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IDRA: Education is a Civil Right
IDRA Graduation for All

April, 2010

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Education is a Civil Right • • March 2010

On March 9, speaking at the Selma Bridge where over four decades ago on “Bloody Sunday” civil rights marchers had been attacked with billy clubs and tear gas, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced a new call for civil rights in education. “Education,” Mr. Duncan has often been quoted as saying, “is the civil rights issue of our generation.” With this in mind, the Department of Education will conduct compliance reviews in dozens of school districts nationwide to ensure gender and racial equality. To learn more… 

If we are to achieve equity, it’s clear that as a nation we will need to address both the fact that our current system achieves very different outcomes for various student groups and that we accept very different inputs. And we will need to get better at connecting the dots between the two. Looking at the connection between school funding and outcomes, charter schools and student segregation, teaching quality and civil rights, this issue of Graduation for All offers resources to support your work in doing just that.

¡Usted puede recibir esta edición de Graduation for All en español!

Charter Schools and Civil Rights Challenges. While charter schools are often seen as the solution to inequitable student outcomes, a recent report by the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA raises serious questions. Based on an analysis of federal data and research on charter schools in over 40 states, Choice Without Equity: Charter School Segregation and the Need for Civil Rights Standards, finds that “charter schools continue to stratify students by race, class, and possibly language, and are more racially isolated than traditional public schools in virtually every state and large metropolitan area in the country.” For the full report...  and for state factsheets (covering Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Michigan and North Carolina) and other findings...

From Funding Equity to Facilities, Teaching Quality and Student Outcomes.  In “Implications of Inequitable School Funding” (an IDRA Classnotes podcast), Encarnación Garza, Jr., assistant professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio and a former principal and superintendent, connects the dots between equitable school funding, resources and features (from buildings, textbooks, instructional materials and teaching quality), and student outcomes. He then shows why funding equity is a social justice issue. To hear this podcast and get resources on how to promote fair funding in your state or district,

Parent Leadership and School Success. Where students of all backgrounds are not engaged in school, you are likely to find that diverse families are not part of the equation either. In “What Parents Should Know about Their Schools,” Rogelio López del Bosque, Ed.D. and Aurelio Montemayor , M.Ed., discuss the key role that parents play in transforming educational outcomes, offering practical ways to create meaningful school-family partnerships. To hear this podcast and get resources on family leadership…

“Ensuring Teaching Quality in a Civil Rights Context.” Visit this article by Bradley Scott, Ph.D., Director, IDRA South Central Collaborative for Equity, to learn more about how Equity Assistance Centers are connecting the dots among civil rights challenges, teacher effectiveness and equitable distribution of qualified teachers. 

In “Radical Equations: Civil Rights from Mississippi to the Algebra Project,” Robert P. Moses shows why math literacy is integral to the fight for equal citizenship. 

For concrete ways to realize the promise of mathematics teaching and learning, visit this series of articles and podcasts featuring Jack Dieckmann, Ph.D., a former senior math education specialist at IDRA:

…and visit “Professor Jo Boaler's talk about language, equity and math”

“I never met anyone younger than me that I could honestly say, ‘He acts just like me’…So every day I saw Lloyd, and I treated him the way I wanted to be treated when I was his age. He saw himself as a nobody, a failure, even a mistake. I made sure that by 9:10 a.m. he felt like a somebody, a winner and a blessing.”   - Andre Merritt, Fuller Performance Learning Center, Cumberland County Schools, Second Place High School Winner, IDRA Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program, National Essay Contest. To visit all the winning essays…

The Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA) is an independent, private non-profit organization whose mission is to create schools that work for all children.

Let us hear from you! Have a story of school-community partnership that's raising graduation rates? We welcome your comments, questions and suggestions at Forward to a Friend! Feel free to share Grad4All with anyone who shares your passion for every student’s success.

Thanks for reading!

Laurie Posner
Graduation for All Coordinator
Intercultural Development Research Association
5815 Callaghan Road, Suite 101
San Antonio, Texas 78228

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