Presidential Sessions Engage Attendees in Key Issues in Education Research
Presidential Sessions Engage Attendees in Key Issues in Education Research

April 2021

This year’s AERA Presidential Sessions provided rich and compelling content for Annual Meeting attendees to reflect on the meeting theme of “Accepting Educational Responsibility.” These thirty-one sessions—developed by AERA President Shaun Harper; 2021 Annual Meeting Program Co-Chairs Lori Patton Davis, Toby S. Jenkins, and Daniel Soodjinda; and the AERA 2021 Presidential Program Committee—covered a wide range of important topics, from anti-Asian violence and the school-to-prison pipeline to mental wellness and teacher preparation.

Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY)

Coming less than a month after the shooting deaths of eight people, including six women of Asian descent, in Atlanta, a session featuring scholars and political and advocacy leaders examined “Reckoning With Anti-Asian Violence: Racial Grief, Visionary Organizing, and Educational Responsibility.” The session featured Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), Michigan State Senator Stephanie Chang, Sung Yeon Choimorrow (National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum), Manjusha Kulkarni (Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council), Leigh Patel (University of Pittsburgh), and Allyson Tintiangco-Cubales (San Francisco State University).

Participants offered their insights on the impact of anti-Asian violence on their lives and their vision for transformational organizing and educational responsibility. Meng detailed her visit to Atlanta after the spa shootings, thanked the women in the Atlanta community for their work, and noted many allies supporting the Asian American community during this time.

Participants also noted the role of education systems in countering racism.

“Schooling in the U.S. has a white-centric view of history,” said Choimorrow. “We need to integrate the Asian American community into the history taught in schools and not have tokenism in our schools.”

A session titled “School-to-Prison Pipeline and Back,” chaired by Virginia Walker Snodgrass Rangel (University of Houston), addressed research on and the role of schools and educators in the perpetuation and disruption of the school-to-prison pipeline and the facilitation of students’ return to school after alternative disciplinary placement or incarceration.

Horace Duffy (Houston Independent School District) and Joel Mittleman (Princeton University) noted that labeling Black and Hispanic students as “deviant” brings them closer to the justice system and that this track puts them at a higher risk for more suspensions in the future.

Participants spoke about the importance of implementing culturally responsive teaching (CRT) and creating partnerships and community involvement in breaking the school-to-prison pipeline.

“We cannot just leave this at the feet of school administrators, who are dealing with a lack of resources,” said Duffy. Eru Findlay (Massey University) followed by noting an effective community partnership in his hometown in New Zealand that provides resources to young people to keep them at school.

A session titled “BIPOC Scholars Gone Missing: The Importance of Raising the Public Profile of Scholars of Color” explored how scholars of color can go missing within the academy. Presentations by five AERA scholars who have published their research in The Conversation were followed by a discussion that explored the various ways that public-facing publications can raise the public profile and significantly impact the career opportunities of researchers and scholars.

Linda Darling-Hammond
Learning Policy Institute
Gloria J. Ladson-Billings
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Meeting attendees also had the opportunity to hear from Linda Darling-Hammond (Learning Policy Institute), Kenneth M. Zeichner (University of Washington), and Gloria J. Ladson-Billings (University of Wisconsin, Madison). In a session named “Evaluating and Improving Teacher Preparation Programs,” these participants presented major findings from papers examining critical topics in the field of evaluating and improving teacher preparation programs (TPPs). These papers and the discussion will inform a National Academy of Education study that will provide consensus recommendations on best practices for evaluating and improving TPPs.

Other notable presidential sessions included 10 that were part of a special “Cinematic Intersections Series,” relating to the award-winning film Get Out and the ground-breaking HBO series Lovecraft Country. Among the topics were inclusive education work spaces, media portrayals of Black girls, and mentoring scholars of color.

A complete listing of all 31 Presidential Sessions is available on the AERA website.





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