2017 Annual Meeting Planning Gets Underway with San Antonio–Area Scholars Gathering
2017 Annual Meeting Planning Gets Underway with San Antonio–Area Scholars Gathering

May 2016

More than 30 AERA members from the San Antonio region joined AERA President Vivian L. Gadsden, AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine, and 2017 Annual Meeting Co-chairs Angela E. Arzubiaga and James Earl Davis on May 20 in San Antonio to discuss the regional education and education research issues, opportunities, and challenges that would help inform planning for the 2017 Annual Meeting. The 2017 Annual Meeting, which will be held April 27May 1, in San Antonio, will be the first AERA annual meeting held in the Southwestern United States. The meeting theme is “Knowledge to Action—Achieving the Promise of Equal Educational Opportunity.” This regional area scholars' meeting followed a private meeting with Ricardo Romo, president of the University of TexasSan Antonio, who extended a special welcome to AERA leadership and a commitment to work with AERA looking toward 2017.

The regional area meeting—generally held at the site of the next year’s Annual Meeting—was among the most enthusiastic experienced by AERA leadership. Participants discussed significant education issues in the region, which will help generate ideas for Annual Meeting sessions, speakers, site visits, and substantive tours. Among the many topics with salience for education researchers from a diversity of regions, disciplines, and interests, were:

  • The region’s large number of first-generation students, not only from Hispanic backgrounds but also Middle-Eastern and Asian, who are often English-language learners. San Antonio is a major refugee placement city.

  • The city is only 90 minutes away from the Mexican border, and many San Antonio–area students come from low-income border towns.

  • The region has a rich history of bilingual populations and linguistic diversity.

  • The city is a key designated location for refugee settlement from the Middle East and Africa, requiring teacher preparation to ensure nurturing and risk-free environments in schools.

  • San Antonio has a substantial military population, with many military-connected students in the K-12 system and veterans making up a significant portion of higher education enrollment.

  • San Antonio is the 7th most populated city in the United States, served by two public universities, community colleges, and several private universities.

  • San Antonio is site of the first major school financing case, filed in 1968, and reversed by the Supreme Court in 1973 in San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez.

  • San Antonio is the home of 17 school districts that are diverse demographically and where there are major disparities in school financing between and within school districts.

  • San Antonio is rich with community programs and initiatives to address issues being faced by students and families—particularly first-generation and marginalized.

  • Regional area research scholars use a breadth of new methodologies to examine the complex educational and policy issues of significance.

“The San Antonio area, with its rich heritage of cultural, linguistic, and ethnic and racial diversity, and a unique mix of educational and social challenges, will be a fascinating place from which to examine the annual meeting theme’s emphasis on equal educational opportunity,” said AERA President Vivian L. Gadsden.

“San Antonio is a city rich in complex history,” said AERA Executive Felice J. Levine, “but also an area that provides exciting opportunities for in-depth exploration of major education research issues.”

Levine also noted that the first two days of the Annual Meeting will overlap with San Antonio’s annual Fiesta, a celebration of the city’s diverse heritage and culture that is considered one of the nation’s premier festivals. Annual Meeting attendees will celebrate Fiesta as part of the opening plenary session.

Regional scholars were joined by the 2017 Program Committee for an informal reception. The Program Committee met for a full day on May 21, focusing on the Annual Meeting theme and also considering the relevance of the theme to the region.

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