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Teachers' Union Criticizes New Report On Oakland Schools

OAKLAND (KCBS) – A new report on the state of Oakland Unified School District has recommendations on ways to improve attracting and retaining quality teachers.

But the study isn't sitting particularly well with the teachers' union, who calls the National Council on Teacher Quality advocating for performance-based pay for teachers, among other things, both unscientific and politically slanted.

Teachers' Union Criticizes New Report On Oakland Schools

The report was commissioned by the Effective Teaching Coalition of Oakland. It identifies a number of policy changes, which the NCTQ, a nonprofit advocacy group, said could increase the effectiveness of the teaching force, while also identifying the teacher policy areas most in need of critical attention.

Among the findings – that Oakland's procedures for hiring and assigning teachers to schools delays the hiring of new teachers until late into the summer months, the evaluation system for teachers is confusing and doesn't provide an overall sense of a teacher's effectiveness, teachers are not being held accountable for their performance and their official workday is among the shortest in the state.

  • Click here for the full report.

National Council on Teacher Quality President Kate Walsh said they found that the best teachers aren't necessarily the ones that are kept.

"Right now, seniority has a very big role in deciding who keeps a job and who doesn't keep a job," she said.

The report calls for getting rid of those seniority rules and allowing principals full authority over hiring teachers, including those transferring within the district.

Marc Tafolla, Policy Director with Great Oakland Public Schools, said teachers with less than five years experience are most likely to leave the Oakland Unified School District.

"Something that is a really common refrain is they feel like they can't build anything because everyone is new all the time," said Tafolla.

The teachers unions sharply criticized the report as being driven by a broader policy agenda and that the recommendations were not specifically tailored to Oakland.

Phil Matier: Oakland Teacher Report Questioned By Union

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