June-July 2018 IDRA Newsletter
This month's focus: IDRA's 45th Anniversary
"As we complete 45 years, IDRA continues to stand against educational injustice, inequality and lack of excellence for all. Schools can matter and succeed with a new vision created by people who believe that all children are valuable, that all people can contribute, and that public education can indeed change things, including futures. - Dr. María "Cuca" Robledo Montecel, IDRA President and CEO
In this issue: 
  • Beginning with the End in Mind to Establish Equitable, Excellent Education
  • Valuing Youth and Assuring that All Youth Count
  • InterAction with the Ecosystem - The IDRA Quality Schools Action Framework
  • Call for Applications - 2018 IDRA José A. Cárdenas School Finance Fellows Program
Plus online tools:
  • Timeline - A History of IDRA Policy Work to Secure Excellent and Equitable Schooling for All Children
  • IDRA Anniversary Highlights - See a set of posters with photos from across the decades
  • Fifty Most Memorable Quotes in School Finance 
  • Classnotes Podcast episodes 
IDRA at 45 Years: 
Courageous Connections for Advocacy
Editor's Note
Anniversaries make us pause and pull out memories. We think back about the early days when people joined together for a special purpose. For IDRA, that purpose has not changed. As long as excellence in schools is available to only a few students, IDRA has kept its purpose - its mission - to achieve equal educational opportunity for every child through strong public schools that prepare all students to access and succeed in college.

For this issue of the IDRA Newsletter, two of our own, whose passion has helped fuel our work over the years, took some time out to reflect on IDRA's trailblazing work along six paths: the path to fair funding, the path to good educational practices, the path of valuing students, the path of valuing educators, the path of valuing families, and the path of systems change. Their three articles in this newsletter are accompanied by photos across the decades and a peek at an online timeline of IDRA's policy work. 

We are grateful for all who have been a part of this journey since 1973 when a small group of people set out to change the world.
Beginning with the End in Mind to Establish Equitable, Excellent Education
by María "Cuca" Robledo Montecel, Ph.D., and Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed.
As IDRA celebrates its 45th anniversary, Dr. María "Cuca" Robledo Montecel and Aurelio Montemayor revisit the history of the organization, back to its roots in families and community members trying to secure fair funding for their local schools. 

In the 45 years since IDRA was established, gaps between the rich and poor districts have seen modest improvement, but inequalities continue and are exacerbated by divestment by the state and funneling public money into private charter schools.  There is currently a gap of $1,100 per student between the richest and the poorest 5 percent of districts in Texas. 

IDRA continues to work toward equitable funding in education, but the organization's efforts go beyond funds to encouraging the best educational practices. Rather than blaming students and families for issues in education, a fundamental belief in the genesis of IDRA was that adults, in schools and public decision-making positions, are the ones responsible for transforming education so that all students have the opportunity to learn. .
by María "Cuca" Robledo Montecel, Ph.D., and Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed.
IDRA's guiding philosophy is that all children are valuable, none is expendable. Our research and practices are rooted in the concept of regarding students and communities from an asset-based approach and taking steps to truly value all students. 

The IDRA Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program is one such example - giving the responsibility and opportunity to tutor young children to teens who are considered at-risk for dropping out and supporting them as they build confidence, socially, emotionally and academically. 

Our valuing concept includes respecting the skills and knowledge of teachers, principals, and others in the school environment to model how educators can identify assets and build on the strengths of their students and parents. 

Families are just as critical to being truly involved in their students' education and must also have a full role in the school to truly improve educational outcomes.
María "Cuca" Robledo Montecel, Ph.D., and Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed.
Based on empirical evidence and 45 years of experience in the field, IDRA developed a change model called the Quality Schools Action Framework to help schools, communities, families and business leaders assure that critical features are in place for success.  The framework is helpful in focusing actionable knowledge for transforming educational systems. 

Much like ecosystems in the natural world, educational ecosystems have inputs, throughputs and outputs. IDRA's work has seen the interplay and interrelationship of policy, research and practice, all contributors to a thriving educational ecosystem that values students and promotes success. 

This article reaffirms IDRA's commitment to students and transforming education, especially for the benefit of underserved, minority students and their communities.
Timeline of IDRA's Policy Work
This new interactive timeline presents examples of IDRA's work in the area of policy during the past 45 years. 
Education Across the Decades
The 1970s was a decade of transformation, a time of profound cynicism, crises and a need for change...

IDRA began its fight for children's rights.

The 1980s finds a "nation at risk" with global unrest, health hazards and a move from equity to excellence...

IDRA led the way with landmark studies and solutions.
The 1990s ushered in the electronic age, the 24-hour news cycle, school-wide reform and accountability...

IDRA influenced national discourse on restructuring education.
Call for Applications - 2018 IDRA José A. Cárdenas School Finance Fellows Program
IDRA is inviting research applications for the IDRA José A. Cárdenas School Finance Fellows Program. This will be the third round of this fellows program to support research that will inform efforts to secure equitable funding of public schools across the country. 
Under the leadership of Dr. María "Cuca" Robledo Montecel, IDRA President & CEO, the program was established by IDRA to honor the memory of IDRA founder, Dr. José Angel Cárdenas.

IDRA will select one or more fellows who will dedicate themselves to a period of intense study and writing in school finance. We will hold a symposium that includes release of the fellows program paper. The paper and findings will be published in the symposium proceedings and disseminated to the education research and policymaker community.
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Classnotes Podcasts Related to IDRA's 45th Anniversary
IDRA app
June-July 2018
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.