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Don’t Slide Back, Step Up to Make the Lone Star State Great

"Research on tracking shows that children of color and low income children are far more likely to be under-prepared for advanced courses and steered toward low-level paths. Our state must take responsibility for the academic success of all students. A high-quality curriculum is essential to assuring that all students reach a true level of college readiness. Innovation in education is needed. But we need to make sure that endorsements are not dead ends for students. Clear triggers must be in place so that action can be taken if the data show disproportionate routing of poor and minority students into non-rigorous tracks." - Dr. María "Cuca" Robledo Montecel, IDRA President and CEO

Texas is in the throes of a debate. Now that the legislature has adopted new policies governing diploma plans and endorsements, what will the newly-allowed curricula include? Will Texas fulfill its obligation to assure that all paths equitably prepare young people for the future or will it go backwards?

Models based on preparing one group for college and a second for immediate work are outmoded. Research on 21st century workforce needs indicates that the majority of jobs will require some level of education beyond high school. Employers in turn will need employees who are life-long learners prepared to adapt to the demands of a rapidly changing workplace. Further, schools should not make pre-college decisions on behalf of students or track them into low-level courses that limit career options.

This issue of Graduation for All shares resources in five key areas to support your efforts to assure that all children graduate from school and are well-prepared for their future.

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#1: Tracking vs. High Quality Education for All Students

Policy Note: Tracking, Endorsements and Differentiated Diplomas – When “Different” Really is Less – A Post Session Update (pdf), IDRA

Bilingual Factsheet: Expecting Less is Not Better – Texas’ New Graduation Tracks Push Students Away from College (pdf), IDRA

The Texas Latino Education Coalition Supports Inclusion of
Algebra II in All Endorsement Tracks (pdf), TLEC 

Texas Students Need Our Support – Not New Barriers – to Get an Excellent Education (webpage), IDRA

#2: Courageous Connections: Texas School Leaders on Preparing College-Ready Students

Interview: A Principal on Supporting Teachers for Student College Readiness (podcast), IDRA Classnotes Podcast

Interview with Dr. Daniel P. King, superintendent of the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo (PSJA) school district (video), IDRA Courageous Connections

#3: The Big Picture: Trends in Education and the Impact on the Future for Children and for the State of Texas

Texas' Next Generation of Children of Color, hosted by The Policy Studies Center in the UTSA College of Public Policy (webcast), in partnership with La Fe Policy Research and Education Center, New America Media and Kidswell, Texas at the UTSA Downtown Campus. Remarks by Dr. Robledo Montecel, IDRA President and CEO at this event on the future of education for Latino and African American students, starting at 32:29 min (webcast), NowCastSA

Early solutions can lower dropout rate: Opinion: San Antonio Express News

#4: What Parents Want to Know about the New Texas Graduation Guidelines

PowerPoint presentation: Texas High School Graduation Requirements ~ Texas Requisitos de Graduación (slideshow), IDRA 

#5: Get Math / Get Math Smart!

Interview: “Higher Math for All,” IDRA Classnotes podcast

IDRA Math and Science Smart! Professional Development

Keep the Last Step: Why Every High School Graduate Needs the Mathematics Skills of Algebra II (pdf), Michael Marder, University of Texas at Austin