• IDRA Newsletter • May 2005

* Visit TLEC’s webpage for current news

The Texas Latino Education Coalition (TLEC) is a collaborative of organizations and individuals who advocate the rights of Latinos at the local, state and national levels. The coalition was organized to focus specifically on critical educational issues in Texas and improve the state of education for Latino students in public schools.

The founding members of the collaborative first met in 2001. Member organizations include: the Intercultural Development Research Association, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Mexican American School Boards Association, and the League of United Latin American Citizens, among others.

The core group framed the education agenda for the coalition based on trends and historical inequities in public education. While test scores for school districts are rising, growing numbers of schools, especially those serving poor and minority students: (1) do not have adequate financial resources and support to provide quality education; (2) are not keeping their students in school; and (3) are providing little or no information for accessing colleges and succeeding in higher education.

Founding members agreed that it was prime time to unite efforts through a statewide coalition to take aggressive steps to ensure a brighter future for our children. TLEC’s mission is to improve public education for Latino children, which will impact the quality of education for all children. By working together, we can improve life for all children in Texas.

TLEC is moving its agenda forward by creating and executing strategies that: educate the media, inform public policy at state and local levels, mobilize communities, and synthesize and disseminate information.

Its education agenda is framed around four target issues, each with an overarching vision for schools in Texas.

Fair Funding
Vision – All public schools will have equitable funding.
Challenge – Students in low tax base districts receive inequitable and insufficient state funding.
Goal – Provide higher state funding for low tax base school districts.
Reform Targets

  • Reduce resource rich and resource poor school disparities.
  • Reject efforts to return to a grossly inequitable funding system.

Quality Teaching
Vision – All teachers will be prepared to ensure that all students, including diverse students, are succeeding.
Challenge – Too many minority and poor students are not achieving because too many teachers are not well prepared.
Goal – Improve recruitment, preparation, professional development and persistence for teachers.
Reform Targets

  • Increase/expand efforts to recruit and certify teachers, especially in critical need areas.
  • Modify teacher preparation to ensure teacher competence in teaching diverse students.
  • Strengthen staff development to support/expand teacher competence in teaching diverse students.
  • Assure that minority and poor schools have equitable access to qualified and certified teachers.

School Holding Power
Vision – Schools will graduate all students with a high school diploma.
Challenge – Too many schools fail to keep and graduate students.
Goal – Report accurately and implement effective dropout prevention and academic success efforts.
Reform Targets

  • Eliminate loopholes in defining and reporting dropouts.
  • Implement and evaluate dropout prevention efforts that value students and result in student success.
  • Include graduation rates in the school accountability system.

College Access and Success
Vision – All students will have access to and be adequately prepared for higher education.
Challenge – Too many schools and universities do not adequately prepare students to enter and complete higher education.
Goal – Higher education and public schools will collaborate to support students to enter and graduate from universities.
Reform Targets

  • Provide additional funding to support collaboration between public schools and higher education.
  • Eliminate barriers, such as financial costs and entrance tests, to increase the numbers of students that enter colleges and universities.
  • Increase support for minority, poor, and first generation students’ academic success and completion of degrees.

For more information about the Texas Latino Education Coalition or about joining the coalition, contact Dr. Albert Cortez, director of the IDRA Institute for Policy and Leadership, or Anna Alicia Romero at IDRA by phone at 210-444-1710 or by e-mail at anna.alicia.romero@idra.org.

See also www.texans4fairfunding.org, sponsored by Intercultural Development Research Association.

Comments and questions may be directed to IDRA via e-mail at feedback@idra.org.

[©2005, IDRA. This article originally appeared in the May 2005 IDRA Newsletter by the Intercultural Development Research Association. 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.]