PDK provides opportunities and information for educational leaders at all stages of their careers working in diverse locations. Travel, publications, awards, and scholarships make PDK a valuable membership for all educators to have.