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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May 2013 Issue ~ Articles
Teaching Quality – What We Know and What We Still Need
Researchers studying which aspects of education have the most substantial impact on students have long declared that the quality of teaching provided to students is the single most important factor contributing to long-term student success, which includes not only post-high school job performance, but also enrollment in and graduation from college. Research also indicates that “quality teaching is more important than a student’s ethnicity, family income, school attended or class size.” Despite these findings, not enough has been done at the state or national levels to improve teaching quality, and in some cases ineffective or dysfunctional policies have been created that actually exacerbated the problem. In this article, Albert Cortez, Ph.D., presents an overview of research on quality teaching.
Assuring Civil Rights Protection with State ESEA Flexibility Waivers
The discussion about the big initiatives the U.S. Department of Education and the administration have undertaken does not end with the Common Core State Standards (Scott, 2013). It must extend to the ESEA state flexibility waivers. Thirty-four states and the
District of Columbia
are approved for ESEA flexibility. Other states have applied and are awaiting review and approval. This article by Bradley Scott, Ph.D., lays out some of the civil rights concerns that may arise around the plans for flexibility that have been submitted and approved by the U.S. Department of Education.
Listen to our podcast episode:A Civil Rights Look at the Common Core – Episode 117
No Back-Tracking – Supporting More Opportunities Not Limitations Preparing Our Children for College and 21st Century Options
Tracking is bad educational policy and practice. It is damaging to many students. Its failure is well documented. We must avoid policy that tracks students into low level curriculum and instead put in place practice that prepares all students to enroll in and complete college. As
policymakers consider bringing back policies that many decades of practice have proven unproductive, biased and student-limiting, Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed., outlines the background of tracking policies and their detriment to students.
Effective Dropout Prevention – IDRA Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program May 2013 Issue ~ Newsletter Plus
All children are valuable; none is expendable. But the fact is
high schools lose more than one third of their students before graduation, and the cumulative impact of this attrition affects every person. But, schools can increase their holding power by transforming how they recognize students’ inherent value, their contributions, and their potential significance to their communities and society, as a whole. The Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program is a research-based, internationally-recognized dropout prevention program that is keeping more than 98 percent of participating students in school, young people who were previously at risk of dropping out. This story gives an overview of the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program, which has worked dramatically everywhere it has been.
Classnotes podcasts on creating a college-ready campus:
Principal on Creating a College Going Culture – March 29, 2011
Connecting Every Student to a Meaningful Future – March 10, 2011
The Civil Rights Issue of Our Generation – April 29, 2011
Tool for Building Quality Schools – December 9, 2010
Tracking, Endorsements and Differentiated Diplomas – When ‘Different’ Really is Less
IDRA released a new policy note in April 2013 that presents an overview of the failure of tracking in schools and what tracking looks like in
. Dr. María "Cuca" Robledo Montecel, IDRA President & CEO stated: “A vital state must have educational parity for all students and not parcel out one set of opportunities for some and minimal expectations for others… Policymakers and schools should not make pre-college decisions on behalf of students or track them into low-level courses that limit career options. It’s time for
to step up, not step back.”
Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program Tutor Goes on YouTube to Share His Experience as a Tutor
Kwame’ Weatherall, of the Houston Independent School District, is featured in a YouTube video talking about how the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program made a difference in his life. He received first place in IDRA’s high school tutor essay contest last year. In his essay, Kwame’ wrote: “Ever since I joined this program, my attitude has changed toward helping people who are in need or struggling… When I see a smile from my tutees, it gives me the sign that I am a great person as a role model and as a growing man.”
Math Smart! & Science Smart! – A Systemic Leadership Model for Student Success in Math and Science
In closing achievement gaps in mathematics and science, the nation has made minimal gains since 2005, while the diversity of our nation’s students has grown dramatically. Math Smart! and Science Smart!, developed by the Intercultural Development Research Association and tested in partnership with diverse school districts, are designed to address these gaps.
College for All: Get With It! New Professional Development Program
IDRA has developed a professional development program designed to assist administrators and teachers to create a college going environment, enhance their curriculum to make courses college compatible for advance placement and dual credit, and prepare teachers and support staff to enhance their instruction with the rigor and relevance required for college credit.
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.