October 2017 IDRA Newsletter
This month's focus: Push Outs - Children of Color
"It is high time that Texas take a new course. Investment in change must go beyond discrete dropout prevention programs. Investment must reflect our full commitment to providing for quality public schools in all neighborhoods for children of all backgrounds. - Dr. MarĂ­a "Cuca" Robledo Montecel, IDRA President and CEO
Schools continue to lose and push children of color out of schools through a variety of practices and behaviors (low expectations, inappropriate disciplinary referrals, in-grade retention, watered down curriculum). 

This issue of the IDRA Newsletter has stories on... 
  • How collaboration is critical to dealing with disparities, 
  • Highlights from IDRA's latest Texas public school attrition study, 
  • Supporting LGBTQ students faced with sexual and gender harassment, and 
  • Commemoration of Delgado vs. Bastrop case that ended legal segregation of Mexican Americans in Texas.
Partnerships, Not Push Outs - 
Collaboration is Critical to Dealing with Disparities
Paula Johnson photo
October is National Dropout Prevention Month. Two out of 10 students face the life-changing decision of dropping out of school. Students do not arrive at this predicament overnight. Many factors are influential over time in pushing students out the door. However, there are several points along the way where intervention can prevent a young person from relinquishing his or her right to an equitable and quality education. In this article, we discuss the causes, impact and strategies for reducing practices that push out students in the United States. 
Over-policed and Under-educated
The IDRA's 2017 Texas attrition summary reports that almost 100,000 students were lost to attrition during the 2016-17 school year (Johnson, 2017; see story below). Zero tolerance policies in school discipline, unwelcoming or uncaring school environments, and testing that is high-stakes are continuously placing the educational opportunities of millions of children across this country at risk. School push out patterns result from several factors that can ultimately discourage or even prevent youth from staying on course to complete their education. And it is occurring from as young as kindergarten, all the way through high school . -  Keep reading
Push Outs - Children of Color
Texas Public School Attrition Study, 2016-17 - 
High School Attrition Returns to 24 Percent After One Year Bump
by Roy L. Johnson, M.S.
Roy Johnson photo
Over the past five years, the overall high school attrition rate in Texas has ranged from 24 percent to 25 percent. After inching up by 1 percentage point from 24 percent in 2014-15 to 25 percent in 2015-16, the attrition rate inched back down to 24 percent in 2016-17. Holding constant in this range, the overall attrition rate in Texas was 25 percent in 2012-13, 24 percent in 2013-14, 24 percent in 2014-15, 25 percent in 2015-16, and 24 percent in 2016-17.

This year's study is the 32nd in a series of annual reports on trends in dropout and attrition rates in Texas public schools. Since leading the first comprehensive study of school dropouts in Texas in 1985-86, IDRA has conducted attrition analyses to assess schools' abilities to hold on to their students until they graduate.  -  Keep reading

The full 2016-17 attrition study will be available online the week of October 30, 2017.

Supporting LGBTQ Students Faced with Sexual & Gender Harassment
by Susan Shaffer and Phyllis Lerner
Susan Shaffer and Phyllis Lerner photo
In 1966, The Barbarians, a rock band, released a song that climbed up the U.S. music charts. Titled, "Are you a boy? Or are you a girl?" the lyrics pushed on a premise that long hair, being popularized by British (White and male) music groups, was a gender marker.

Are you a boy? Or are you a girl?
With your long blond hair you look like a girl
Yeah, you look like a girl
You may be a boy, hey, you look like a girl.

Now a half-century later, gender markers are fluid across the full spectrum of racial and ethnic communities. Yet some young people, especially LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning) kids, are being pushed out of their homes and also pushed out of safe and secure learning environments in schools .    Keep reading
Commemoration of Delgado vs. Bastrop Case that Ended Legal Segregation of Mexican Americans in Texas
IDRA joined former state Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos Jr. and many others recently at the installation of a historical marker to commemorate the 1948 Delgado vs. Bastrop case that ended legal segregation of Mexican Americans in Texas. To commemorate this historic event, on September 23, 2017, a Texas Historical Marker was unveiled at the site of the former school, and a city park was dedicated honoring Ms. Delgado and the students of Mina Ward School. Sen. Barrientos, who was instrumental in getting the Texas Historical Commission marker for the former school site, attended Mina Ward in the first grade.    Keep reading

Webinar on Diversifying the Teaching Field -  Challenges and Opportunities
Wednesday, November 8, 2017, at 10:00 am. CST

Join us for this IDRA EAC- South webinar where we will discuss barriers to teacher diversification at the state and district levels, equitable state- and district-level strategies for improving diversity in the teaching profession (such as, grow your own programs, teacher residencies, hiring and induction strategies), and how the IDRA EAC- South can provide technical assistance and training to build capacity of state and local education agencies within the region*.
Special guests include:
  • Desiree Carver-Thomas, Research and Policy Associate, Learning Policy Institute
  • Angela Valenzuela, Professor, Department of Educational Leadership and Policy, University of Texas at Austin
  • Mary Kelly, Human Resources Coordinator, Randolph County School System, Alabama
  • David G. Hinojosa, J.D., Director, IDRA EAC-South

*The IDRA EAC-South  provides technical assistance and training to build capacity of state and local education agencies to serve their diverse student populations. The IDRA EAC-South is one of four regional equity assistance centers and serves Region II, which covers Washington, D.C., and 11 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Learn more
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October 2017
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.