IDRA 50th Anniversary Highlights

IDRA 50th Anniversary Highlights

50th anniversary logo colorIn 2023, IDRA is celebrating its 50th year of working for excellence in education for all children. We are reflecting on relationships we have built and on some of the changes we have seen since 1973 when a small group of concerned citizens set out to change the world.

See more videos in our 50th anniversary video gallery.

In IDRA’s case, our purpose has not changed. As long as excellence in public schools is available to only a few students, IDRA will keep its purpose – its mission – to achieve equal educational opportunity for every child through strong public schools that prepare all students to access and succeed in college.

When IDRA began its work, many, including educators, did not realize that vast inequalities in school funding existed or the reasons for these inequities. IDRA worked for five decades to expand public and individual awareness and transform classrooms. More importantly, IDRA’s efforts focused on engaging people – including key decision-makers – to move and support a system in need of change.

IDRA met with anyone and everyone who was interested: teachers, administrators, civic organizations, community-based groups, parents, ministers, business people, news media, students and policymakers.

IDRA’s vision is that all schools and communities have the resources and training they need to prepare every student.

Since 1973, IDRA is the only organization that can claim continuous, uninterrupted involvement in Texas school finance reform.

IDRA’s research on school dropouts in Texas led to revisions in the state’s education law in 1984 regarding monitoring and preventing school dropouts.

IDRA staff played a key role in helping to guarantee the civil rights of all children regardless of race, sex and national origin in landmark court cases such as Rodríguez v. San Antonio, U.S. v. Texas, Keys v. Denver, Lau vs. Nichols, Doe v. Plyer, and Rodríguez v. L.A. USD, Edgewood v. Kirby I, II, III and IV, and Texas Taxpayer and Student Fairness Coalition vs. Michael Williams.

IDRA has provided leadership in the area of immigrant education throughout its history, from studying innovative strategies to guiding schools on their duty to welcome immigrant students.

IDRA is in classrooms working hand-in-hand with teachers and administrators to improve teaching strategies and school programs, making a difference for students. We know the challenges. We also have seen the excitement and pride of teachers, school personnel, parents and students when they work together and are successful.

IDRA helped write Texas’ first bilingual education law, which is still on the books today.

Our internationally-recognized dropout prevention Valued Youth Partnership program has created transformations in almost a million students, teachers and schools.

Our Education CAFE model of parent leadership helps schools and communities see the inherent value in all families and students. We have mobilized thousands of parents to assert their value and to impact change in their schools as well as in policymaking bodies.

IDRA is a national leader in educational equity, providing assistance to schools and districts to examine their gaps and create solutions, such as addressing disparities in student access to high-level STEM courses, confronting racial and gender bullying and harassment, diversifying the teacher workforce and ending harmful discipline practices.

While the focus on its first day was Texas, IDRA soon expanded its work across the country, including adding staff in Georgia and coordinating with partners across the U.S. South.

When schools closed due to COVID-19, IDRA immediately responded to educators and families so students could continue learning.

Because every child is valuable, IDRA believes that each student must count in every school system. The goal of this work has been to ensure schools embrace the characteristics of all students, celebrating the strengths and contributions that they and their families bring.

Thousands of classroom teachers, school principals, other educators, families, policymakers, community leaders, researchers and, of course, students themselves, have been a part of the IDRA story. As a result, millions of students’ lives have been powerfully affected by dramatically raising educational opportunities for all children. Today, we celebrate the progress we are achieving by working together and by taking a consistent stand when few others would.

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US House of RepresentativesU.S. House of Representatives Recognizes IDRA

Rep. Greg Casar said: “Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege to call the attention of the House in recognition of the Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA) celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. For over 50 years, IDRA has been steadfast in its commitment to equitable access to high-quality public education for every child and family that needs it.” See full statement.


City of San Antonio Declares IDRA Day

In recognition of IDRA’s 50th anniversary and gala celebration, the City of San Antonio issued a proclamation declaring November 2, 2023, to be “IDRA Day.” See the proclamation and the video message from Mayor Ron Nirenberg.

Judge Peter Sakai at galasBexar County Commissioners Court Recognizes IDRA

During IDRA’s 50th anniversary and gala, Bexar County Judge Peter Sakai presented a proclamation recognizes the contributions IDRA for 50 years at the local, state, and federal levels. See the proclamation.

Texas Senate resolution cover

Texas Senate Recognizes IDRA’s 50 Years of Work for Education Equity

On March 1, 2023, the Texas Senate adopted Resolution 262 to recognize IDRA’s 50th anniversary in 2023 and celebrate its commitment to education equity and excellence. The resolution was filed by Sen. José Menéndez and co-authored by Sen. Judith Zaffirini and Sen. Roland Gutierrez. See the resolution and video.

Silver Anvil Badge_finalist_crPRSA Silver Anvil Finalist

IDRA’s 50th anniversary campaign was named a Silver Anvil – Strategic Award national finalist by the Public Relations Society of America. Award placements will be announced in May.

