Could McCarthy Be In??????

Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, the Speaker of the House, former education chairman, and a lead author of the No Child Left Behind Act, is out as of the end of the month—and Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., will almost certaintly replace him.

McCarthy doesn’t have nearly as long a resume on K-12 as Boehner did going into the job. (To be fair, very few lawmakers could.) He hasn’t sponsored or co-sponsored many education bills since joining Congress in 2007.

He’s co-signed a bill overhauling the Impact Aid program, which offers federal money to districts with a big federal presence,…

HILLARY’S Endorsement

Sources say that the National Education Association, the country’s largest union, could endorse the Democratic candidate in a presidential primary battle as early as Friday Oct. 2, 2015. Once the PAC Council approves the nomination, the union’s board of directors must also vote to approve it by a 58 percent margin. But, unlike with a presedential nomination, the union’s Representative Assembly does not have to sign off on it. We’ll just have to wait until Friday to find out the results. Â©Depositphotos.com/Margaret Paynich

AFT SPENDS BIG BUCKS

It’s no SECRET AFT isn’t scared to pay in order to play. The organization 2014-2015 was filed hours ago detailing where every red cent was spent for this past fiscal year.   American Federation of Teachers spent big on preserving its declining influence over education policy. The nation’s second-largest teachers’ union spent $42 million on political lobbying activities and contributions to what should be like-minded groups; this doesn’t include politically-driven spending that can often find its way under so-called “representational activities”. This is a 45 percent increase over influence-spending levels in 2013-2014.

AFT gave big to the charities controlled by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton. It handed over $250,000 to the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation and another $250,000 to the Clinton Global Initiative, which is the other non-explicitly political wing of the Clinton family’s always-political efforts. Altogether, the two Clinton charities received $500,000 in 2014-2015, an 11 percent increase over the $450,000 given to them in the previous year.

Center for Popular Democracy, on whose board Weingarten sits, picked up $60,000 from AFT while its action fund received another $100,000; the group has done more than its duty for the union (and its goal of opposing school choice) by teaming up with In The Public Interest to publish a series of reports demanding “accountability” for public charter schools. In The Public Interest, by the way, picked up $50,000 from AFT for doing the union’s bidding. AFT gave $25,000 to Netroots Nation, another longstanding beneficiary of its largesse. It gave $27,000 to The Nation, which has become a prime venue for pieces that favor the AFT’s views on systemic reform; and handed $10,000 to Dissent, the progressive magazine that occasionally makes The Nation seem downright conservative.

Another key group AFT is funding is the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, which has been worked actively on pay equity and other issues. This includes its Early Care and Education project, which has issued a steady stream of reports calling for preschool teachers to be better-paid; this dovetails nicely with AFT’s twin goals of regaining dominance in education policy and becoming the dominant union in the early childhood education space. The union gave $47,500 to IWPR in 2014-2015. AFT also poured $60,000 into Jobs with Justice and its education fund; gave $20,000 to Policy Matters Ohio; and handed out $50,000 to Public Policy and Education Fund of New York. United Students Against Sweatshops, which has actively opposed reform outfits such as Students For Education Reform and Teach for America on behalf of AFT, picked up $50,000 from the union last year. Americans United for Change picked up $90,000 from AFT in 2014-2015.

Now  let’s talk salary!!!!

The AFT president pulled down $497,118 in 2014-2015, 10.8 percent less than in the previous year, while Secretary-Treasurer Loretta Johnson was paid $356,292, or slightly more than in the previous period. Mary Cathryn Ricker, the former Saint Paul Federation of Teachers boss who succeeded Francine Lawrence as executive vice president, was paid $295,275, more than the zero dollars she earned as an AFT vice president in 2013-2014. Altogether, the AFT’s big three pulled down $1.1 million last fiscal year, 15 percent less than in the previous period.

The union’s mandarins also did well. Michelle Ringuette, the former Service Employees International Union staffer who is now Weingarten’s top assistant, made $232,865 in 2014-2015, while Michael Powell, who serves as Weingarten’s mouthpiece, earned $247,254. Kristor Cowan, the AFT’s chief lobbyist, earned $185,015, while Kombiz Lavasany, another operative who oversees Weingarten’s money manager enemies’ list, earned $176,080. Altogether, 229 staffers made more than $100,000 a year, 10 more than last year.

