Dear reader,

We are surrounded by big myths about education. For example, there is the myth that equal opportunity currently exists and that students, families and communities have only to take advantage of such opportunities. The truth is that students routinely experience dramatically different learning opportunities based on their race, ethnicity, language background, family background and neighborhood.

Another myth is the idea that college is not for everyone. Typical of this myth is the stereotype that minorities or children of the poor are not college material. The Texas Legislature made new policy this year based on this myth by creating differentiated high school curricula, many of which wash away students’ chances to prepare for college.

Instead of myths and actions based on those myths, we need a new commitment to high school graduation with a path to higher education for all – and "all" must mean "all." This is, in fact, why our schools exist: to educate students to their highest potential. Our nation and our communities cannot afford anything less.

In this issue of the IDRA Newsletter, Dr. Rosana Rodríguez identifies six premises for creating school centers of college readiness in "Defining Student Success in the Context of College Readiness." Dr. Abelardo Villarreal presents insights on the ineffectiveness and inequity behind zero tolerance policies in "Zero Tolerance ≠ College Prep."

Access to quality teaching is critical to student success, but new teachers often struggle and leave the profession early. In "Mentoring New Teachers for First-Day, First-Year Success," Dr. Adela Solís provides steps for mentoring new teachers effectively and for building cultural proficiency.

In "Five Supporting Reasons for the Success of the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program in Dropout Prevention," Dr. Felix Montes continues his series that began last month by describing the five supporting strategies that have led to the IDRA Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program’s 25 years of successful dropout prevention.

Half of our nation’s 20 fastest-growing occupations require not a high school diploma but an associate or bachelor’s degree just to get in the door. In this economy, in this global market, 100 percent graduation and college preparation is the only reasonable goal.

María Robledo Montecel

Comments and questions may be directed to her via email at

[©2009, IDRA. This article originally appeared in the November-December 2009 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.]