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Education Policy

Growing and Sustaining Healthy School Districts

Healthy school districts are diverse, community-centered, and are given the support they need to serve all students.

Many systems and policies – including segregated communities, unfair district accountability measures, and harmful student testing methods – make districts unhealthy.

Learn more about IDRA’s work to support healthy school districts below.

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Healthy school districts are a critical part of strong communities – they involve diverse groups of families, students and other local partners in school governance, policy, and practice. But, punitive accountability systems, testing that punishes students and schools, and systems that take control away from communities without supporting their success create barriers to school district health. 

School districts should be accountable to their own diverse communities. School success and student performance should not hinge on a letter grade. IDRA works to grow family leadership in education, supports research-based assessment systems that are not harmful to students and schools, and researches the impacts of inappropriate state intervention in local school districts. 

Learn more about IDRA’s policy recommendations for Texas.


Changing Policy

Joint letter by Texas Postsecondary Advocates Coalition, IDRA and others for HB 2126 to increase access to necessary health and wellness resources for students to pursue and complete a post-secondary education, April 13, 2021

Adopt HB 3638 to Establish an African American Studies Advisory Board – IDRA Testimony for HB 3638, Presented by Dr. Altheria Caldera to the House Public Education Committee, April 13, 2021

HB 3270 Could Compromise Community Input and Engagement in School District Accountability, IDRA Testimony on House Bill 3270, submitted by Chloe Latham Sikes, Ph.D., to the Senate Education Committee, March 30, 2021

SB 29 Harms Transgender Students by Prohibiting Their Participation in Team Sports Aligned with their Gender Identity, IDRA Testimony against Senate Bill 29, submitted by Chloe Latham Sikes, Ph.D., to the Senate State Affairs Committee, March 26, 2021

School District Accountability Cannot Compromise Community Input and Engagement, IDRA testimony against Senate Bill 1365, submitted by Chloe Latham Sikes, Ph.D., to the Senate Education Committee, March 25, 2021

School Safety Funds Should Support Positive School Climates – IDRA Testimony on House Bill 1525: Relating to the public school finance system, submitted by Chloe Latham Sikes, Ph.D., to the House Public Education Committee, March 23, 2021

Effective School Assessments and Accountability that Does Not Hurt Students, December 10, 2020

Purposeful Assessment and School Accountability – IDRA Texas Policy Priorities for 2021 and Evaluación intencionada y responsabilidad escolar – Prioridades de política de IDRA Texas para 2021, December 10, 2020

Joint Testimony: Teaching Quality, Texas House Higher Education Committee Interim Charge #3 (Questions 1-3), September 1, 2020

Statement: Reported STAAR Design Flaws in Reading Show Why High-stakes Punishments Should be Removed from the STAAR, March 4, 2019

Article: In-grade Retention National Trends and Civil Rights Concerns, April 2018 

Article: Will States Use ESSA to Undermine Communities of Color as Some Have for Voting Rights?, September 2016

Acting on Research and Data 

Issue Brief: Another Zero-Tolerance Failure State Takeovers of School Districts Don’t Work, March 6, 2020

Policy Brief: Don’t Block Graduation Because of a Test -Set Policies to Allow School Officials to Consider Other Factors Like Class Grades and Attendance, March 5, 2019 

Infographic: Use of Individual Graduation Committees Unlocks Diplomas for 14,422 Qualified Students in Texas, 2018 

IDRA EAC-South: Resources for Achieving Integrated Schools 

Engaging Communities

Habits of a Healthy School District Where All Students Thrive, by Celina Moreno, J.D., & Christie L. Goodman, APR, May 2020

Communicating Effectively 

Podcast: School District Takeovers History and Today, March 6, 2020  

Data Deficit: No A-F Grades for Districts or STAAR Exams for Students, April 16, 2020

For more resources, see IDRA’s Accountability that Doesn’t Hurt Children site.