"Regrettably, some researchers and school administrators around the country are thinking only about assessing students' grit and resilience. They are already assuming that students are lacking, rather than exploring how schools must change." - Dr. María "Cuca" Robledo Montecel, IDRA President and CEO
In this issue:
The Link between Institutional Grit and Non-cognitive Skills, by Hector Bojorquez
Institutionalized Discrimination... Does it Exist in Your School?, by David Hinojosa, J.D.
In-grade Retention National Trends and Civil Rights Concerns, by Paula N. Johnson, M.A.
Texas Graduation Requirements and Opportunities - IDRA's New Parent Involvement Tool for School Districts, by Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed.
Resources from the 20th Annual IDRA La Semana del Niño Parent Institute™
Hector Bojorquez addresses the concept of "institutional grit" or the resilience and ability members of an educational institution possess to encourage and build non-cognitive skills in their students to close the achievement gap. Educators must believe their students are capable of great academic achievement and ensure that their practices demonstrate high expectations and support for all students. This requires internalizing the assumption that all students are capable of going to college while having the grit, as an educator or stakeholder, to provide support for all students rather than sending them down a path of remediation.
This article addresses how schools can identify institutionalized discrimination - discriminatory practices that manifest through behaviors, actions and policies of public institutions that target or exclude based on race, sex, gender, national origin, religion and disability, among others. This kind of discrimination can be difficult to stop because it often has a basis in patterns and practices from historical norms. David Hinojosa pinpoints three critical areas - expectations, school funding and curriculum - as starting points for schools to identify and correct their own discriminatory policies and practices.
This offering from Paula Johnson focuses on the issue of in-grade retention and the problematic trends in our national data. She discusses research on retention, its traumatic effects, and how it must be addressed as a civil rights issue. Alleviating in-grade retention requires reform on the part of schools and must be achieved through improving course offerings and educational programs for all students, providing professional support to get to the heart of reducing bias, and countering resource gaps and inequities across public schools.
IDRA's New Parent Involvement Tool for School Districts
by Paula N. Johnson. M.A.
In the summer of 2013, the Texas Legislature weakened the graduation requirements for Texas students. Schools are now encouraged to put students on different paths, called "endorsements," toward graduation: some college bound and some bound for jobs that don't require college preparation. This phenomenon is present in different guises all across the United States. Colleges and universities do not pay much attention to the endorsement (or track) of high school students. Rather, they examine the transcript for the courses and grades: math, science, social studies and English, as key examples.
IDRA is releasing the fourth in a set of toolkits developed from the Annual IDRA La Semana del Niño Parent Institute for use in training and technical assistance for school districts to strengthen family engagement.
The Intercultural Development Research Association is an independent, non-profit organization. Our mission is to achieve equal educational opportunity for every child through strong public schools that prepare all students to access and succeed in college. IDRA strengthens and transforms public education by providing dynamic training; useful research, evaluation, and frameworks for action; timely policy analyses; and innovative materials and programs.
We are committed to the IDRA valuing philosophy, respecting the knowledge and skills of the individuals we work with and build on the strengths of the students and parents in their schools.