Fellows Will Engage a Network of Impacted Communities to Transform Education Policymaking  

(San Antonio * August 28, 2020) – IDRA’s new Education Policy Fellows Program kicks off with the naming of its first fellow, Araceli García. Through the program, IDRA seeks to change the landscape of state education advocacy by training advocates with a commitment to and/or experience with communities of color to influence state laws and lead a powerful network of impacted communities.

Students of color make up most of the Texas public school population – about 72%. There are 680,000 Black students and more than 2.8 million Latino students. Almost 59% of students are economically disadvantaged. And Texas grows more diverse each year. Yet, advocates connected to impacted communities often are not present in the rooms where decisions about the lives and opportunities for students of color are made.

“Many Texas legislators are missing opportunities to hear from advocates who have deep and personal ties to communities and whose research and analyses are shaped by the very people impacted by policy decisions,” said Morgan Craven, J.D., IDRA Director of Policy, Advocacy, and Community Engagement. “Many of the state-level lobbyists and advocates pushing for education policies do not look like most of the students and families impacted by those decisions.”

IDRA staff and countless students, families and advocates have observed this problem in the Texas legislature, where the lack of representation of communities of color extends beyond the advocacy community. Most legislators in Texas are white men. And last week, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, released its report finding that 11% of top U.S. Senate staffers are people of color compared to 40% of the total U.S. population.

IDRA seeks to change that picture during the next legislative session through the Education Policy Fellows Program. IDRA’s fellows will gain real-world advocacy experiences and training during the Texas legislative session, work with coalitions, students and families to craft a community-centered education policy agenda, and join a network of advocates and policy influencers focused on improving racial equity in education policymaking spaces.

“We are excited to have, as our first Fellow, Araceli García, who will focus on English learner and immigrant students’ rights,” said IDRA President & CEO Celina Moreno. “She already has a firsthand understanding of the educational inequities that impact students of color and will be a valuable addition to the Texas advocacy community.”

Araceli grew up on the South Side of San Antonio and is the daughter of Mexican immigrants. She is the first person in her family to attend college, and her passion for immigrants’ rights stems from seeing her family and community insist on dignity while struggling to navigate their immigration and socioeconomic status. A graduate of Stanford University, Araceli has received several awards for her academic excellence and community service including the Newman Civic Fellow Award, Porras Award for Visionary Leadership, Chappell-Lougee Undergraduate Research Grant, and the Stanford Chicanx/Latinx Emerging Leader Award. Araceli graduated from Stanford with a bachelor’s degree in Chicanx/Latinx Studies and a minor in education and credits her family’s sacrifices for her success.

People interested in a career in education policy may apply for IDRA’s Education Policy Fellows Program contact Morgan Craven, J.D., for details. (Note: The application period is now closed.)

See announcement: Meet IDRA’s Education Policy Fellows