Highlights of IDRA’s 50th Anniversary Calendar of Events
• IDRA Newsletter • November-December 2023 •
This year, IDRA held events to both celebrate our anniversary and, importantly, do so with members of the education community, public officials, and longtime supporters. These are people who have been part of IDRA’s story since the beginning and those who are doing the work with us today.
National Youth Summit
We started the year with a national virtual youth summit because IDRA’s reason for being is students. IDRA’s virtual summit was planned by students for others to learn about how they can advocate for safer and more successful learning environments, especially in communities targeted by inequitable education policies.
Day of Action at the Texas Capitol
The Texas Legislative Education Equity Coalition (TLEEC) held a day of action at the Texas Capitol to lay out the coalition’s priorities for 2023 legislative session. The day included a live-streamed news conference. IDRA convened a group of organizations and individuals in 2001 to found the Texas Latino Education Coalition, which was later renamed the Texas Legislative Education Equity Coalition. The coalition has had a strong presence in state-level advocacy since its first days.
Rodríguez v. San Antonio ISD 50th Anniversary Commemoration – The Fight for School Finance Equity: Past, Present and Future
San Antonio is the place where the battle for fair funding of schools in Texas was born with the Rodríguez vs. San Antonio ISD case and the series of Edgewood cases that followed. The community was at the forefront of what turned out to be a hard and often bitter fight that has continued for decades – the fight to assure that children in this and other communities like it would not continue to suffer under a bad and unjust system of financing schools. This case led to IDRA’s founding, also 50 years ago.
On the 50th anniversary of this momentous ruling, IDRA, Trinity University and its Center for Education Leadership, Edgewood ISD and the National Coalition on School Diversity hosted a commemorative event to reflect on the case, its impact, and its legacy of struggle and activism.
IDRA also released a “Law in Education” Classnotes Podcast episode on the history of the case, its impact, the litigation that followed, and how the case led to IDRA’s founding. And, with the National Coalition on School Diversity, we co-hosted a Twitter Chat (#RodriguezAt50).
José A. Cárdenas School Finance Symposium
IDRA held a symposium featuring research by two IDRA José A. Cárdenas School Finance Fellows. Dr. Vanessa A. Sansone, presented her study that examined CARES Act funding and spending patterns among Hispanic-serving institutions in Texas. Dr. Davíd Martínez presented his analysis of South Carolina school finance priorities in high-proportion LatinX school districts during COVID-19.
IDRA established the José A. Cárdenas School Finance Fellows Program in 2013 to honor the memory of IDRA founder, Dr. José Angel Cárdenas. The program is engaging the nation’s most promising researchers in investigating school finance solutions that secure equity and excellence for all public school students.
During the symposium, we also had a bonus presentation by a team of high school students on the results of their youth participatory action research study. The four students – Josué Peralta de Jesús, 12th grade, San Antonio; Kennedy Moore, 12th grade, Frisco; Manav Lund, 12th grade, Austin; Shreya Selvaraju, 11th grade, Austin – were members of IDRA’s Youth Advisory Board in 2022.
Board Reception Guests [l-r]: IDRA Board Chair Juventino “Tino” Guerra; Congressman Joaquin Castro; IDRA National Director of Policy, Advocacy and Community Engagement Morgan Craven; IDRA President & CEO Celina Moreno; Congressman Greg Casar
IDRA Board Reception in Washington D.C.
In July, IDRA hosted a 50th Anniversary Board Reception in Washington, D.C., along with host committee partners Legal Defense Fund, MALDEF, National Coalition on School Diversity, and Seek Common Ground.
The reception featured a keynote address from U.S. Department of Education Deputy Secretary Cynthia “Cindy” Marten and remarks by Congresswoman Teresa Leger Fernández, Congressman Joaquin Castro, IDRA President & CEO Celina Moreno, and IDRA National Director of Policy, Advocacy and Community Engagement Morgan Craven.
IDRA’s reception was a celebration of 50 years of fighting for and with young people and families for excellent and equitable schools. It was also a call to action to continue that fight through strong partnerships and strategic planning.
Paving the Way for Educational Justice – IDRA 50th Anniversary Archives Donation Reception
As some state leaders attempt to limit learning and discussions of diversity, our communities will not be silenced. On November 16, the University of Texas at Austin welcomed IDRA – one of the nation’s leading education civil rights organizations – for its 50th anniversary celebration and archives dedication.
Down the street in Austin, the state legislature debated whether to increase school funding or to divert millions for privatization. At the same time, the State Board of Education worked to codify censorship policies that restrict classroom learning about diversity and true history.
At our reception, we discussed the importance of connecting past social justice movements with the current struggle to protect our histories and civil rights. IDRA’s 50-year archives at the LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections provides resources for students and researchers. Participants got a glimpse of IDRA’s impact across the decades in advocating for equal educational opportunity across the nation and leading today’s fight for educational justice.
Co-sponsors were: IDRA; LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections; Center for Mexican American Studies, College of Liberal Arts, UT Austin; College of Education, UT Austin; Department of Mexican American & Latina/o Studies, College of Liberal Arts, UT Austin; Latino Research Institute, College of Liberal Arts, UT Austin; Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs, UT Austin; and William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law, UT School of Law. See the event videos.