Accountability Charter Schools Education Reform

Another Fake University to Award Master’s Degrees in Test Score Raising

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You have read about Relay “Graduate School of Education” and Match “Graduate School of Education.” These are programs where charter teachers teach future charter teachers how to raise test scores. It is an insult to all graduate schools of education to call Relay and Match “graduate schools of education.” There is not a single doctorate on their “faculties,” just charter teachers. They teach how to raise test scores and how to control classes. These institutions award master’s degrees. They have no research capacity, no studies of psychology, child development, economics, history, politics, testing, or sociology. They are a sham.

Here comes another one: “Aspire University.” At least it wants its research director to have a doctorate, so he or she can publish studies to promote the virtues of the charter movement. As the job description clearly states, the research director will be expected to “support the mission, vision, and core values of Aspire University.” Might as well be the director of marketing.


Aspire University is a new, not-for-profit organization that has grown out of a six year pilot program in Aspire Public Schools. Aspire Public Schools operates 38 high-performing, college-preparatory public charter schools serving 15,000 students in underserved communities across California and Memphis, Tennessee. Currently in its 17th academic year, Aspire is one of the nation’s largest open-enrollment K-12 public charter school systems serving predominantly low-income students and delivering a rigorous College for Certain education. An unrelenting focus on college preparedness led to 100 percent of graduating Aspire seniors being accepted to four-year colleges or universities over the last six years.

Through a partnership with the University of Pacific, we’ve trained and developed over 150 new teachers through a one-year apprenticeship model (the Aspire Teacher Residency). This teacher preparation model results in graduates with masters and teaching credentials and deep, classroom-based training who are tremendously effective as first year teachers and beyond, are staying in the classroom at higher rates than teachers prepared via traditional pathways, and are more demographically representative of the communities we serve. Aspire University now operates the Aspire Teacher Residency program, as well as an early stage principal residency program.

As we migrate from Aspire Public Schools to a stand-alone institution, Aspire University’s objectives are to:

1. Scale up our teacher residency program from 51 to 120 residents per year by Year 5.
2. Gain accreditation for Aspire University so we can offer the Master of Education degree by Year 5.
3. Help other charter and public school systems develop their own apprentice-model teacher training programs, and act as the degree-granting institution for those programs.
4. Build an evidence base and research agenda that strengthens AspireU’s programs, impact, and sustainability.



At Aspire University, we believe that students get to and through college because of great educators, and there just aren’t enough of them, especially for students who are the first in their families to go to college. Teaching and school leadership are noble professions that, when done well, are demanding of head and heart. At Aspire University we invest in and develop great teachers and school leaders using an apprenticeship model. The Director of Research will establish and lead an exceptional research function at Aspire University, developing and executing a research strategy that builds the evidence base for AspireU’s model, quantifies impact, deepens learning, improves performance, and helps ensure that the vision of developing significantly more, great teachers and leaders becomes a reality. The Director of Research will report directly to Aspire University’s President and CEO.


Reporting to the President/CEO and working closely with her as a thought partner to support the mission, vision and core values of Aspire University, the essential responsibilities of the Director of Research include:

1. Conducting publication-worthy original qualitative and quantitative research, especially in teacher preparation, apprenticeship models, personalized learning for both educators and students, principal preparation, and leadership development.
2. Coordinating third party evaluations with outside research firms, including at least one study that qualifies for the What Works Clearinghouse standards of evidence.
3. Identifying and supporting publication opportunities with and for colleagues.
4. Codifying lessons learned at Aspire U.
5. Providing ongoing input and strategic guidance into the tools and systems needed to collect and analyze data to inform research.
6. Synthesizing and enabling actionable use of emerging research in relevant fields.
7. Acting as a “translator,” effectively communicating across Aspire U about sophisticated research and statistical methods and their implications.
8. Creating data visualizations for reports.
9. Presenting at conferences that build brand, strengthen credibility, and enhance learning and learning networks
10. Identifying research funding opportunities and writing evaluation and research sections of grants to raise funds to support research.
11. Acting as a thought partner on the strategic use and implications of research for AspireU.
12. Performing other related duties as required and assigned.