Anniversary Media Coverage

IDRA President and CEO Celina Moreno | ¡Nosotros! with Elaine Ayala, November 17, 2023

Commentary: Civil rights icon Dolores Huerta, 93 and ‘still raising hell,’ by Nancy M. Preyor-Johnson, San Antonio Express-News, November 3, 2023

Critics Warn Passing Vouchers in Texas Will Revive Segregated Schools, by Simone Carter, Dallas Observer, November 3, 2023

Podcast: Knowledge is Power: 50 Years of Advancing Education Equity with IDRA, by Scott Atnip, Weekly Witness by Texas Impact, October 27, 2023

IDRA 50th Anniversary, Celina Moreno and Aurelio Montemayor with host Martha Tijerina, CTSA Catholic Television of San Antonio, October 26 (also ran on Spectrum Channel News 15)

A 50-year-old court case still shapes Texas school funding today, By Camille Phillips, Texas Public Radio, October 14, 2023

Latinas in Education, ¡SALUD!, KLRN-TV, September 28, 2023

Announcing the 2023 Nonprofit, Corporate Philanthropy honorees, by Jannette Zorrilla, San Antonio Business Journal, September 13, 2023

2023 Student Rights Laws, CROWN Act Protects Black Students from Having to Cutoff Hair – IDRA Wants Families to Know These Laws, (Page 8) San Antonio Observer, September 13, 2023

Bridging the Gap – KDRY Radio, San Antonio, June 24, 2023

How YOU can impact education policy | Empowering student voices, The Nicest Nick, July 2, 2023

50 Years of Strengthening Education in SA, Nation, by KABB-TV Focus on South Texas, May 27, 2023

Community Members Honored the 50th Anniversary of a Supreme Court Ruling that had a Lasting Effect Here in our Community, KABB-Fox San Antonio, March 22, 2023

50 years since landmark Edgewood education case, Madalyn Mendoza, Axios San Antonio, March 14, 2023

‘This is our legacy’ — Commemorating 50 years of the fight for school finance equity in Rodriguez vs San Antonio ISD, Texas Public Radio: Fronteras, March 10, 2023


Students United for Education Reform – National Virtual Summit

Texas Legislative Education Equity Coalition (TLEEC) Day of Action at the Texas Capitol

Rodríguez vs. San Antonio 50th Anniversary Commemoration – The Fight for School Finance Equity: Past, Present and Future

José A. Cárdenas School Finance Symposium 

Board Reception in Washington, D.C.

50th Anniversary Gala in San Antonio

Archives Donation Reception at UT Austin

Anniversary Articles

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants – Podcast Episode 239, December 14, 2023

50th Anniversary Year in Review – November-December 2023 Issue of the IDRA Newsletter, November-December 2023

Our Story – Transforming Education by Putting Children First

It Was the Defining Moment

Reflections on IDRA Work Across 50 Years – A Story of Innovation, Connection and Faithfulness, by Dr. María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, IDRA President Emerita, November 2023

IDRA Milestones Across Five Decades to Fulfill the Promise of Education that Every Student Deserves (PDF)

Families Insist on Equitable School Funding – Rodríguez v San Antonio ISD Ruling 50 Years Ago Has Lasting Effects, by Christie L. Goodman, APR, March 2023

IDRA Milestones Across Five Decades to Fulfill the Promise of Education that Every Student Deserves, by Celina Moreno, J.D., María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, Ph.D., Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed., April 2023

One Mission, Many Paths – 50 Years of Transforming Education by Putting Children First, by Celina Moreno, J.D., María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, Ph.D., Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed., April 2023

IDRA Paths and Bridges ~ Caminos y Puentes de IDRA, A poem by Aurelio Montemayor, IDRA’s longest-serving staff member, April 2023

IDRA Kicks Off 50th Anniversary Celebration, January 2023

Beginning with the End in Mind to Establish Equitable, Excellent Education, María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, Ph.D., and Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed., June-July 2018 (for IDRA’s 45th anniversary)

Valuing Youth and Assuring that All Youth Count, María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, Ph.D., and Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed., June-July 2018 (for IDRA’s 45th anniversary)

InterAction with the Ecosystem – The IDRA Quality Schools Action Framework, María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, Ph.D., and Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed. June-July 2018 (for IDRA’s 45th anniversary)

Destined to Get an Equitable System of School Funding (an interview with Dr. Cárdenas, by Anna Alicia Romero, IDRA Newsletter, September 2001

Three Decades of Groundbreaking Dropout Research – Reflections by Dr. Robledo Montecel, by Bricio Vasquez, Ph.D., December 2018

All Pianos Have Keys rerelease coverAll Pianos Have Keys and Other Stories –  Serial Re-release

As we celebrate IDRA’s 50th anniversary this year, we are re-releasing chapters from our founder’s popular memoir, All Pianos Have Keys and Other Stories, that is now out of print. Watch our social media accounts and this page for each new release.

Timeline – A History of IDRA Policy Work to Secure Excellent and Equitable Schooling for All Children

See printable version (PDF)

See dynamic online version

Anniversary Logo

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Across the Decades

(click each image to see larger poster and captions) Our fifth decade poster is coming soon!

IDRA Anniversary - Across the Decades - 1970s poster IDRA Anniversary - Across the Decades - 1980s poster

IDRA Anniversary - Across the Decades - 1990s posterIDRA Anniversary - Across the Decades - 2000s poster