Transforming Education By Putting Kids First
IDRA Newsletter – This Issue's Focus: Education Policy
In This Issue
Legislative Sessions Constrained by COVID-19 Must Not Exclude Community Participation

The Policing of Black People Begins in Schools

A People-powered Plan for the Texas Legislative Session

Trump Administration, During a Pandemic, Moves to Privatize Education No Matter the Cost to Most Children

Every Scientist Named in the Texas Science Standards is a White Male – IDRA Recommends Accurate Inclusion of Scientific History

IDRA Names Two New Fellows
Census Deadline Extended to Monday
The Secretary of Commerce announced a new target date of October 5, 2020, to conclude 2020 Census self-response and field data collection operations.

Get counted and remind your family, friends and neighbors to complete their census at or by calling 844-330-2020.
What's Inside
Legislative Sessions Constrained by COVID-19 Must Not Exclude Community Participation
by Morgan Craven, J.D.

On any given day, nearly any member of the public is able to walk into a state Capitol building. The buildings themselves are supposed to function as open centers where elected officials and their constituents can interact and address important issues. But, like in almost every other system in our lives, COVID-19 has threatened to intensify the already-inequitable access to our state legislatures. 

Of course, states should put in place measures to protect the health of individuals and the public. But, if those protections are not intentionally coupled with measures to ensure safe access to policymaking spaces, they could harm the ability of communities of color, immigrant communities, poor communities, and others who have been historically marginalized and excluded to influence the decisions that impact their lives.

In this article, Morgan Craven, J.D., outlines seven recommendations to expand constituent access during legislative sessions.
The Policing of Black People Begins in Schools
by Morgan Craven, J.D.

The people peacefully protesting in support of Black lives are part of a movement demanding the most basic in human dignities and many of those demands started in schools, where Black students are more likely to be harshly punished and denied opportunities to succeed. Discipline and educational disparities impact students for their entire lives. 

Many adults in schools perceive Black students’ behavior, even when innocent and age-appropriate, as deserving of punishment, arrest and unnecessary intervention. Schools affirm and perpetuate deeply-rooted systemic prejudices when they suspend, paddle, and arrest students and punish Black students disproportionately.

In this article, Morgan Craven, J.D., discusses how we must break down the discriminatory school discipline and policing system and build up excellent and equitable public schools for all students. 
A People-powered Plan for the Texas Legislative Session
by Ana Ramón

COVID-19 will make traditional ways of advocating in the Texas Legislature nearly impossible, and details on the session itself are still unknown, even to many legislators and staff. Sessions will likely rely on online platforms, and the legislature might limit the scope of issues it addresses during the session. 

Policymakers may feel less inclined to carry legislation brought to them by constituents and advocacy groups. In this article, Ana Ramón describes how advocates can rely on three key strategies to ensure involvement of students, families and others impacted by policies: robust digital advocacy, direct actions and network building. 
Trump Administration, During a Pandemic, Moves to Privatize Education No Matter the Cost to Most Children
by Chloe Latham Sikes, Ph.D.

The Trump Administration makes no secret that it favors strategies to privatize education. And even as educational stakeholders struggle to navigate learning in the pandemic, the U.S. Department of Education continues to attempt to siphon public education COVID-19 relief funds to benefit private schools. 

Dr. Chloe Latham Sikes lists numerous such actions over the past nine months – from proposing new rules that would allow religious institutions to receive federal grants even as they discriminate against vulnerable student populations to the Department instructing public school districts to hand over their emergency COVID-19 relief funds to private schools based on the number of students from limited incomes. 

Each of these actions contributes to private education strategies that undercut public schools to funnel money to campuses that select fewer students.
Every Scientist Named in the Texas Science Standards is a White Male –
IDRA Recommends Accurate Inclusion of Scientific History
by Stephanie Garcia, Ph.D.

Currently, every scientist named in the K-12 Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) is a white male, while students of color make up about 72% of the public school population. A critical part of preparing students for success is teaching curricula that accurately portray the contributions of the diverse individuals and communities that make up the nation’s collective story.
As state board members consider revisions to the Science TEKS, IDRA urges inclusion of the scientific achievements of women and persons of color – groups that are shamefully absent from current standards. 

In this article, Dr. Stephanie Garcia says it is critical to include this representation to ensure that students can see themselves reflected in their coursework and to prepare educators to do their best. Revisions to science TEKS should be mindful of the contributions of women and persons of color throughout history and facilitate conversations about social issues to increase student understanding and promote authentic learning.
IDRA Names Two New Fellows
Meet Irene Gómez
IDRA’s New Ethnic Studies and English Learner Research Fellow
Meet Araceli García
IDRA’s First Education Policy Fellow of Color
Online Education Policy Resources
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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.
IDRA works hand-in-hand with hundreds of thousands of educators and families each year in communities and classrooms around the country. All our work rests on an unwavering commitment to creating self-renewing schools that value and promote the success of students of all backgrounds. 
September 30, 2020