AERA Leadership Convenes for Fall Meeting
AERA Leadership Convenes for Fall Meeting

Deborah Loewenberg Ball (AERA President-Elect),
Felice J. Levine (AERA Executive Director),
Vivian L. Gadsden (AERA President),
Jeannie Oakes (AERA Immediate Past President)

October 2016

More than 130 of AERA’s leaders gathered in Washington, D.C., October 21–22, for the association’s 2016 Coordinated Committee Meeting (CCM). This annual event provides an opportunity for most of AERA’s committees to meet individually, but also to come together collectively in general sessions to address issues of significance to the field. AERA President Vivian L. Gadsden presided over the meeting.

Attendees convened to address this year’s AERA Common Task—titled “Education Research and Policy that Promote Opportunity and Change”—that featured three general sessions designed to contribute to ongoing work of the association, including Centennial programing and the 2017 Annual Meeting.

Vivian L. Gadsden (AERA President),
Mary Frances Berry (University of Pennsylvania)

In the first session, titled “Equal Opportunity and Education: A Retrospective/Prospective Commentary on Policy and Research,” Gadsden interviewed Mary Frances Berry (University of Pennsylvania), a renowned scholar, former chair of the Civil Rights Commission, and former Assistant Secretary for Education, on progress toward equal educational opportunity, the work still needed, and the policy efforts required to achieve the promise of equal opportunity in education.

Berry, speaking with great candor, issued a powerful call for those committed to equal opportunity “to keep telling the truth,” particularly with rigorous scholarship and rich data. Following the interview, AERA members Jabari Mahiri (University of California, Berkeley), Chandra L.  Muller (University of Texas, Austin), and sean f. reardon (Stanford University) offered commentaries.

The second and third sessions targeted high-visibility societal problems that have implications for education and schooling.

Jabari Mahiri (University of California, Berkeley),
Chandra L. Muller (University of Texas, Austin),
sean f. reardon (Stanford University)

The second session, titled “Gender, Gender Equity, and Education Policy,” focused on two broad questions: How should we reframe or rewrite the discussions of gender and equity in schools and within education research and policy? How might these discussions address practices in schools and other educational settings and point to a trajectory of change?

Fatima Goss Graves, senior vice president for program at the National Women’s Law Center, kicked off the session with a presentation that sought to address how to create schools where girls are “safe, successful and healthy.” She additionally explored the ability of student achievement data to accurately reflect the role of gender in classrooms and the importance of measuring school climate as part of understanding the experiences of girls in school.

Panelists Ana M. Martínez Alemán (Boston College), Joseph R. Cimpian (New York University), and Charol Shakeshaft (Virginia Commonwealth University) joined Graves and session moderator Shaun R. Harper (University of Pennsylvania) for further discussion on the impact of gender bias on students and academic achievement.

Fatima Goss Graves (National Women's Law Center)

In the third and final general session, titled “Racial Conciliation, Interest Convergence, and the Role of Education and Schooling,” and moderated by AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine, panelists examined the role of education research and educative environments within the context of current debates around race, inequitable treatment, and respect and understanding. In a frank conversation, Grace Kao (University of Pennsylvania), Stella M. Flores (New York University), Daniel J. Losen (The Civil Rights Project, University of California, Los Angeles), and James Earl Davis (Temple University) tackled the role practitioners, policy makers, and scholars can play in addressing the deeply conflicted issues of race in American society.

“In addition to important committee work, CCM gave leaders in the field an opportunity to come together under ‘one tent’ for cross-cutting talk on critical research issues related to equal educational and social opportunity,” said Levine. “These conversations reflect and will further advance AERA’s and the field’s commitment to using research to improve equity and schooling and to create pathways to educational change.” 

AERA Graduate Student Council 
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