1) Required knowledge, skills & abilities:

· Exceptional written and verbal communicator, including ability to translate sophisticated statistical and research methods into plain English and explain their real-world implications
· Strong quantitative and qualitative research skills
· Organized and thorough project manager with track record of developing plans, managing self and others effectively, and meeting deadlines for complex projects
· Entrepreneurial with a track record of succeeding in challenging, fast-paced, start-up environments; can operate amidst ambiguity; adjusts quickly to changing priorities and conditions; copes effectively with complexity and change
· Believes that education transforms lives and that every student deserves the opportunity to go to college
· Enthusiasm for Aspire University’s model and potential

2) Minimum educational level:
· Ph.D. or EdD required

3) Experience required:
· Research experience in K-12 education
· Some experience designing and managing experimental, quantitative studies
· Published education studies in peer-reviewed journals ideal

This position description intends to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this position. It is not intended to include all duties and responsibilities. The order in which duties and responsibilities are listed is not significant.

If you are interested please apply on line at



At Aspire University, we believe that students get to and through college because of great educators, and there just aren’t enough of them, especially for students who are the first in their families to go to college. Teaching and school leadership are noble professions that, when done well, are demanding of head and heart. At Aspire University we invest in and develop great teachers and school leaders using an apprenticeship model. The Executive Assistant will provide crucial, multi-faceted administrative and organizational support to the CEO, COO and the team as needed to keep AspireU operating smoothly, efficiently, and effectively. To thrive in this job, you should be accustomed to working in a high-volume, fast paced, startup environment. This position requires you to be flexible, self-motivated, detail oriented, tech-savvy, have very strong verbal and written communication skills, and be able to gracefully handle shifts in priorities and unexpected events. An entrepreneurial “self-starter” with a service orientation will be ideal.


1. Provide administrative support to the CEO, COO and team, including correspondence, filing, online research, managing office supplies and systems, purchasing, and handling communications internally and externally.
2. Manage schedules and calendars, requiring interaction with both internal and external constituents across multiple levels.
3. Coordinate a variety of team, executive and board meetings, including binders, scheduling, logistics, catering, and all items needed to ensure successful meetings.
4. Handle calls from both internal and external sources.
5. Arrange travel (flights, transportation, hotels) for CEO, COO and team.
6. Draft, format, proof, duplicate, and/or organize written materials, including letters, memos, forms, policies and procedures, presentations, reports, and grants.
7. Support the work of Board of Directors by organizing meeting materials, taking minutes, scheduling meetings and conference calls; and handling logistics for Board of Directors as needed.
8. Coordinate and support timely and effective email, web and social media updates and communications.
9. Pay meticulous attention to detail and presentation so that all communications and materials are accurate, error-free and meet stated requirements.
10. Invent templates, tools, systems and procedures as needed.
11. Support special projects as needed.
12. Manage confidential information appropriately.
13. Demonstrate knowledge and support of Aspire University’s mission, vision, value statements, standards, policies and procedures, operating instructions, confidentiality standards, and the code of ethical behavior.
14. Perform other related duties as needed to support the smooth and effective functioning of the organization.


1) Required knowledge, skills & abilities
· Highly proficient in administrative functions: meticulous, attentive to detail, efficient.
· Excellent organization, time management and follow-up skills
· High sense of urgency; strong results focus
· Successfully handle multiple projects concurrently
· Write clearly and persuasively
· Anticipate and resolve problems, work independently, and initiate new systems, tools and templates as needed in a new organization
· Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, with a strong customer service mentality
· Deal effectively with a diverse group of important external partners and stakeholders as well as internal contacts at all levels of the organization, including Board members
· Maintain the highest level of confidentiality and good judgment
· Calm and nimble team-player under challenging conditions and schedules, maintaining a pleasant disposition at all times
· Strong command of word processing; exemplary spelling and grammar skills, fast and accurate typist
· Fluent in a range of office software tools, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, database tools, and other standard business technologies. Ability to quickly learn new software. Familiar with both Mac and PC platforms
· Independent judgment and initiative is required to plan, prioritize and organize diversified workload, and set up templates, practices or procedures where none exist
· Truly motivated by administrative support roles

2) Minimum educational level:
· Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent experience.

3) Experience required:
· Minimum of 3 years of work experience, including some experience supporting C level executives, ideally in an entrepreneurial, start-up and/or nimble, non-bureaucratic organization
· Experience in K-12 or higher education, teaching, school leadership, and/or serving high needs students
· Commitment to public education and passion for Aspire University’s mission

4) Physical Demands:

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be reasonably met by an executive assistant to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Occasionally lift and/or move a minimum of 30 pounds. While performing the duties of this job, frequently required to sit, stand, move, feel, reach with hands and arms, talk and hear.

5) Work environment:

The work environment characteristics are representative of those in a typical office which one might encounter while performing the essential functions of this job. The noise, exposure to dust, oils, and cleaning chemicals are moderate. Work may be performed in indoor and/or outdoor environments. There may be some moderate exposure to childhood and/or other diseases in a school environment. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

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