AERA Partners With Penn, Education Writers Association
AERA Partners With Penn, Education Writers Association

In an innovative partnership, three education organizations joined forces to extend communications about education and education research in the national media. AERA collaborated with the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education to cohost the 65th National Seminar of the Education Writers Association (EWA). The seminar, “Learning From Leaders: What Works for Stories and Schools,” took place May 17–19 at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. It gave more than 250 journalists, communications professionals, research scholars, and advocates an opportunity to interact and bring their diverse perspectives to the discussion of education research, reporting, and practice.

Held for the first time on a university campus, the three-day conference opened with remarks from Andrew Porter, dean of the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education and 2001–­2002 AERA president; Felice Levine, AERA executive director; and Caroline Hendrie, EWA executive director. The broad agenda ranged from Common Core Standards to school violence, to the use of federal data in reporting. 

Stephanie Banchero, EWA president and education reporter for the Wall Street Journal, was joined on the program by education journalists, researchers, practitioners, and policy makers. Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, moderated a session on the use of racial preferences in higher education admissions; Scott Elliott, Indianapolis Star, led a panel on the future of school vouchers; and USA Today reporter Greg Toppo introduced Yasmin Kafai, University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, who spoke about creating video games for learning.

Delaware governor Jack Markell participated in an opening panel discussion, “What’s in Store From Common Core.” Steven Brill, author of Class Warfare: Inside the Fight to Fix America’s Schools, offered insights on news coverage of the debate on how to reshape America’s public education system. Newark mayor Cory Booker discussed efforts toward greater equity for Newark schoolchildren, and U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, a former superintendent of the Denver Public Schools, spoke on the federal role in education reform.

Among the AERA members who contributed their research perspectives and expertise were Bridget Hamre, University of Virginia; Steve Hurlburt, American Institutes for Research; Steven Tozer, University of Illinois at Chicago; Mark Schneider, American Institutes for Research; Shaun Harper, University of Pennsylvania; Robert Balfanz, Johns Hopkins University; Gary Miron, Western Michigan University; Laura Perna, University of Pennsylvania; Michael Olivas, University of Houston Law Center; Yasmin Kafai, University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education; Richard Ingersoll, University of Pennsylvania; Deborah Loewenberg Ball, University of Michigan; Anthony Bryk, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; and Bryan Hassel, Public Impact.

EWA describes the joint venture as a reflection of its members’ commitment “to foster stronger links between the nation’s education journalism and research communities, in the interest of expanding the quantity and quality of coverage of education nationally and abroad.”