March 11, 2013
By Barbara Grady
Studies indicate the main driver of student achievement is effective teaching. While poverty, trauma and starting kindergarten with no preparation put children at a learning disadvantage, students can catch up if they have effective classroom teachers for at least three years.
But effective teaching doesn’t just happen; it must be nurtured with mentoring, support and collaboration.
Such were among the findings discussed Thursday night when about 200 people gathered at an Oakland public school for a forum on “Teaching Matters,” hosted by seven community organizations led by Great Oakland Public Schools.
They were joined by Education Trust-West, Oakland Community Organizations, Youth Uprising, Youth Together, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and SEIU Local 1021. Spokespeople from these groups spoke of wanting to support improvements at Oakland Unified School District.
Timed to coincide with OUSD’s drafting and negotiation of a new teacher professional development and evaluation system with its teachers union, the Oakland Education Association, the forum drew scores of OUSD and charter school teachers as well as students, parents, community activists and a few administrators.