September 9, 2020

Featured News

On Friday, this country lost arguably the most famous Supreme Court Justice ever, Ruth Bader Ginsberg. A fierce defender of women’s rights, she was the second woman ever appointed to the Supreme Court. Appointed by President Bill Clinton, she served 27 years on the court. Her judicial legacy is extensive both on and off the bench. Before she ever arrived at the Supreme Court as a Justice, she argued before the court establishing precedents that people, primarily women, still benefit from today. Her impact on public education is also significant. In the United States v. Virginia, the case that ended Virginia’s exclusion of women at Virginia Military Institution (VMI) Ginsberg wrote her most important education opinion. “A prime part of the history of our the story of the extension of constitutional rights and protections to people once ignored or excluded.” “There is reason to believe that the admission of women capable of all the activities required of VMI cadets would destroy the Institute rather than enhance its capacity to serve ‘a more perfect Union,’” she wrote in her opinion. She told critics of her opinion in the case, “you will be proud of the women who become graduates of VMI.” She visited VMI in 2017 to meet with the female cadets of VMI; she was warmly welcomed. 

Ginsberg consistently voted in favor of school desegregation, voting in favor of efforts to ensure all students had access to resources. She wrote in Missouri v. Jenkins “Today, the court declares illegitimate the goal of attracting nonminority students to Kansas City, Missouri, School District, and thus stops the District Court’s efforts to integrate a school that was, in the 1984/1985 school year, sorely in need and 68.3% Black. Given the deep, inglorious history of segregation in Missouri, to curtail desegregation at this time and in this manner is an action at once too swift and too soon.”

She dissented in a 2007 decision (Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District), which curtailed the way race was used as a factor in assigning students to schools. She also voted for race to be an allowable factor in admissions decisions in both a case involving the University of Michigan law school (2003) and the University of Texas at Austin (2016). For more information on her life and the impact of her time on the bench, see
NCTR and Partner News

The Kansas City Teacher Residency program, a nonprofit dedicated to recruiting, preparing, and retaining diverse and highly effective teachers in Kansas City area schools, has launched a new Special Education certification program that aims to address the local Special Education teacher shortage. In preparation for the incoming class of Teacher Residents, KCTR partnered with Dream Education Consulting, LLC to design the new curriculum. With the support of the Marion and Henry Bloch Family Foundation, KCTR has secured $100,000 in multiyear funding to hire new staff, and to actively recruit professionals, recent college graduates, and graduating college seniors to join the program in Summer 2021. Together with Bellwether Education Partners, KCTR conducted a landscape analysis in 2018 which found that only 3 percent of all teachers prepared in the Kansas City, Missouri Metro in 2017 were for Special Education classrooms. These findings reveal a drastic shortage of Special Education teachers for Kansas City’s students with disabilities. When faced with these shortages, the Learning Policy Institute reports principals often resort to filling special education vacancies with underprepared teachers. This could mean hiring a teacher certified in a field other than special education, an intern with just a few weeks of training, or—in the most extreme cases—a teacher on an emergency credential who has no training whatsoever. The impact of hiring underprepared teachers for Special Education classrooms is an inequitable learning experience for Kansas City’s students with disabilities. According to the Center for American Progress, the inequities are even more pronounced for students of color with disabilities, as records show that African American, Latino, and American Indian/Alaska Native students graduate from high school at a rate 10% lower than that of their white peers with disabilities. Special Education certification is an expansion of KCTR’s teacher preparation program. The organization has certified over 135 new teachers for Early Childhood, Elementary, and Middle School Math, Science, and Language Arts since the Residency launched in 2016. 


To learn more about the KCTR Special Education certification program, visit 

 Resources and Connections

NCTR Request for Proposals (RFP) Available October 5, 2020
In partnership with
EdReports and Student Achievement Partners (SAP), NCTR will use a collaborative approach to support a community of five residency teams from NCTR’s Network to build more coherent experiences for teacher candidates. We will work to make identifying, using, and modifying curriculum materials central to the design of what has historically been called “methods” courses.  This opportunity is open to residencies in NCTR’s Network, and residencies will be selected through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process. 

Through three workshops, participants will develop a shared understanding of curriculum literacy, design course experiences in which curriculum literacy plays a prominent role, and use artifacts of enactment to create the design or redesign of existing “methods” course work.  Each program will draft a learning experience that centers on high-quality instructional materials and utilizes each phase of the Learning Cycle. 

NCTR will provide technical assistance to each of the five program teams to support their implementation of workshop ideas, and participating programs will receive $1.500.00 for creating and sharing the learning experience.  The RFP will be released on Monday, October 5, 2020, and NCTR will host an informational webinar on Friday, October 9th, at 2:00 pm Central Time. Register for the informational webinar here


Research Study
NCTR is partnering with
Mathematica and DIR  to conduct a research study with funding from the U.S. Department of Education on the impact of teacher residency programs.  Our research partners at Mathematica and DIR will be reaching out to residency programs in NCTR’s network in the coming days and weeks to discuss the study in more detail. 

This study will help to better understand the viability of large-scale research of teacher residencies as a teacher preparation route and helps to positively position NCTR and your program for future federal and state grants. The goal is not to evaluate the effectiveness of teacher residencies or any one program but rather to determine how teacher residencies can eventually be evaluated - which measures have validity and the extent to which future evaluations can use outcomes such as teacher effectiveness and student achievement. We are excited about this opportunity to advance the teacher residency movement nationally. 

Please note that the study will focus on school years 2021-2022 and 2022-2023. Each will be asked to complete a formal interview, and some will be asked to provide information on the placement schools of program graduates. 

All information collected will be confidential. This study is the first of its kind, and we urge your cooperation. Feel free to contact Eric Zeidman,, at Mathematica with questions. 

In the News

Chalk Beat
Because they are not in the same room with students, teachers are striving to find new ways to keep their attention in class and push them to do schoolwork. Teachers at KIPP Indy Legacy High School are among thousands in the U.S. leading classes over video this fall. Without the daily interactions in classrooms and halls that help them get to know students, they are spending the first weeks of school building relationships. Because they are not in the same room with students, teachers strive to find new ways to keep their attention in class and push them to do schoolwork. Because they are not in the same room with students, teachers are striving to find new ways to keep their attention in class. 

Educators must do more than muddle through remote learning at Legacy. The stakes are too high to let hardship derail high school even during a pandemic. But it’s not easy. The coronavirus has upended students’ lives and education. While going to class virtually, they also look after younger siblings, working jobs, and dealing with illnesses in their families. 

Over the coming months, Chalkbeat will follow how the pandemic is changing life for students, families, and educators at Legacy in Martindale-Brightwood, a predominantly Black neighborhood northeast of downtown. The high school, which currently has students in ninth and 10th grades, began the year entirely online. Leaders are expected to decide in the coming days whether to bring students back in person next month. 


As negotiations over the next round of COVID-19 relief remained stalled on Capitol Hill, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said Thursday that she is hopeful the final package will include funding for two programs that would provide public funds and tax credits to allow families to send their children to private schools.

Please note that the articles and events in the NCTR E-Blast do not reflect the opinions of our organization, but rather represent information that we believe will be relevant to you and your programs.

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