Using inclusive, cutting edge and broad based strategies, IDRA develops leadership within communities, schools, and policymaking bodies to create collaborative and enlightened educational policies that work for all children.
Learn more about significant education policy issues at state and national levels by selecting a box at the bottom of this page.
IDRA Policy Issues in 2015 for Texas
Much is at stake as the Texas Legislature convenes in Austin this January. See IDRA’s policy issues for this session in Texas. The issues include: fair funding, special program funding, access to instruction for ELL students, quality curriculum for all students, accountability that doesn’t hurt children, access to early childhood education, education of immigrant children, access to high quality teaching, higher education access for success, and public funding for public schools.
Bilingual Flier on the New Texas Graduation Requirements
The Texas Legislature changed the graduation requirements for Texas students. The Texas diploma is no longer standard across the state. Some rigorous courses are no longer required by Texas, which means many students may not be prepared for college. But it doesn’t have to be this way. See this one-page flier for an overview of the requirements and what families, schools and communities can do. (also available for black and white printing)
Infographic: Texas School Funding Equity Gap
See IDRA’s new graphic showing how some children are considered more valuable than others in Texas. It doesn’t have to be this way. (shareable web graphic, png)
Tracking, Endorsements and Differentiated Diplomas – When ‘Different’ Really is Less
IDRA released an updated policy note following the close of the legislative session to give outline the new Texas graduation plans and changes to high school curriculum. The new system encourages placing students in different paths toward graduation, some college bound and some bound for labor. This is bad educational policy and practice. To create true opportunities for all of our children, we must commit to high quality curriculum for all students and full, equitable funding of all our schools, especially those neighborhood public schools in our neediest communities. It’s time for Texas to step up, not step back.
A Post Session Assessment of Texas Education Policy Changes Considered, Adopted and Rejected in 2013
Following the close of the 2013 Texas legislative session in May, IDRA assessed policies adopted, rejected or never given the chance to see the light of day. In contrast to the previous session in 2011 when lawmakers labored to craft a budget and attempt to address major education issues while facing an expected multi-billion dollar shortfall, the 2013 session was more of a struggle to convince policymakers to increase investments in the critical areas of education, healthcare, and water and state infrastructure.
, Ph.D., gives an overview of legislative actions regarding key education issues: fair funding, private school vouchers, high-stakes testing and accountability, student curriculum and tracking, accountability for English learner education, and charter schools expansion.
Why More Charter Schools and School Vouchers Are Not Needed in Texas
IDRA released a new policy brief in May 2013 that presents IDRA’s analyses finding that no new additional charter sites are needed in Texas. Instead, more effective and efficient use of the available charters currently authorized by law could address existing demand. IDRA’s research also shows that vouchers do little if anything to improve local public schools and, for the most part, fail to deliver on promises to provide better quality academic outcomes for students enrolled in lower performing public schools. Dr. María "Cuca" Robledo Montecel, IDRA President & CEO stated: “Texas must do what is best for all Texas students and their families. Our children are worth more than education by lottery.”
IDRA Calls for Greater Federal Role in Education
In testimony presented before the U.S. Department of Education’s Equity and Excellence Commission, IDRA stated that it is imperative that new federal policies be adopted to protect the right to equal educational opportunities for all of our students in every state. “When families can’t count on their neighborhood public school to be funded equitably, something has gone deeply wrong in America.” See IDRA’s three recommendations.
Education Funding in Texas
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Court Rules Again that Texas School Funding Must Serve All Students Equitably
The Texas District Court, Judge John Dietz presiding, ruled in August of 2014 that the Texas school finance system violates the Texas Constitution. Judge Dietz ruled that the current funding system is “constitutionally inadequate, unsuitable and financially inefficient.” Dr. María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, IDRA President & CEO, said: “The state of Texas has struggled with inadequate, inequitable education funding for far too long – perpetuating funding schemes that value some groups of schools and students over others. That was the old Texas. It is time for the new Texas – one that provides equal educational opportunity not for just some – but for all of its children.”
Fair Funding Now! for Texas Education
In 2011, the Texas legislature cut education funding for the first time in four decades. Instead of ending funding disparities, they walked away – pushing millions of Texas children aside. But communities across the state are taking action to make sure that schools are equipped to guarantee that all children graduate ready for college and career. Get tools, handouts, news and more resources at IDRA’s Courageous Connections – Fair Funding Now! website.
Visit IDRA’s Fair Funding for the Common Good website for news and resources
Infographic: State Ranking in Education Funding
See IDRA’s graphic showing Texas' rank of 43 in education funding per student. It doesn’t have to be this way. (shareable web graphic, png)
Infographic: High School Attrition in Texas
See IDRA’s graphic showing how Texas public schools are losing one out of four students. It doesn’t have to be this way. (shareable web graphic, png)
Disciplinary Alternative Education Programs in Texas
Almost 10 years ago, IDRA gave voice to the thousands of Texas public school students who were being criminalized, ostracized and stigmatized for “offenses” that were formerly managed by a simple timeout or even a visit to the principal’s office with its seminal assessment of Texas DAEPs. IDRA’s latest policy update released March 2009, shows that in the last decade, more than three quarters of a million students have been sent to DAEPs. Four out of five students of them are not there because of serious offenses. Put simply, DAEPs are a mess. They don’t work for kids, they don’t work for schools, and they don’t work for Texas.
Read Disciplinary Alternative Education Programs in Texas – A 2009 Update (pdf)
Access to Quality Curriculum Weakened in Texas
HB5 Does Not Have to Block Students from College – San Antonio City Council Passes Distinguished as Default Resolution
IDRA commends the San Antonio City Council for its resolution passed today to encourage local school districts to choose the distinguished level of achievement as the default in graduation plans for all of their students. The recommendation was made by the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, ¡PRESENTE! and IDRA. This distinguished achievement designation signifies that high school students have taken Algebra II, which is required for them to be eligible for “top 10 percent” automatic college admission. Also the SAT and ACT require knowledge of Algebra II. Making the distinguished achievement designation the default affirms the intention of school districts to prepare all students for college.
At a time when we most need strength, Texas education is at-risk of being weakened
IDRA President and CEO, María "Cuca" Robledo Montecel, Ph.D., outlines how Texas’ new tracking graduation plans are likely to have a devastating effect on the state.
What Parents Want to Know about the New Texas Graduation Guidelines
The new Texas graduation guidelines went into effect with incoming ninth grade students in the 2010-11 school year and contain critical information we must provide parents, educators, students and community members. As educators, we are obligated to inform parents and students of the consequences related to each track or program. Rogelio López del Bosque, Ed.D, provides some quick facts for schools to convey -- in a language that is comprehensible for each family. The information is based on the questions parents have been asking IDRA about the new guidelines.
IDRA publications related to education policy