Dear reader,

Certain moments in our shared history truly feel pivotal. This is so today.

More than ever, it is essential that all our children get the benefits of a sound, strong education that prepares them for the dynamic, increasingly global environment that is the American workplace. In every community, young people must be prepared to learn for a lifetime and to thrive. When one in three students and one in two Latino or African American students does not graduate from high school with a diploma, we know that we have failed to make good on this promise.

Engaging students in learning and preparing them for success must go beyond emotional engagement to include intellectual engagement. A quality curriculum forms the backbone of such engagement. That is why, each year, IDRA partners with thousands of educators across the country to transform curriculum quality and access, as we work to strengthen teaching, learning, school leadership, and family and community engagement.

Grounded in research and this experience, we have focused this January issue of the IDRA Newsletter on ways that schools, school districts and states can make sure that the quality of educational curricula measures up to the demands of this era. In these pages you will find principles for guiding a secondary-level education plan for English language learners, a delightful application of the timeless children’s story, El Viejo Reloj, for strengthening children’s critical thinking skills, and recommendations for engaging families and schools as partners in a meaningful dialogue around core curricula. We also warmly invite you to visit IDRA’s Newsletter Plus feature, podcasts and other online resources at to learn more.

To fulfill our country’s commitment to children, school curricula must be aligned with the demands and possibilities of our times and must be accessible to all. We look forward in the coming year to partnering with you in this work, and to continuing to call for, press for and be a resource for change that creates schools that work for all children.

Dr. María Robledo Montecel


Comments and questions may be directed to IDRA via e-mail at

[©2009, 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.]