IDRA policy and leadership development promotes accountability and responsibility. Using inclusive, cutting-edge and broad-based strategies, IDRA develops leadership within communities, schools and policy-making bodies to create collaborative and enlighted educational policies that work for all children.

There is a need to make schools more accountable and to make sure the funding system serves all children with equity and excellence. Schools are seeking ways to provide an appropriate and high quality language response program to children who speak a language other than English. Far too many minority students are being retained in-grade and dropping out of school.

IDRA’s vision is that all schools and communities have the resources and training they need to prepare all their children. The following are a few examples of IDRA’s accomplishments in the area of policy and leadership in the past 25 years.

  • Since 1973, IDRA is the only organization that can claim continuous, uninterrupted involvement in Texas school finance reform.
  • IDRA’s research in 1994 on school dropouts in Texas led to revisions in the state’s education law regarding monitoring and preventing school dropouts.
  • Dr. José Cárdenas, IDRA founder and director emeritus, and IDRA staff played a key role helping to guarantee the civil rights of all children regardless of race, sex and national origin in landmark court cases such as Rodriguez vs. San Antonio, U.S. vs. Texas, Keys vs. Denver, Lau vs. Nichols, Doe vs. Plyer, and Rodriguez vs. L.A. USD and Edgewood vs. Kirby I, II, III and IV.
  • IDRA has provided leadership in the area of immigrant education throughout its history. Most recently, it directed an educational collaborative in two school districts to develop and implement innovative strategies for addressing the educational needs of secondary level recent immigrant populations. The study was funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and included local education agency personnel, recent immigrant students and their families, college and university personnel, community groups and private sector and job training representatives.
  • IDRA has been creating leadership development around the issue of the use of public funds for private schools. IDRA is informing parents and the general public about the educational, social and economic impact of negative educational vouchers on families who are minority, economically disadvantaged or limited-English-proficient.

In anticipation of the upcoming legislative session, IDRA will release a series of policy briefs on disciplinary alternative education programs, dropouts, in-grade retention and school vouchers. IDRA remains committed to the goal of framing and supporting essential policy and leadership issues for advocacy that will improve educational excellence and equity for all children. “Excellence without equity is absolutely impossible; and equity without excellence – is absolutely unacceptable,” adds Dr. María Robledo Montecel, IDRA executive director. “All children re capable of learning…Success will require that we value every single child.”

Comments and questions may be sent to him via e-mail at

[©1998, IDRA. This article originally appeared in the IDRA Newsletter by the Intercultural Development Research Association. Every effort has been made to maintain the content in its original form. However, accompanying charts and graphs may not be provided here. To receive a copy of the original article by mail or fax, please fill out our information request and feedback form. Permission to reproduce this article is granted provided the article is reprinted in its entirety and proper credit is given to IDRA and the author.]