2021 Annual Meeting Theme
2021 Annual Meeting Theme

The Call for Submissions for 2021 Annual Meeting was released on May 15; The deadline for submissions was extended from July 22 to August 14, 11:59 p.m. PDT. Submissions are now closed.

Accepting Educational Responsibility


Shaun R. Harper

Lori Patton Davis, Toby S. Jenkins, and Daniel Soodjinda
Presidential Program Co-Chairs

To Be Held Virtually
April 8 – 12, 2021

Education researchers are not merely scholars; we are also citizens of the places in which our scholarship is produced, disseminated, and implemented. Equity and justice in these places depend as much on our deep thinking as they do on what we do with what we know. Racism, xenophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, homophobia, and other manifestations of hate continually poison these places. Mass shootings occur in too many places close to where we live and do our academic work. Sexism, sexual harassment, and sexual assault occur too often within and beyond our workplaces. Myriad consequences of wealth inequity negatively affect people inside of and around the places where many of us think, teach, research, and write. Attendees of the 2021 AERA Annual Meeting will be empowered to accept greater responsibility for social problems that plague places around the world. Our identities as citizens and as scholars will be embraced.

Accepting educational responsibility requires honest acknowledgments among citizen-scholars. One such acknowledgment is that all legislators and elected officials attended school; most are college graduates. Yet far too many learned far too little in those places about how to respectfully engage across partisan lines and avert polarization. Listening, understanding, and reasonably considering the viewpoints of persons beyond one’s own political party are skills educators failed to teach those who go on to make consequential policy decisions that affect entire nations. Doctors who unknowingly reproduce health inequities graduated from medical schools. Judges who reach biased legal outcomes that disparately impact minoritized communities are law school graduates. Many sexual harassers in corporate contexts are business school graduates. Citizen-scholars must do more with evidence to responsibly inform the educational preparation of future workers across these and all other professions. We also must do more to educate the public and raise consciousness about beliefs, behaviors, cultures, structures, and systems that harm people and sustain inequities.

This theme is about both schools and the larger social contexts in which schooling occurs. It invites AERA members and other Annual Meeting attendees to acknowledge the roles we play in sustaining an array of social and educational inequities. We know, for sure, that tremendous racial inequity occurs across all levels of education. This theme invites those of us who teach in schools of education to accept greater responsibility for the inadequate preparation of educators for work in racially, ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse P–12 schools and postsecondary institutions. For example, when educators discipline African American students at disproportionately higher rates, misdiagnose them for special education, identify too few of them for advanced placement and international baccalaureate programs, deliver to them a culturally irrelevant curriculum, teach them in culturally disdaining ways, and stereotype their families as careless and hopeless, the schools of education that produced these professionals are just as responsible as the professionals themselves. Furthermore, if scholars who study and document these trends do too little to make our findings actionable, then we, too, are contributors to the cyclical reproduction of these educational inequities.

The 2021 AERA Annual Meeting will be a place where attendees reject apolitical stances that limit how our scholarship affects societies. Epistemological tensions, the artificial boundaries of perceived research objectivity, and the politics of leveraging of research for equity and justice will be thoughtfully engaged. Through lectures and plenary sessions, the Citizen-Scholar Presidential Symposia Series, and other programming across divisions, SIGs, and committees, attendees will be inspired to collaboratively take evidence-based action to correct educational and social injustices, to use data to counter lies and misinterpretations, and to initiate cross-division and interdisciplinary collaborations with other scholars. Throughout the conference and beyond, colleagues will contemplate many meaningful questions. For instance, how can we individually and collectively demonstrate greater care about what happens in our society and in educational institutions? What evidence and expertise can we bring? How can we unite with practitioners, with scholars across other academic fields and disciplines, and with other citizens beyond academia to strategically address complex social and educational problems? Ultimately, this theme and its corresponding Annual Meeting activities aim to inspire evidence-based political actions and courageous, sustainable coalitions among citizen-scholars.


Shaun R. Harper , Ph.D.                                                              Lori Patton Davis, Ph.D.
AERA President                                                                            Professor
Clifford and Betty Allen Chair in Urban Leadership             Chair, Educational Studies Department
University of Southern California                                             The Ohio State University
Phone: (812) 219-9655                                                                Phone: (614) 292-6951
Email: sharper@usc.edu                                                            Email: pattondavis.1@osu.edu


Toby S. Jenkins, Ph.D.                                                                Daniel Soodjinda, Ed.D.
Associate Professor                                                                     Associate Professor
Director, Museum of Education                                               California State University, Stanislaus
University of South Carolina                                                    Phone: (209) 664-6607  
Phone: (803) 777-2489                                                              Email: dsoodjinda@csustan.edu
Email: jenki279@mailbox.sc.edu


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