Albert Cortez, Ph.D.
Director of Policy, Intercultural Development Research Association
Dr. Albert Cortez, director of policy at IDRA, works at the forefront of Texas policymaking. An expert on minority education policy, he has served as a technical advisor and resource authority for more than three decades of legislative action, advising such committees as the Texas Mexican American Legislative Caucus and the Senate Hispanic Caucus. Dr. Cortez advised members of both the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate in the formulation of the state’s Bilingual Education Act in 1981 and was extensively involved in the development of school finance reform, dropout prevention, immigrant education, student discipline, state assessment and expanding higher education access policies.
Albert Cortez, Ph.D.
- The Extent of Equity in the Texas School Finance System and Its Impact on Selected Student Related Issues, 2012
- Slides from court testimony on December 3, 2012, in the Texas school finance trial
- Courage to Connect: A Quality Schools Action Framework, contributing author, 2010
- The Status of School Finance Equity in Texas – A 2009 Update, 2009
- Education of English Language Learners in U.S. and Texas Schools – Where We Are, What We Have Learned and Where We Need to Go from Here – A 2009 Update, with Abelardo Villarreal, 2009
- Disciplinary Alternative Education Programs in Texas – A 2009 Update, with Josie D. Cortez, 2009
- “Costs of Bilingual Education,” with María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, Encyclopedia on Bilingual Education, 2008 (Vol. 1, pp. 180-183)
- “Identification and Assessment Issues Raised in English Learner National Evaluation of Title III Implementation,” IDRA Newsletter, September 2012
- “Communities, School Boards and Education Policy,” IDRA Newsletter, June-July 2012
- "College Access and Graduation,” IDRA Newsletter, May 2012
- “Describing the First-Year Experience for First-Time-in-College Students at a Major Community College,” with Josie Danini Cortez, M.A., IDRA Newsletter, May 2012
- “Groups Challenge
System for Funding Public Schools…Again.” IDRA Newsletter, January 2012
: Turning its Back on the Future – An Assessment of Major Education Policy Reforms Considered by the 82nd
Legislature.” IDRA Newsletter, August 2011
- “Testimony of IDRA, before the Texas Senate Education Committee,” March 31, 2011
- “Prospects for Texas School Finance Reforms in 2011,” IDRA Newsletter, January 2011
- “More Texas Students Are Taking College Entrance and Readiness Exams – But Insufficient Investment Results in Continued Performance Gaps,” IDRA Newsletter, January 2011
- “Accountability that Doesn’t Hurt Students,” IDRA Newsletter, November-December 2010
- “A Policy Shift – From Preventing Dropouts to Graduation for All,” IDRA Newsletter, October 2010
- “Fair Funding of Texas Schools is Even More Critical in Tough Economic Times,” IDRA Newsletter, May 2010
- “Fair Funding of Schools – Why and With What Results,” IDRA Newsletter, May 2009
- “Federal Judge Rules That Texas’ Services for its LEP Students Are Inadequate,” IDRA Newsletter, February 2009
Dr. Cortez received a doctorate in cultural foundations of education with a support area in educational administration and his master’s degree in cultural foundations of education from the
Austin. His dissertation title was “The Politics Surrounding the Development and Passage of HB 72.” He earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology with a concentration in bilingual education from Our Lady of the
As director of policy at IDRA, Dr. Cortez coordinates activities to support the integration and coordination of national, state and local policy reform efforts impacting the education of all students, with special emphasis on minority, low-income, limited-English-proficient and recent immigrant populations. IDRA efforts target policymakers at all levels of government, public and private educational institutions, advocacy organizations, the broader research community, the media, and individual practitioners in education and related fields. Dr. Cortez manages such activities as providing information on policy issues, training on the effective integration of research information and advocacy, and providing technical assistance in identifying policy issues and developing reform strategies.
