Spotlight on Philadelphia and the Region—AERA 2024 Annual Meeting
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Spotlight on Philadelphia and the Region

This series of sessions will delve into research focused on pressing education issues in the Philadelphia area, including public school reform, educator diversity, culturally relevant instruction, and more. All times are in Eastern Time. Stay tuned for more information.

April 11

Let the Fire Burn: A Ten Year Retrospective on Public School Reform in Philadelphia
Thursday, April 11, 12:40 pm to 2:10 pm
Pennsylvania Convention Center, Level 200 - Room 201B

Chair: Camika Royal (Morgan State University)
Discussant: Marc Lamont Hill (Graduate Center - CUNY)
Presenters: Sabriya K. Jubilee (School District of Philadelphia), Edwin Mayorga (Swarthmore College), Melissa Lawson (Science Leadership Academy at Beeber School District of Philadelphia), Tamir Harper (School District of Philadelphia), Camika Royal (Morgan State University)

This panel will take up questions regarding the purposes of and implications for the reforms that have been enacted on Philly’s public schools since the mass school closures and layoffs of 2013. It will also question the functionality and necessity of the stratification of schooling evident in the different types of schooling inherent to the School District of Philadelphia. It will also examine the afterlife of the politics of reform, given the COVID-19 contexts and the concern regarding violence throughout the city. The political contexts and consequences of school reform are far reaching and ever-present, locally and nationally. This panel will disrupt notions of schooling and reform as apolitical at various levels, given the different points of entry for panel participants.

April 12

Weight of the Crown: Anti-Essentialist Futures for Black Girls’ Identity Construction
Friday, April 12, 7:45 am to 9:15 am
Pennsylvania Convention Center, Level 200 - Room 201B

Chair: Ashley N. Woodson (Albion College)
Discussants: Theodorea Regina Berry (University of Central Florida), Venus E. Evans-Winters (The Ohio State University), Dorinda Carter Andrews (Michigan State University)
Presenters: Ashley N. Woodson (Albion College), Kristen Duncan (Clemson University), Alexis E. Hunter (University of Colorado - Boulder), Brittany Smotherson (University of Missouri), Alyssa Liles (Temple University)

Black girls’ resilience has inspired an iconography and aesthetic that informs politics, popular culture, and their (mis)representation across social institutions. Education psychology has yet to meaningfully interrogate what this means for Black girls’ racial and gendered identity construction, despite interdisciplinary precedents that warrant such examination. This interactive session features the work of Black poets, artists, and scholars inspired by research on Black girlhoods, anti-essentialism and positive racial stereotypes. Building from Carter Andrews' et al. (2019) conversation about the impossibility of Black girls being perfect and white, this session engages broad conceptual questions including: What precedents in the field of education psychology help to explain Black girls’ experiences with popular messages about their resilience and magic, and how might prioritizing Black girls as subjects of education psychology research further what is known about identity construction, motivation, and stereotypes? Papers and artifacts simultaneously celebrate the personal empowerment that Black girls might draw from African queen, superwoman and Black Girl Magic mythologies, and the session explicitly advances research conversations in education psychology about stereotype threat and imposter syndrome, specifically in the lives of Black girls.

Weight of the Crown engages the theme of “Dismantling Racial Injustice Across P-20 Systems” through the rearticulation of demands for the childhood and personhood of Black girls. Further, given that the 2024 AERA theme focuses on dismantling racial injustices and constructing educational possibilities, we imagine what schools would be like if Black girls had the freedom to be themselves instead of facing the pressure to be excellent in the name of evading stereotypes. As a presidential session, this session models theoretical and radical concern for Black girls’ futures, both collectively as a social and cultural intersection, and individually with concern to personal identity construction.

Prioritizing Educator Diversity Research: A Journey of Reflection, Insights, and New Possibilities
Friday, April 12, 9:35 am to 11:05 am
Pennsylvania Convention Center, Level 200 - Room 201C

Chair: Kate Callahan (Research for Action)
Discussants: Travis J. Bristol (University of California - Berkeley), Sharif El-Mekki (The Center For Black Educator Development) 

In this session, members of Rearch for Action's team will embark on a narrative journey, recounting our endeavor to prioritize educator diversity research. Along this path, we will unveil findings from multiple projects aimed at dissecting the state of educator diversity in Pennsylvania's public schools. Moreover, we will candidly discuss our achievements, setbacks, and the recalibrations of our research strategies.

Race, Community and Educational Research: A Retrospective on W.E.B. DuBois’ “The Philadelphia Negro” 125 Years Later
Friday, April 12, 11:25 am to 12:55 pm
Pennsylvania Convention Center, Level 200 - Room 201A

Chair: Lori Patton Davis (The Ohio State University)
Discussant: Camika Royal (Morgan State University)
Participants: Keon M. McGuire (North Carolina State University), Tufuku Zuberi (University of Pennsylvania), Monika Williams Shealey (Temple University), Derrick Alridge (University of Virginia), Whitney Battle-Baptiste (University of Massachusetts - Amherst), Lori Patton Davis (The Ohio State University)

April 14

Dismantling Racial+ Injustice Through Systems Change Work: A Conversation About Pennsylvania’s Culturally Relevant and Sustaining Educational Practices​​
Sunday, April 14, 1:15 pm to 2:45 pm
Pennsylvania Convention Center, Level 200 - Room 201A

Chair: Marc Brasof (Arcadia University)
Discussant: Marc Brasof (Arcadia University)
Presenters: Donna-Marie Cole-Malott (East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania), Sharif El-Mekki (The Center For Black Educator Development), Ronald Williams Whitaker (Duquesne University), Sarah Anne Eckert (Eastern University), Eric Hagerty (Pennsylvania Department of Education), Leighann S. Forbes (Gannon University), Kelly M. McGinn (Temple University), Laura A. Roy (La Salle University), Juliet D Curci (Temple University), Ashley N. Patterson (Pennsylvania State University), Beth Zampogna (Pennsylvania State Education Association)

In 2019 a number of faculty from institutions of higher education educator preparation programs, non-profit leaders, and K-12 educators began to form a broad coalition of universities, districts, non-profit organizations, research organizations, and philanthropic foundations in Pennsylvania with the purpose of building the capacity of the P-20 system to become much more inclusive, responsive, and ultimately, more just and equitable institutions for BIPOC youth and educators. Members of the Pennsylvania Educator Diversity Consortium and current and former state officials come together to discuss the successes and challenges of its systems-change efforts to increase the number of diverse educators and culturally relevant and sustaining educators in the Commonwealth.