Courage to Connect: A Quality Schools Action Framework

Quotes from Courage to Connect

“I believe it is time to dream together – to dream about education not for a lucky few but for all. And it is time to make the dream of education for all become fact.”
– Dr. María Robledo Montecel, IDRA President & CEO (pg. iii)

“We can pursue shared prosperity by keeping our eyes on the goal of quality education for every child in every school, understanding that education matters, community voices matter in education and much is known about what to do.”
– María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, Ph.D. (pg. Xiv)

“More than ever, what is needed is broad and deep engagement of diverse racial communities acting together in building strong and responsive public schools that value and support Latino, African American and other minority children.”
– Rosana G. Rodríguez, Ph.D., and Bradley Scott, Ph.D. (pg. 21)

“Mediocrity and a dismal failure to teach students from diverse backgrounds and of low socioeconomic status are the two major illnesses that threaten the viability of our schools.”
– Abelardo Villarreal , Ph.D. (pg. 24)

“As the nation as a whole continues to experience growing diversity, there is a need for tools to assess the implications of polices on minority students and communities.”
– Albert Cortez, Ph.D., and Abelardo Villarreal , Ph.D. (pg. 34)

“Families and communities can offer extraordinary human capital to school reform. But good information is key to meaningful engagement.”
– Laurie Posner, M.P.A., and Hector Bojorquez (pg. 46)

“A parent does not need to know the content, the language of instruction or effective teaching pedagogy to judge whether children are learning and succeeding.”
– Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed. (pg. 51).

“By disengaging, board members abdicate the power and responsibility entrusted to them through the democratic process. School boards must wake up and assume their leadership roles more assertively and with greater dedication as guardians of educational excellence and equity.”
– Abelardo Villarreal , Ph.D. (pg. 76-7)

“Quality schools that support high student achievement, school graduation, college attendance, and life success for all diverse learners can only occur in a context of educational equity.”
– Bradley Scott, Ph.D. (pg. 80)

“With fair funding, everyone benefits by having schools that are excellent and equitable.”
– Albert Cortez, Ph.D. (pg. 87)

“At one point in the state court trial, a spokesperson for the intervening school districts described existing inequities as desirable in that it forced the state to pump in new money each year. He compared the poor school districts to rabbits in a dog race serving an important purpose in giving the dogs something to chase.”
– José A. Cárdenas, Ed.D. (pg. 93)

“It is strange that so many educators did so little to bring about school finance reform in Texas. The argument that funds should be focused on raising minimums rather than on achieving equity has always seemed an admission that their students are less than equal and should be treated as such in the educational system.”
– José A. Cárdenas, Ed.D. (pg. 96)

“Until such time as these local wealth disparities are neutralized, there can never be an equitable system of school finance in the state.”
– José A. Cárdenas, Ed.D. (pg. 99)

“My fundamental question during the school finance effort was, ‘If money does not make a difference, why are the rich school districts fighting so hard to retain it?’”
– José A. Cárdenas, Ed.D. (pg. 100)

“Teaching quality refers not only to the teachers’ credentials, but also to the perspective teachers bring to the classroom, the instructional strategies that they use, and the surrounding organization of the school and community.”
–   Kristin Grayson , M.Ed. (pg. 113)

“Each NCLB parent involvement policy point requires a parent engagement approach that recognizes intelligence, critical thinking, informed decision-making and assertiveness in demanding the highest quality of education for children.”
– Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed. (pg. 125)

“When families partner with school people and the broader community participates, there is a greater possibility for a sustained and positive reform of a school.”
– Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed. (pg. 129)

“ Administrator and teacher attitudes are key to establishing a culture of engagement that encourages full participation by all the community members.”
– Rosana G. Rodríguez, Ph.D. (pg. 133)

“One approach to addressing the drop in math achievement scores, especially as related to the fourth-grade reading slump, is to consider student engagement during math instruction.”
– Kristin Grayson , M.Ed., and Veronica Betancourt , M.A. (pg. 137)

“How he or she is treated, respected and valued by important others, including administrators, teachers and other education personnel, has a domino effect on a student’s self concept, self-efficacy and persistence that immensely contributes to the level of success that he or she will attain in school.”
–   Abelardo Villarreal , Ph.D., and Bradley Scott, Ph.D. (pg. 155)

“A comprehensive approach to designing school reform requires a more intense look at factors that affect the quality of teaching provided to traditionally underserved students.”
– Abelardo Villarreal , Ph.D., and Bradley Scott, Ph.D. (pg. 156)

“English language learners should not have to give up their language, their culture, or their diversity as the price for learning English.”
– María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, Ph.D., and Josie Danini Cortez, M.A. (pg. 159)

“To be innovative, one has to implement a creative idea that is focused on the goals. This means taking a risk and having the creative space and the leadership support to take these risks in a classroom.”
– Kathryn Brown (pg. 169)

“It is now time that we make high school graduation and college readiness the new minimum. The economics of undereducation demand it. Our children deserve no less.”
–  María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, Ph.D. (pg. 181)

“Our attention must shift from student and parent blame to a shared school responsibility. We must adhere to a philosophy of shared responsibility ingrained in the term, school holding power.”
– Abelardo Villarreal , Ph.D., and Rosana G. Rodríguez, Ph.D. (pg. 184)

“Where will our future leaders come from? Our future leaders will emerge from schools that are centers of college readiness, representing the sum of what they have been taught from preschool through higher education, reflecting the context of the families and communities from which they came.”
– Rosana G. Rodríguez, Ph.D. (pg. 190)

“This problem of playing the traditional education game that blames the students and families is perhaps the main reason we have failed to reduce dropout rates.”
– María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, Ph.D. (pg. 198)

“Research and classroom experience make clear that student engagement – a student’s intellectual, social and emotional connection to school – is a prerequisite to learning. Without substantive student engagement, researchers find, ‘there is no learning.’ When students lack a sense of connection to teachers, school and what they are learning, there is little reason to remain. This is especially true at key transition points or when students are struggling to stay on track. But all too often, when students are struggling, we give up on them. Valuing youth, without exception, turns this tendency on its head.”
–  María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, Ph.D. (pg. 216)

“It is estimated that in the United States, 40 to 60 percent of students feel chronically disengaged from school. That’s the bad news. The good news is that stronger ties with at least one caring adult not only fortify students’ connections to school but also help to improve their academic achievement.”
–  María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, Ph.D. (pg. 218)

“When schools, families, and community members work together to support student learning, ‘children tend to do better in school, stay in school longer, and like school more.’ Family engagement in public education is associated with higher grades and test scores, enrollment in higher level programs, passing classes and earning course credits, better school attendance and social skills, graduation, and advancement to postsecondary education. And these findings hold true for students across diverse cultural, socioeconomic, and educational backgrounds.”
–  María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, Ph.D. (pg. 218)

“Whether their role is to design and develop a pedagogical framework; to put the framework into practice; or to test, evaluate or underwrite innovation, each partner must both be aligned with the goals for youth and contribute from its distinctive strengths.”
–  María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, Ph.D. (pg. 219)

“Higher education, elementary and secondary education, community, Latino, African American, White, the government sector, the for-profit sector, nonprofit sector, rich to middle class and poor, we are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.”
– María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, Ph.D. (pg. 195)