A Unique Blend of Research, Policy, Practice and Engagement to Impact Public Education for All Students

  • Celina Moreno Intercultural Development Research Association
  • María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel Intercultural Development Research Association
  • Aurelio Montemayor Intercultural Development Research Association


The Intercultural Development Research Association, founded in 1973, is an independent, non-profit organization whose mission is to achieve equal educational opportunity for every child through strong public schools that prepare all students to access and succeed in college. IDRA strengthens and transforms public education along six paths: fair funding, sound educational practices, valuing students, valuing educators, valuing families and systems change. The organization has done so by uniquely crossing borders of policy, research, practice and community engagement to transform education by putting children first. The following article reviews how IDRA drives critical paths to transform education. The authors tell the story of how these paths have developed over time to push for fair funding, which was IDRA’s founding issue and continues to be a central focus; promote sound educational practices through professional and curriculum development; model valuing of students particularly as demonstrated through the IDRA Valued Youth Partnership program; support educators in excelling as asset-based teachers and catalysts for student success; and focus family engagement on leadership in education for transforming policy and practice for their neighborhood public schools. These interrelated paths are woven into IDRA’s change model: The Quality Schools Action Framework. This framework is a tool for strengthening the capacity of public schools to affect systems change to graduate and prepare all students for college.