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Monday, 29 August 2016

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The IDRA Newsletter is published 10 times a year. Each edition focuses on issues in education, striving to provide many different perspectives on the topics covered and to define its significance in the state and national dialogue. The IDRA Newsletter can only be mailed to U.S.addresses, but pdf and web copies are available online.

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June-July 2016 Issue ~ Articles


Current Issue:
June-July 2016

Focus ~ Culture of Poverty vs. Culture of Possibility


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Newsletter Executive Editor
María "Cuca" Robledo Montecel, Ph.D.

ISSN 1069-5672


Open Source Learning Tools Make STEM Possible in Underserved Schools
One of the major obstacles to providing a rich STEM education program is the high cost of materials, equipment and technology. Many STEM focused high schools or STEM academies have invested thousands of dollars to provide students with high tech amenities, such as robots, tablets and 3D printers. But students who are in poorer neighborhoods are less likely to have opportunities to use high tech equipment found in STEM focused schools. IDRA Chief Technology Strategist, Mark Barnett, outlines several free and low-cost open source technologies that are available for schools.

Get a list of open source tools


Listen to the IDRA Classnotes Podcast episode: TEDx Speaker on Maker Education

Differences as Deficiencies – The Persistence of the 30 Million Word Gap
Hart & Risley introduced the so-called “word gap,” referring to one of their most popular conclusions in which they estimate that, by the time children enter school at age 3, there would be a 30 million gap in words heard, on average, between children of poor parents and children of professional parents. This conclusion has garnered much media attention and numerous local initiatives across the country. Yet, as Sofía Bahena, Ed.D., describes, several experts in the education and linguistics field have raised concerns about the study’s measures, data collection, theoretical basis, conclusions, and sampling.

Listen to the IDRA Classnotes Podcast episode: Busting Myths About Children of Poverty


Confusing Correlation with Causation
It is common knowledge that correlation does not imply causation. Yet, researchers sometimes make similar conclusions that imply causal relationships when in fact they are only correlational. Because we are all vulnerable to this bias, Sofía Bahena, Ed.D., lists things we can do as both producers and consumers of research to be aware of confirmation bias and how to avoid it.


Six Teens Win 2016 National Essay Contest Awards – IDRA Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program Tutors Share Stories of the Program’s Impact on Their Lives
Six students received prizes in a national competition among participants in the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program, a nationally-recognized cross-age tutoring program of IDRA. Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program tutors wrote about how the program helped them do better in school and how they had helped their tutees to do better. Here are some highlights from the winning essays.


Learn more about the IDRA Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program



Read the full text of the six winning essays

Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed., Presents Bilingual Commencement Address
Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed., IDRA senior education associate and lead trainer, was honored to present the commencement address for the PSJA College, Career and Technology Academy for the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD in the Rio Grande Valley. In congratulating the graduates – in English and Spanish – he peered into their future saying…


Meet Mark Barnett, Chief IT Strategist
Mark Barnett leads IDRA in the area of technology implementation for both internal uses and externally for use by schools, libraries, museums and community centers. He has a deep interest in advocating for equal opportunity technology education and believes that access to the Internet should be a civil right. Mark also volunteers for several community organizations and spends time with his family…


June-July 2016 Issue ~ Newsletter Plus

Related Classnotes Podcasts

Busting Myths About Children of Poverty – Episode 50

 School Accountability to Poor Families – Episode 60

Valuing Families in Children’s Education – Episode 11

Six Goals of Educational Equity – Episode 29

Teaching with iPads for Diverse Students (Science for English Learners #6) – Episode 122

Creating a STEM Focused School Part 1 – Episode 105

They start calling my name (on being a Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program tutor) – IDRA Classnotes Podcast Episode 135

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Related Videos

Video: Mark Barnett”s TEDx San Antonio Talk on “Everyone is a Maker, but Not Everyone has Access


IDRA Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program Tutor Reads His Winning Essay

Video clips about the IDRA Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program



Other Related Resources

Spurious Correlations

Hilarious graphs Prove that Correlation Isn’t Causation

Six Goals of Education Equity



The Power of Possibility: How IDRA and Our Partners are Transforming Public Education – IDRA Annual Report Released
IDRA’s 2015 Annual Report, The Power of Possibility: How IDRA and Our Partners are Transforming Public Education highlights the ways in which 2015 was a pivotal year for children both in terms of progress and deepening disparities. It shows how IDRA and our partners are valuing children of all backgrounds by keeping a sharp focus on educational quality and equity. We are producing research and analyses that matter and putting in place effective programs, strategies, policies and solutions to secure public education that works for all children. 


Courage to Connect: A Quality Schools Action Framework
At a time when public education makes a world of difference to our students, communities and economic success, many are looking for strategies that will work for them and that will last. Courage to Connect: A Quality Schools Action Framework shows how communities and schools can work together to strengthen their capacity to be successful with all of their students.


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