Presidential Sessions Engage Attendees in Compelling Issues in Education Research
Presidential Sessions Engage Attendees in Compelling Issues in Education Research
 
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May 2022

The 2022 Annual Meeting Presidential Sessions provided rich and compelling content for attendees to reflect on the theme “Cultivating Equitable Education Systems for the 21st Century.” These 40 sessions, developed by AERA President Na’ilah Suad Nasir and 2022 Presidential Program Co-Chairs Tryphenia Peele-Eady and Elizabeth Tipton, covered a wide range of important topics such as the proposed limitations on teaching about racial injustice and the effects of COVID-19 on higher education.

Gloria J. Ladson-Billings (center) and
Mark Rosenbaum (shown on screen)

In the session “‘In the Face of What We Remember:’ Why We Must Talk About Race in Education,” panelists Gloria J. Ladson-Billings (University of Wisconsin, Madison) and Mark Rosenbaum (Public Counsel Opportunity Under Law) joined to explore the question of race in education in response to recent proposed and passed legislation that limits or prohibits critical race theory.

Ladson-Billings noted that there is an opportunity in education to make things better and be proactive post-pandemic. Rosenbaum agreed that the pandemic did not create inequities, it exacerbated them. The panelists agreed that we must be willing to talk about uncomfortable topics in order to learn and that all children have the basic right not only to education but also to the opportunity to become engaged members of a civic society.

The session “COVID-19 and Higher Education: Cultivating New Pathways to Higher Learning and Equity” featured presenters Tangela Blakely Reavis (Saint Mary’s College of California), Kelly Slay (Vanderbilt University), Christine Park (University of Hawaii), Bradley Ashburn (University of Hawaii), Joshua Lelemia Irvina (University of Hawaii), Lynette Maria Williamson (University of Hawaii, West Oahu), Cassandra M. D. Hart (University of California, Davis), and Calley Marotta (Utah Valley University).

Featured presenters for "COVID-19 and Higher Education: Cultivating New Pathways to Higher Learning and Equity” and ASL interpreter (bottom right)

The session explored how the COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped higher education campus environments and climates across the globe. In some places the adaptation has meant governance challenges and decision fatigue and in other places a shift in focus to community-based strengths and identifying new possibilities. Panelists described their research on the effects of the pandemic and how research can bring systematic, evidence-based changes that center on intersectional racial equity in particular.

“We have seen learning loss across the board,” said Blakely Reavis. “However, in majority Black schools, the ‘education debt’ has widened even more behind their majority White school peers. This is true for all students of color. We need to continue to pay attention to it and call it out.”

From left to right:  Na’ilah Suad Nasir, Carol D. Lee, and James D. Anderson. Lee presented “How Can the Science of Human Learning and Development Inform Preparing Students to Engage in Civic Reasoning?

Other notable sessions included “What Happened to Diversity and Equity When Admissions Became Optional?” and “How Can the Science of Human Learning and Development Inform Preparing Students to Engage in Civic Reasoning?” These sessions focused on charting a more equitable future in admissions testing and transforming the opportunities for young people to prepare for the complex and consequential challenges of civic engagement and democracy.

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

 
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