This issue's focus: The Census Effect
The Census Effect
The 2020 Census is Here - Schools Should be Active
by  Bricio Vasquez, Ph.D.
This spring, families and individuals across the U.S. will complete the 2020 Census form. The Census can be filled out by phone, mail, and for the first time, online. Schools and libraries have a significant opportunity to expand this process by helping people fill out the census form using school computers and community education centers.

Though the Trump administration pushed to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census, the Supreme Court blocked the decision for this year's Census. Unfortunately, the damage has been done and many in Latino and immigrant communities are afraid to be counted.

Getting an accurate count is vital, especially because public schools are vulnerable to being inadequately funded as a result of an undercount. IDRA has partnered with other nonprofit organizations to form an unofficial, statewide complete count committee for Texas to bring individuals together and mobilize efforts, particularly in communities deemed "hard to count."

Note: Given the quickly changing developments with the spread of COVID-19, the U.S. Census Bureau expanded the timeframe for residents to complete the census form. Households may now complete the census form between March 12 and August 14. 

New Digital Census:  Not everyone has digital access. There are significant gaps in access between White adults and Black and Hispanic adults as well as between rural and non-rural residents. People can complete the census form on paper or by phone as well.
Citizenship Fears: The debate over inclusion of the citizenship question can lead to fear and distrust even though the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the question for the 2020 Census.
Reduced Outreach: Congress decided to spend less per household than for the 2010 count. This means there will be fewer in-person outreach efforts and fewer local census offices, field staff and field tests for the 2020 Census. The largest impact likely will be among groups considered "hard-to-count."
Data Security Concerns: Apprehension about the security and confidentiality of data could be elevated with the new digital form. The Census Bureau is taking steps to protect data it collects, and the law requires the Census Bureau to protect personal information.
See these and other resources for schools, including fliers and videos, 
to share with families at IDRA's Everyone Counts webpage.
Learning Goes On
IDRA Launches 
"Learning Goes On."
Our COVID-19 Resource for Education includes a web hub, free webinar series and special weekly eNews policy update.
by Morgan Craven, J.D.
In February 2020, President Donald Trump released a proposed federal budget for the 2021 fiscal year. The proposal, subject to congressional approval, would decrease funding for elementary, secondary and post-secondary programs by 7.8% to $6.6 billion.

President Trump's proposed budget combines the Title I funding program with 28 other federal K-12 education grant programs into a single block grant called the Elementary and Secondary Education for the Disadvantaged Block Grant (ESED). The budget also emphasizes "school choice" by expanding access and funding for vouchers and similar programs.

The proposed dismantling of critical federal programs could threaten access to resources for the schools and students that need them most. We must increase, not decrease, federal funding for schools, target monies appropriately, and use federal tools to urge states to invest in their schools to ensure excellent and equitable schools for all students.
Watching the Courts as They Consider the Next Voucher Case
by Morgan Craven, J.D .
In January, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a school voucher related case, Espinoza vs. Montana Department of Revenue. The plaintiffs, three Montana families, sued the Montana Department of Revenue after it placed limits on a state program that gave dollar-for-dollar tax credits to people who donated to private scholarship funds.

The issue before the U.S. Supreme Court is whether it is a violation of the religion and equal protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution for a state to invalidate a financial aid program that happens to provide support for students who choose to attend religious schools.

Voucher systems, even indirect ones that provide tax credits rather than direct financial support to families, divert critical public funds away from public schools. IDRA and others across the country will continue to monitor and weigh in on legislation and litigation that impact fair school funding for public schools.
March 30, 2020
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.