More than 15,500 Gather in San Francisco for Annual Meeting
More than 15,500 Gather in San Francisco for Annual Meeting
2013 Annual Meeting Highlights
More than 15,500 Gather in San Francisco for Annual Meeting
May 2013

More than 15,500 registrants attended the 2013 AERA Annual Meeting, with standing-room-only turnout common at many events, from presidential sessions and award lectures to symposia and sessions on science and research policy.

Attendance hit a five-year high, indicating the continued value of major meetings for scholarly presentations and discussion, despite the effects of the recession and cutbacks in funding.

“The size and energy of this year’s meeting speaks not only to the quality and innovation of the program but to the central role that education research increasingly plays in policy and practice, on the national, state, and local levels,” said AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine.

Each day was packed with important sessions and highlights. Key events included:
  • The AERA Presidential Address by William Tierney, who examined how education scholars need to broaden their work beyond the academy and become more engaged in efforts to create an equitable society. 
  • The Opening Plenary Address by Michael Olivas, who summarized legal and other issues affecting immigration and higher education, particularly the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s policy of deferred action for childhood arrivals and undocumented college students.
  • The Social Justice in Education Award (2013) Lecture by Jeannie Oakes, who argued that, through a blend of social theory, evidence, and activism, social scientists can—and must—play a critical role in the struggle for socially just schooling. 
  • The Wallace Foundation Distinguished Lecture by Marta Tienda, who explored why access to higher education does not necessarily equate with equity.
  • The AERA Distinguished Lecture by Pedro Noguera, who discussed how schools can be transformed to counter social and racial inequality and promote mobility and community development.
  • The inaugural AERA Awards Luncheon, which drew more than 1,000 attendees, and the induction of new AERA Fellows at the annual Fellows Breakfast.

This year U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan addressed attendees at the Annual Meeting. He spoke to an overflow crowd of more than 1,300—and many others via live streaming—about the challenges inherent in designing and implementing effective standardized testing and other learning assessments.

Duncan argued that “a new generation of high-quality assessments must be a cornerstone of America regaining its educational leadership. And researchers, with rigor and relevance, must help lead forth that effort. With your expert analysis, with your commitment to working with teachers and practitioners, please help us make that transformation a success for all children.”

Duncan prefaced his comments by noting that educators and policy makers still have a large unmet need for relevant research. “Education researchers can and do play an invaluable role in formulating policy, from preschool to grad school,” Duncan said. “You are the experts. You are the independent truth-tellers.”

This Annual Meeting was also notable for the release of a new AERA report on bullying prevention, panel discussions on the Fisher case, innovative Ed Talks and Ignite sessions, and the introduction of new technology to enhance the registration and meeting experience. Media coverage was at a high this year.

In early June, video recordings of 20 Annual Meeting sessions will be made available for viewing online. A photo slideshow of meeting highlights is now available on the AERA website.

The 2014 AERA Annual Meeting will be held in Philadelphia, Pa., on April 3–7. The theme is “The Power of Education Research for Innovation in Practice and Policy.”