Relay Graduate Kickoff

<h2>Memphis’ newest teacher training school launches next week</h2>
<p>Originally posted on <a href=”http://tn.chalkbeat.org/2015/07/08/memphis-newest-teacher-training-school-launches-next-week/?utm_source=republish&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=republish”>Chalkbeat</a&gt; by <a href=”http://tn.chalkbeat.org/author/kskinner/”&gt; Kayleigh Skinner</a> on July 8, 2015</p>
<p><p class=”lead”>When Memphis’ newest teacher training program opens next week, it won’t be according to its founders’ original plan.</p>
<p><a href=”http://www.relay.edu/campuses/memphis”>Relay Graduate School of Education</a> had planned to open at the University of Memphis, but that avenue closed earlier this year after faculty at the university objected. The graduate school has yet to establish a partnership with any particular charter network or district to work with its teachers, as Relay campuses in other cities have done.</p>
<p>So the school, the latest in a series of replicas of an innovative New York City program, is going it alone, at least at the outset. And with the first day of classes less than a week away, it is still rounding up students.</p>
<p>“We don’t have any partnership agreements in place with any schools,” said Brendan Egan, director of operations for the Memphis campus. “I would say we work in collaboration with schools.”</p>
<p>Relay aims to upend the way teachers are trained to work in urban schools. Unlike traditional programs, which have drawn criticism for poorly preparing urban teachers by prioritizing theory over practical skills, Relay focuses on hands-on practice and only enrolls teachers who already work full time in schools. It also makes graduation dependent on whether a student can prove that his or her own students have learned — something that traditional graduate programs do not do.</p>
<p>Relay’s repudiation of traditional teacher training has made it a target for supporters of those programs, including the University of Memphis <a href=”http://tn.chalkbeat.org/2014/12/03/university-of-memphis-faculty-signals-displeasure-with-relay-deal/#.VZxP-UJ38Vo&#8221; target=”_blank”>Faculty Senate</a>. It also means that its local success is in some ways connected to broader efforts underway to reshape the city’s long-struggling schools.</p>
<p>Indeed, Relay’s model — which was <a href=”http://ny.chalkbeat.org/2011/02/14/a-new-graduate-school-of-education-relay-to-open-next-fall/#.VZv1oO1Viko”>developed by a group of New York City charter operators</a> — appeals to the growing cadre of Memphis leaders who say a new approach to teaching is needed if the city is to improve outcomes for its many struggling students and schools. The city is in the midst of a sweeping effort to improve its 59 “priority schools,” or schools with test scores in the bottom 5 percent statewide, and some of the same philanthropists who have donated to that push are supporting Relay, as well. Eventually, the graduate school plans to become self-sustaining from tuition alone.</p>
<p>“Unfortunately we have about 25,000 kids who are sitting in priority schools,” said Michelle Armstrong, who has worked as both a teacher and principal in the city and now is Relay’s dean. “When you think about Memphis Teaching Residency and Teach for America, there is plenty of room at the table for all of us to sit and figure out how we can improve things for those 25,000 kids.”</p>
<p>Memphis Teacher Residency places aspiring teachers as apprentices in experienced teachers’ classrooms for a year while they also study how to teach. Teach for America, the decades-old national program that sends top college graduates to high-needs schools after a summer of training, is contributing 110 new teachers to Memphis schools this year.</p>
<p>Relay’s two programs mirror those two nonprofits. A two-year Relay residency program, with a tuition of up to $6,5oo, will let aspiring teachers work under experienced educators, or “lead teachers,” for a year before letting them have their own classroom. And a separate program, costing up to $17,500 for two years, will allow educators who are already in the classroom to get Relay’s brand of training. If completed successfully, both programs result in state certification and a master’s degree.</p>
<p>In the five states where Relay has operated until now, the graduate school places residents and trains new teachers at “partner” charter networks and nonprofits. For example, all first-year teachers in the New Orleans College Prep charter network take Relay courses and work with a mentor from the charter network at the same time. In New York, the school places residents in the Achievement First charter network, KIPP NYC, and the nonprofit tutoring group Blue Engine.</p>
<p>The Memphis campus is working with a “handful of public schools in Memphis,” but there is no official partnership with local school districts yet, Egan said. Shelby County Schools has no money invested in working with Relay like it does with Teach for America, but the district does view the graduate school “as a pipeline to get candidates to serve in high-need areas,” said district spokesman Christian Ross.</p>
<p>There are instead “anchor partners,” or schools that are encouraging their teachers to apply to Relay.</p>
<p>“Following a model we’ve successfully implemented at our other campuses, Relay Memphis will launch this year with a few anchor school partners,” said Tim Saintsing, Relay’s chief operating officer. “Over time, we expect to grow these and other partnerships, based on the demand for our programs here in Memphis.”</p>
<p>What that demand will look like is unclear. Although the deadline to apply was June 10, Egan said Relay is still accepting applications and working to finalize the first cohort of 20 to 25 students — who are set to begin classes in less than a week, on July 13.</p>

