October 21, 2020

Featured News

Big-city school districts across the U.S. have been slower to reopen buildings than their suburban and rural counterparts, though more are now open on a hybrid schedule. Those decisions mean students of color, in particular, have gone longer without the academic, nutritional, and emotional benefits of in-person school. 


Critics have pointed to teachers' unions and anti-Trump sentiment as contributing factors, especially in places where COVID-19 case rates remain low. But the decisions being made by the country’s biggest city charter school networks — operating in the same areas but typically independent of unions and district regulations — suggest there’s more going on and highlight the complicated ways politics have shaped school reopening choices. Read more.

Resources and Connections

NCTQ Releases 2020 Teacher Prep Review

The COVID-19 pandemic means many students are learning remotely instead of in classrooms, and schools are struggling to reach students who do not have sufficient access to the internet or computers. Regardless of how a student accesses learning, one of the most important things is the effectiveness of their teacher, and how that teacher is trained matters significantly in terms of how effective she/he will ultimately be as a classroom teacher of record. The National Center for Teacher Quality has released its 2020 Teacher Prep Review. Among their findings: 

  • The quality of the clinical experience remains a problem of deep concern for the profession's future health.
  • Alternative programs and residencies screen mentor teachers more carefully than traditional programs. 
  • Non-traditional programs may be more likely to teach empirically-supported classroom management strategies. 

New Publication from Dr. Travis Bristol

NCTR Board member and University of Berkeley assistant professor Dr. Travis Bristol has co-authored a new journal article on recruiting and retaining teachers of color. Bristol and his co-author, James Noonan, posit that the slow pace of change in hiring practices may be attributed to a lack of “durable and parochial social networks” in schools and districts. 

Track How the 2020 Elections Could Shape Education

With national attention on the presidential race this election year, it can be easy to forget about other important leadership positions and ballot measures that voters will be deciding on this November. The impact these races will have on states’ education systems is potentially significant. Education Commission of the States (ECS) has compiled all of the education-relevant races and issues in one place for you to track.

In the News

Facing a shortage of educators of color, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) looks to groom its own students for teaching jobs. Confronting a dire shortage of teachers of color that’s years in the making, CPS officials are unveiling their latest effort that would put more students on the path to teaching.

The district is launching an initiative called “Teach Chicago Tomorrow” to create a homegrown educator pipeline. Interested CPS students will go to City Colleges for general education coursework and an associate degree, then Illinois State University for a bachelor’s degree. ISU classes will be held in Chicago at the university’s National Center for Urban Education in Garfield Park. After a year-long student teaching gig, grads will get priority access to jobs at CPS. 

Matt Lyons, CPS’s chief talent officer, says, “The goal is to build a network of new teachers who look like Chicago kids, come from Chicago communities, are invested in Chicago’s neighborhoods because ultimately they’re CPS graduates.” 

Gifted education in America has a race problem. According to the most recent federal data, nearly 60 percent of gifted education students are white, compared to 50 percent of public school enrollment overall. Black students, in contrast, made up 9 percent of students in gifted education, although they were 15 percent of the overall student population. 

Many factors contribute to this disparity. Gifted education has racism in its roots; Lewis Terman, the psychologist who in the 1910s popularized the concept of “IQ” that became the foundation of gifted testing, was a eugenicist. Admissions for gifted programs tend to favor children with wealthy, educated parents, who are more likely to be white.

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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