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 the federal Bilingual Education Act of 1968 and 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.
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.
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
Our Story – Transforming Education by Putting Children First
Families Insist on Equitable School Funding – Rodríguez v San Antonio ISD Ruling 50 Years Ago Has Lasting Effects, by Christie L. Goodman, APR
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.
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.
IDRA Paths and Bridges ~ Caminos y Puentes de IDRA, A poem by Aurelio Montemayor, IDRA’s longest-serving staff member
Beginning with the End in Mind to Establish Equitable, Excellent Education, María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, Ph.D., and Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed.
Valuing Youth and Assuring that All Youth Count, María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, Ph.D., and Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed.
InterAction with the Ecosystem – The IDRA Quality Schools Action Framework, María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, Ph.D., and Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed.
Destined to Get an Equitable System of School Funding (an interview with Dr. Cárdenas, by Anna Alicia Romero, IDRA Newsletter
Three Decades of Groundbreaking Dropout Research – Reflections by Dr. Robledo Montecel, by Bricio Vasquez, Ph.D.
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.
(click each image to see larger poster and captions) Our fifth decade poster is coming soon!