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Monday, 04 May 2015

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See IDRA’s latest annual report, The Power of Possibility: How IDRA and its partners are changing public education.



IDRA’s book, Courage to Connect: A Quality Schools Action Framework™. See how communities and schools can work together to strengthen their capacity to be successful with all of their students. Visit the book’s web page to get a table of contents, excerpt, related podcasts and other resources related to this book.


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Recalibrating Readiness and Instruction Based on Strengths of English Learners – Implications for Early Childhood Education Research and Practice
Much of the current research on early education of poor and minority children – although well intentioned – is biased and focused on family and children’s deficits and maladaptations as the causes for the lack of academic readiness and underperformance of a significant number of children in this country. In this article, Abelardo Villarreal, Ph.D., emphasizes the need to redefine readiness to integrate the strengths bilingual children bring to the classroom, and detail the need to adjust instruction to enhance their academic engagement and performance.


Latest issue of the IDRA Newsletter Focusing on Early Learning
Take a look at our latest newsletter with articles about early learning. Quality early education has an immediate impact on both the hard skills – language, numeracy, higher cognitive thinking – and the soft skills – social skills – that last a lifetime. Access to quality early childhood education (including bilingual programs for ELLs) is critical to ensuring academic success while valuing children’s cultural, linguistic, gender and racial uniqueness. This issue of the IDRA Newsletter includes articles titled: “Recalibrating Readiness and Instruction Based on Strengths of English Learners – Implications for Early Childhood Education Research and Practice,” “Margarita’s Necklace – Beads, Patterns and Algebraic Thinking for English LearnersMatters: The Path to Equity Literacy,” Early Childhood Literacy Connections When Using Cognates,” and our staff feature: meet Abelardo Villarreal, Ph.D., IDRA Chief of Operations.


Radio Series – Funding Texas Schools: Fair Or Falling Short?
This week, Houston Public Media News 88.7 is airing a five-part series by education reporter Laura Isensee that takes a look into the past, present and future of public school funding in Texas. IDRA was happy to serve as a resource. The series topics are: April 27 - How One Man's Fight for Justice Continues After His Death; April 28 - How Parents Search for Opportunities for their Kids with Mixed Results; April 29 - How One Superintendent Stretches Limited Resources; April 30 - What Does This Mean for the Texas Future; and May 1 - What State Gets School Funding Right? The series is airing on News 88.7 and are available online along with a separate write ups, video features, a tutorial “Learn How Texas Funds Public Schools In 7 Easy Steps, and other multimedia tools. The station also will have an in-depth discussion about the series during News 88.7's "Houston Matters" show at noon on Friday, May 1.


“A School District Vision for Biliteracy” IDRA Classnotes Podcast Episode 151
(April 21, 2015) While many bilingual education programs across the country are designed to build students’ fluency in English, some dual language programs provide opportunities for students to grow academically in two languages. But one school district has taken this to a whole new level by encouraging students across the district become bilingual, bicultural and biliterate. In this podcast episode, dual language coordinator Rosalva Silva describes how the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo school district is supporting students to meet biliteracy graduation requirements. This is the second part of our conversation with Ms. Silva and her sister Rosario Lucero, a retired educator from the Raymondville school district, following IDRA’s inaugural IDRA José A. Cárdenas School Finance Fellows Program symposium. They discuss the support and resources needed for a high quality education for English language learners and what it means to students to have their first language so valued and respected.


IDRA Analyses Show Texas Equity Gaps would Widen under Proposed School Funding Measure
David Hinojosa, J.D., IDRA national policy director, presented expert testimony last week based on IDRA’s analysis of Committee Substitute House Bill 1759, put forth by state Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, who chairs the House Public Education committee, in an attempt to improve the way Texas funds it public schools. “We appreciate Chairman Aycock for taking the leadership role in presenting a school finance plan this session that seeks to put more resources into public education,” summarized Mr. Hinojosa. “Unfortunately, the plan fails to continue that trek toward greater equity and instead puts significantly greater resources, on average, in the wealthiest districts.”



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