Dr. Cortez served as research coordinator for the analysis of educational equity in the
School District. As a site director for STAR
(Support for Texas Academic Renewal), the comprehensive regional assistance center funded by the U.S. Department of Education to serve Texas (Federal Region 8), he coordinated the organization’s work with the national comprehensive centers network and coordinated activities with the STAR
A front-runner in the research of current policy decisions and their effects on immigrant education, Dr. Cortez coordinated IDRA’s work conducted for the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Governor’s Office to study the impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on public schools. Prior to this, Dr. Cortez participated in an IDRA initiative to conduct one of the first state-level studies of undocumented student enrollment in
public schools. This effort informed public policy debate and influenced landmark litigation such as Plyler and In Re Alien Education, resulting in improved educational opportunities for immigrant students.
In addition to research, Dr. Cortez spearheaded IDRA’s project, Creative Collaboratives: Empowering Immigrant Students and Families Through Education, through which IDRA coordinated community collaboratives in
addressing the educational needs of secondary-level recent immigrant students.
Dr. Cortez worked with Dr. José A. Cárdenas to pioneer school finance reform in
. Having authored numerous publications on the subject, he has also served as a technical expert and advisor to attorneys in numerous school-related court cases including U.S. vs. Texas and the series of
litigation cases from 1976 to 1993. Dr. Cortez also directed IDRA’s School Finance Reform Project. In this position he conducted an extensive analysis of financial and program implications of
education legislation and state board policies. Instrumental in raising public awareness concerning school finance issues, Dr. Cortez led staff efforts to provide training and technical assistance on school finance reform to a variety of civic, educational and political groups, to develop and implement a statewide public awareness campaign, and to develop non-technical materials on school finance issues. He also coordinated IDRA school finance advocacy activities, including strategy development, the preparation and presentation of training materials, organization of school funding reform coalitions, and the creation and dissemination of position papers.
In 1975, when Dr. Cortez began working with IDRA, he handled the documentation and evaluation of all programmatic services provided by the organization. He also developed materials on evaluation-related topics and provided training to school administrators and teachers. In 1981, Dr. Cortez was appointed director of IDRA’s Research and Evaluation Division and served in that role until 1992. He managed planning and implementation of all research and evaluation activities undertaken by the organization. He helped direct more than 10 major research projects addressing such critical issues as adult literacy, dropouts and causal factors, immigrant education, in-grade retention, and student and school accountability. Dr. Cortez also helped establish and maintain IDRA’s extensive databases. In 1991, he was appointed associate director of the Evaluation Assistance Center – Eastern Region (EAC-East), a federally-funded project jointly operated by IDRA and The George Washington University. He has served on numerous state advisory committees related to assessment and evaluation of LEP students.
Prior to joining IDRA, Dr. Cortez was a college placement specialist with Project Stay, Inc., where he counseled high school students concerning post-secondary educational opportunities, advised students and parents about the availability of financial aid and assisted them with their applications, and educated local community groups about higher education opportunities.
Dr. Cortez received the Champion of Equity Award from the Equity Center and the Pioneer Award from the Texas Association for Bilingual Education. He is a member of the board of Directors for Multicultural Education, Training and Advocacy, chaired the Texas Advisory Group on Assessment of Limited English Proficient Pupils for the Texas Education Agency, and served on the State Advisory Committee Texas Accountable Cost of Education Study. He has served as an expert witness in numerous court cases and legislative hearings regarding equity and excellence in education.
IDRA is an independent, private non-profit organization, directed by María Robledo Montecel, Ph.D., dedicated to strengthening public schools to work for all children. As a vanguard leadership development and research team for more than three decades, IDRA has worked with people to create self-renewing schools that value and empower all children, families and communities. IDRA conducts research and development activities, creates, implements and administers innovative education programs and provides teacher, administrator, and parent training and technical assistance.
Contacting staff at IDRA: Thanks to the world of spam, we cannot post the email address of individual staff members. However, you can either call IDRA directly at 210-444-1710 or use our online form to have your message directed to the staff member you want to reach.