This month's focus: College Opportunity
"What is good for the children of the most powerful in our society 
must be the expectation we set for all students."
- Celina Moreno, J.D., IDRA President &CEO
College Opportunity
School Counselors Express Concerns about College and Career Advising in Texas

by Hector Bojorquez
Hector Bojorquez
This article discusses preliminary findings from IDRA's qualitative study about how counselors in Texas see their roles following changes that weakened graduation requirements for Texas high school students.

Counselors repeatedly stated that requiring students to choose a college and career pathway in eighth grade can cause students to miss opportunities in high school. They also do not see themselves as having enough time to counsel their students. The majority reported that they spend at least 75% of their time performing tasks that have nothing to do with college and career counseling.

Even under the best of circumstances, parents and students are often confused about what endorsements mean, which careers align with particular endorsements and which classes students should take to suit their interests and to graduate college ready.

By the end of the study, funded by the Greater Texas Foundation, IDRA will present the results with a full picture of how counselors help students navigate graduation requirements and how they provide college and career counseling to underrepresented students.  
Five Best Practices that Add Women to the Equation - Preparing K-12 Girls for Mathematics
by Stephanie Garcia, Ph.D., & Kasia Razynska
author photos
Though there have been strides made in the past 20 years involving young women in math, there are still enduring gender gaps. This article reviews current trends in the data and best practices for increasing girls' performance and persistence in math from K-12.

Recommendations include removing harmful stereotypes, training teachers to provide constructive, meaningful feedback to allow students to revise their work, exposing girls to female role models with careers in mathematics, fostering girls' own identities as young mathematicians, and connecting mathematics skills to real world applications.

Promoting sex and gender equity can ensure equal access to rigorous coursework leading to a healthier school climate and high quality teaching.
Characteristics of College-Focused Schools
by Nilka Avilés, Ed.D.
nilka aviles photo
A common sentiment among educations is the notion that "college is not for everyone." This adage though typically refers to certain groups of students and serves as a veiled excuse to not prepare students for college. Schools can confront this detrimental mindset head-on by making the school's climate and culture the locus of change.

Barriers disappear when educators recognize all students as college material and take steps to realize their vision. Students can succeed when they have support from teachers who are committed to preparing them and removing barriers between their students and college.

Elements of a high school that values and prepares all students for college include having high expectations for all students, fostering a school culture that celebrates diversity, providing counselors and advisors with the time and resources they need to help students, and partnering with colleges to facilitate academic preparation and admissions.  
Dr. Cristóbal Rodríguez will study inequities in access to college readiness coursework
IDRA has named Howard University professor Dr. Cristóbal Rodríguez as the 2019 IDRA José A. Cárdenas School Finance Fellow. The fellows program honors the memory of IDRA founder, Dr. José Angel Cárdenas. The goal of the program is to engage the nation's most promising researchers in investigating school finance solutions that secure equity and excellence for all public school students.

Texas Top Ten Percent Plan - 
Expanding Access to College in Texas
During the 2019 Texas legislative session, IDRA conducted analysis and produced a number of resources on the positive impact of the Texas Top Ten Percent Plan.
Policy Brief
The Texas Top Ten Percent Plan's Legacy in Supporting Equal Access to College
Top Ten Percent Plan Expands College Access Across Texas
Op Ed cover
Texas Tribune Op-Ed
Admissions Scandal Raises Need to Protect Laws like Texas Top 10 Percent Plan That Reward Merit
Are you one of the thousands of Texas students admitted to a Texas university through the Top Ten Percent Plan? If you are, please tell us your story about how the Top Ten Percent Plan has impacted your life!
"More than anything, the Top Ten Percent Plan enabled my hard work to be recognized and not limited or set back by things, such as financial hardship or being unjustly put to compete with other students from more privileged communities. Top Ten Percent Plan was not just higher ed admission for me. It was parity that reached all areas of my life where I have been at a disadvantage despite my hard work."
- #IAmTop10Percent submission

The Intercultural Development Research Association is an independent private non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring educational opportunity for every child. 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.