Teaching Quality and California's Future: Policy and Research Briefing

See Slideshow Below
January 20, 2012
9:30 AM to 1:30 PM
Tom Torlakson, Felipe Fuentes, Linda Darling-Hammond, John Fensterwald and many others
Sheraton Grand Hotel • Sacramento, CA

About | Featured Speakers | Research ReportsParticipant BiosSchedule


Effective teachers are vital to student success, and to California’s future—a reality that is receiving growing recognition from taxpayers, researchers and politicians alike. For more than a decade California students have ranked in the basement in national tests (with latest numbers putting the state's eighth graders 49th in reading and 47th in math). If California's teaching force is to help change these trends, it must be better supported with coherent and effective preparation, evaluation, and professional development.

Join us for a forum in Sacramento to share new research findings and policy initiatives to develop a more powerful and well-supported teaching force in California.

  • Hon. Tom Torlakson, State Superintendent for Public Instruction
  • Assemblymember Felipe Fuentes, D-Sylmar
  • Linda Darling-Hammond, Stanford University Professor and SCOPE Co-Director
  • John Fensterwald, Moderator, editor and co-writer, TOPed.org, Thoughts on Public Education in California

Shannan Brown is President of the San Juan Teachers Association, and was a 2011 California Teacher of the Year. She has taught for 12 years, mostly in the fifth grade at Thomas Edison Elementary, a Title 1 school, in the Sacramento area. Additionally, she has taught English-language Development and Intervention summer school. Brown co-chaired the Edison Community Organizing Project as well as the Edison Home Vist Project. For the last two years, Shannan has co-created and lead district wide Assessment Literacy training. Brown earned her B.A. in 1996 from the University of California, Davis and her a teaching credential in 1999 from California State University, Sacramento.

Anthony Cody spent 24 years working in Oakland schools, 18 of them as a science teacher at a high needs middle school. He is National Board certified, and now leads workshops with teachers focused on Project Based Learning. Anthony was a co-founder of Accomplished California Teachers, and has worked with the Center for Teaching Quality to produce reports on performance pay and National Board Certification research. He writes the blog “Living in Dialogue” for Education Week, and was a key organizer in the 2011 Save Our Students March and Call to Action in Washington, D.C.

David B. Cohen co-founded and now serves as associate director of Accomplished California Teachers, and writes an education blog at InterACT. He is also a National Board Certified Teacher, in his tenth year teaching English at Palo Alto High School, and 18th year of teaching overall. A graduate of the Stanford Teacher Education Program (’95), David has presented at state and national conferences, and his writing on teaching and education policy has appeared in several major newspapers and websites.

Linda Darling-Hammond is Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education at Stanford University where she has launched the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education and the School Redesign Network. She has also served as faculty sponsor for the Stanford Teacher Education Program. She is a former president of the American Educational Research Association and a member of the National Academy of Education. Her research, teaching, and policy work focus on issues of school restructuring, teacher quality and educational equity. Her most recent book, recipient of the Grawemeyer Prize in Education, is The Flat World and Education How America's Commitment to Equity Will Determine Our Future. Darling-Hammond co-chaired Superintendent Tom Torlakson’s transition team, which developed his Blueprint for Great Schools, released in July of 2011, and she serves as vice-chair of the California Commission for Teacher Credentialing.

John Fensterwald is a journalist at the Silicon Valley Education Foundation, which he joined in September 2009. He manages and writes for Thoughts on Public Education, one of the leading sources of California education policy reporting and opinion. For 11 years before that, he wrote editorials at the Mercury News in San Jose, with a focus on education. John worked as a reporter, news editor and opinion editor for three newspapers in New Hampshire for two decades before discovering the wonders of California through a Knight Fellowship at Stanford University in 1997 and heading West shortly thereafter. His wife is an elementary school teacher and his daughter attends the University California at Davis.

Assemblymember Felipe Fuentes was elected to the State Legislature in 2007 to represent the 39th Assembly District, which lies in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. Fuentes is a life-long resident of the Northeast San Fernando Valley, where he attended local public schools, graduating from San Fernando High School. He later earned a degree in political science from UCLA and an MBA from the Graziadio School of Business at Pepperdine University. As an assemblymember, he has addressed issues of education, economic development, transportation, housing and improving the environment. Fuentes serves as the Chair of the Assembly Appropriations Committee, and the Select Committee on the Revitalization of the Los Angeles River and Pacoima Wash. He also serves as a member of the Revenue and Taxation, and Utilities and Commerce committees. Fuentes is also constantly working to improve the lives of his constituents by authoring a number of bills that directly impact them, including: increasing the access to work-based learning opportunities; improving and expanding child care facilities; offering additional funding for technical education to high schools. Prior to his service in the Assembly, Felipe served as Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles for the San Fernando Valley. He went on to become Chief of Staff to then Los Angeles City Council President Alex Padilla, helping to construct police and fire stations, libraries, and numerous infrastructure improvements.

Eric Heins is Vice-President of the California Teachers Association and a 21-year teaching veteran. He has served on the CTA Board of Directors, and chaired the CTA Quality Education Investment Act Workgroup, charged with monitoring the progress of the CTA-sponsored QEIA, which provides nearly $3 billion for proven intervention reforms at about 500 of our schools of greatest need over eight years. Heins also chairs the CTA Teacher Evaluation Workgroup, which adopted new guidelines in Spring 2011 stressing that reforms for teacher assessments must focus on strengthening the teaching profession and improving student learning, not punishing educators.