“We’re here for the long haul; we’re not just looking to do a program and leave. “Brendan Egan, Relay director of operations

<p>And while Egan said he expects the majority of participants ultimately to come from schools in the state-run Achievement School District, which is tasked with turning around the state’s lowest-performing schools, so far most of the teachers accepted work at Freedom Preparatory Academy, a charter school under the purview of Shelby County Schools.</p>
<p>One challenge that could impede enrollment is that teachers in the residency program must spend half of every Friday at Relay reviewing teaching techniques and getting feedback from instructors and classmates based on video footage of their own teaching.</p>
<p>Allowing teachers to step away for part of the day every week could be a heavy lift for schools with staffs that already are stretched thin. But at Freedom Prep, students are dismissed early on Friday afternoons so that teachers can have additional training, making it possible for those in the residency program to work with Relay.</p>
<p>“Freedom Prep is a place where we have a strong culture of feedback and development,” said Roblin Webb, the school’s founder. “This provides us much more bandwidth to be able to support the new teachers in our building.”</p>
<p>Starting July 13, Relay students will spend that first week of classes at Freedom Prep. During the fall and spring semesters, students will meet with Armstrong twice a month in the evening, and spend one Saturday a month with an adjunct professor who teaches literacy and math. Forty percent of the curriculum is online so that students have some flexibility with their schedules, Armstrong said.</p>
<p>That curriculum has been in use in Relay’s five locations since the first site opened in New York in 2012.</p>
<p>In Tennessee, Relay received authorization in January from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission to operate in Memphis as a postsecondary educational institution. Memphis will join Delaware and the Philadelphia/Camden, N.J., area as Relay’s newest sites, bringing the total number of campuses to eight. Relay now trains 1,400 teachers across its locations every year, according to its website.</p>
<p>The school’s trajectory has its local founders optimistic, despite their early road bumps.</p>
<p>“Relay is here in Tennessee, and we are excited to be here,” Egan said. “We’re here for the long haul; we’re not just looking to do a program and leave. We are a higher education institution here.”</p>
</p>
<p><a href=”http://tn.chalkbeat.org”>Chalkbeat Tennessee</a> is a nonprofit news site covering educational change in public schools.</p>

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Aspire CEO tours Memphis

Carolyn Hack and other Administrators from Aspire which is based out of California ,  came to town last week for training and touring of the current charters operated by Aspire here in town.  Aspire opened two schools in Memphis, in 2013  Hanley  and  Coleman Elementary in 2014.  The network has expressed an interest in adding two more schools to its Memphis portfolio next year, to add to its national portfolio of 38 schools.

Unlike most of its open-enrollment charter schools in California, Aspire’s charters in Tennessee must follow state guidelines requiring them to enroll neighborhood children before other students and work within an existing culture.  Aspire prides itself on building strong relationships among students and teachers by having teachers stick with the same group of students for two school years and pairing each student with a teacher adviser throughout his or her time at Aspire. Every student also develops a personal academic goal.

Hack says her goal is to “take care of the home front and build out in Memphis the way we envisioned.”