{View as Webpage} • April 21, 2022
May 26, 2022
For almost 50 years, IDRA has advocated excellent schools for all students, using our proven model of community-centered advocacy and engagement. Our policy advocacy, educator training and research promotes equitable educational opportunities for all students, particularly students of color, immigrant students and those from communities with limited incomes in the U.S. South. IDRA’s work in 11 southern states and Washington, D.C. allows for a focused, robust and holistic approach to equitable policy and practice, and provides critical insights for federal policymakers.
In this edition, you will find IDRA’s statement about current efforts to challenge programs that ensure access to college for undocumented students, resources to address persistent digital inequities, information about IDRA’s new Youth Advisory Board, and updates about nationwide advocacy to ban corporal punishment in schools. 
The horrifying school shooting in Uvalde this week has shaken us all, in Texas and across the country. We are deeply saddened and angry for the young children, teachers, families and community whose lives have been changed in such a devastating way. 

Yet again, in the wake of a tragic school shooting, some policymakers are quickly proposing strategies that we know do not make schools safer, including increasing the presence of school police, bringing more weapons into classrooms and hardeningschools to the point that they feel more like prisons than learning environments.

We urge everyone to remember what school safety truly looks like and take meaningful steps to address gun violence across the country, ensure children and teachers have the resources and support they need in their schools and invest in strong, relationship-centered learning environments. IDRAs resources below focus on what it takes to build these environments, including after devastating violence. 

Supporting Students in the Wake of Violence – IDRA EAC-South Convening Panels in Broward County, Florida
  • Communities Helping Communities – Resources and Models for Community and Student Support, featuring school leaders from the Parkland and Charlottesville communities (2 videos)
  • Impact of Social Climate on Students in Schools, featuring the superintendent of an El Paso school district (1 video)

IDRA’s Impact of Mass Shootings on Schools - Classnotes Podcast Episode after El Paso, Parkland and Charlottesville

IDRA Denounces Court Ruling Jeopardizing Texas’ Dream Act 
In April, a federal judge ruled that federal immigration law preempts Texas’ in-state tuition statute and bars Texas colleges from charging out-of-state tuition to out-of-state U.S. citizens. In the case, Young Conservatives of Texas v. University of North Texas, the court sided with the plaintiffs in finding that all U.S. citizens, regardless of their connections to Texas, must be eligible for Texas’ in-state tuition rate at the University of North Texas. 

IDRA and a large coalition of organizations and individuals are watching this case closely for the implications it will have on Dreamers across the country. IDRA’s statement explains the details of the lawsuit and the judge’s order and argues that federal intervention is necessary to protect educational opportunities for so many young people and their families.  
Resources to Address Digital Equity 
States across the country continue to struggle to ensure equitable access to broadband services, devices and digital literacy tools. These are especially critical services and tools for young people – including young people of color and those with limited economic means who are disproportionately impacted by digital inequities and who, like their peers, rely on technology to complete school and homework.

IDRA has engaged in local, state and federal advocacy to address the digital divide. Please check out these resources for more information about expanding digital equity to ensure access to excellent educational opportunities for all students. 

Introducing IDRA’s Youth Advisory Board 
IDRA is proud to announce its first Youth Advisory Board! The board is made up of 10 high school students dedicated to changing educational policies in their communities and growing a network of engaged young people.

Board members are trained by IDRA research, policy, advocacy and community engagement experts and apply what they learn through advocacy projects. They are also key members of the IDRA team, providing support to craft and refine local, state and federal educational policies that center young people. 
IDRA Joins More than 200 Organizations and Individuals to Push for an End to Corporal Punishment 
In 19 states across the country, children can still be hit in their schools. In 2017-18 approximately 70,000 children were paddled or hit, with the most violence against young people happening in schools across the U.S. South. IDRA and more than 200 other organizations and individuals signed on to a letter urging members of Congress to co-sponsor and pass the Protecting Our Students in Schools Act of 2021 (POSSA). This piece of legislation is critical to stop corporal punishment in schools that receive federal funds and invest in research-based strategies that create safe and supportive school climates for all young people.
For more information about corporal punishment, POSSA and why federal intervention is necessary now, please contact Morgan Craven, J.D., IDRA’s national director of policy advocacy and community engagement at morgan.craven@idra.org. 
Please check out IDRA’s resources on school resource equity, culturally-sustaining schools, educational opportunities for emergent bilingual students, access and preparation for college, and ending harmful school discipline. For more information, contact Morgan Craven, J.D. 
IDRA is an independent, non-profit organization whose mission is to achieve equal educational opportunity through strong public schools that prepare all students to access and succeed in college.