Dr. Daniel Humphrey is Associate Director of SRI's Center for Education Policy. His research focuses on teacher development, urban education, and education reform. Dr. Humphrey is currently leading the National Evaluation of the Teacher Incentive Fund, a major effort by the U.S. Department of Education to reform educator compensation. Dr. Humphrey led the recent study of teacher peer review for the Stuart Foundation. He is also principal investigator for the evaluation of the Teaching with Primary Sources Program for the Library of Congress. Dr. Humphrey led two studies of school reform in Chicago, including an examination of the Renaissance 2010 initiative and another study of high school reform in the district. Among his other recent research projects are a major national study of alternative teacher certification for the Carnegie Corporation and a study of the impact of National Board Certified Teachers on low-performing schools for Atlantic Philanthropies.

Sherene Judeh is a ninth grade humanities teacher, inquiry group leader, and grade level leader at Lighthouse Community Charter High School in Oakland, California. She is certified in English and social studies, and holds a K–8 multiple subject credential. She entered the teaching profession through Teach for America and completed a one-year credentialing program through Alliant International University. She is currently pursuing an M.Ed. and administrative credential through the Reach Institute. In her six years of teaching, she has served in multiple roles, including facilitating the English language learners program, chairing the Algebra readiness committee and working with novice teachers as a mentor. She is a member of the National Education Association, California Association of Teachers of English and the San Francisco Teachers for Social Justice network.

Dr. Julia E. Koppich is President of J. Koppich & Associates, a San Francisco-based education consulting firm. She was co-Principal Investigator on a recently completed study on Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) in California and is serving in the same capacity on a new study of California's teacher early career policies. Dr. Koppich is a Technical Assistance Lead for the federal Teacher Incentive Fund program and is currently working with Memphis City Schools to develop a new teacher tenure policy. She has studied and written widely about teacher evaluation, teacher compensation, and education labor-management relations. She is the author of numerous articles and co-author of two books: A Union of Professionals and United Mind Workers: Unions and Teaching in the Knowledge Society.

Anna Martin is a hybrid teacher at a middle school in the South Bay, and a member of the Center for Teaching Quality's Bay Area New Millenium Initiative. She began her career through Teach For America and has continued to work as a mentor and teacher leader at her placement school. She is now in her eighth year in the profession, and recently achieved National Board Certification. In the summer of 2010, she was a Fulbright recipient and had the opportunity to travel to Morocco to develop social studies curriculum.

Tom Torlakson was elected to a four-year term as California’s 27th State Superintendent of Public Instruction on November 2, 2010. As chief of California’s public school system and leader of the California Department of Education, Superintendent Torlakson applies his experience as a science teacher, high school coach, and state policymaker to fight for our students and improve our state’s public education system. Torlakson’s journey has led him from the classrooms of Contra Costa County’s Mount Diablo Unified School District (where he remains a teacher-on-leave), to the Antioch City Council, Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, and the California State Senate and State Assembly. In the Legislature, he fought for education funding, improved student nutrition and physical education, school safety, and efforts to close the digital divide, eliminate the achievement gap and reduce the dropout rate. Born in San Francisco, Superintendent Torlakson served as a fireman in the United States Merchant Marine, earning the Vietnam Service Medal. He holds teaching credentials and a master’s in education from UC Berkeley.


9:30 – 9:40 Introduction and Opening Comments
Sandra Dean, Associate Director, Accomplished California Teachers
Christy Pichel, President, Stuart Foundation

9:40 – 10:00 State Policy Directions
Hon. Tom Torlakson, State Superintendent for Public Instruction

10:00 – 11:15 How Can We Strengthen California’s Teaching Force?
Moderator: John Fensterwald, Editor and Co-Writer, TOP- Ed
The Shape of the Profession: Bay Area New Millennium Initiative
Barnett Berry, President, Center for Teaching Quality
Anna Martin, Middle School Resource Teacher, San Jose
Sherene Judeh, High School Humanities Teacher, Oakland
Evaluation to Build a Strong Profession: Accomplished California Teachers
David B. Cohen, English Teacher, Palo Alto Unified School District
Anthony Cody, Retired Science Teacher, Oakland
The Role of Peer Review: SRI International and J. Koppich & Associates
Dan Humphrey, Associate Director, SRI Center for Education Policy
Julia Koppich, President, J. Koppich and Associates

11:15 – 12:15 What Policies Will Create a Strong Teaching Profession?
Assemblymember Felipe Fuentes (D-Sylmar)
Richard Carranza, Deputy Superintendent, San Francisco Unified School District
Shannan Brown, President, San Juan Teachers Association, 2011  California Teacher of the Year
Eric Heins, Vice President, California Teachers Association

12:15-12:30 Break and lunch set-up

12:30 – 1:30 Lunch and Closing Remarks: “How We Can Develop and Support World-Class Teaching in Every California Classroom”
Linda Darling-Hammond, Stanford University Charles E. Ducommun Professor  of Education and SCOPE Co- Director

This forum is made possible through a grant from the Stuart Foundation.

Stuart Foundation
Center for Teaching Quality
Accomplished California Teachers
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