Special Section of <i>Educational Researcher</i> Tackles <i>Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin</i>
Special Section of Educational Researcher Tackles Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin
 
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Special Section of Educational Researcher
Tackles Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin

WASHINGTON, April 24 ─ As the higher education community and the nation await a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, Educational Researcher (ER) examines the role of social science research in the arena of public affairs. The April issue includes a special section devoted to Fisher, as well as a lineup of featured research articles that look at issues of diversity from a wider lens. ER is a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association (AERA).

In their introduction to the special section, editors Vivian L. Gadsden, Carolyn D. Herrington, and Shaun R. Harper express a “determination to link the findings, understandings, and interrogations of the research community with the policy deliberation process.”

The section includes text of AERA’s amicus brief and five commentaries by noted scholars who reflect on the significance of Fisher. These include:

Editors’ Introduction: Educational Researcher and Public Affairs
Vivian L. Gadsden, Carolyn D. Herrington, and Shaun R. Harper
Educational Researcher 2013 42: 164-165

The AERA et al. Amicus Brief in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin: Scientific Organizations Serving Society
Felice J. Levine and Angelo N. Ancheta
Educational Researcher 2013 42: 166-171

Post-Fisher: The Unfinished Research Agenda on Student Diversity in Higher Education
Mitchell James Chang
Educational Researcher 2013 42: 172-173

Reflections on a Collaboration: Communicating Educational Research in Fisher
Liliana M. Garces
Educational Researcher 2013 42: 174-175

Critical Mass Revisited: Learning Lessons From Research on Diversity in STEM Fields
Shirley M. Malcom and Lindsey E. Malcom-Piqueux
Educational Researcher 2013 42: 176-178

Affirmative Action Hanging in the Balance: Giving Voice to the Research Community in the Supreme Court
Gary Orfield
Educational Researcher 2013 42: 179-181

Editors’ Afterword
Vivian L. Gadsden, Carolyn D. Herrington, and Shaun R. Harper
Educational Researcher 2013 42: 182

AERA et al. Amicus Brief: Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin
Educational Researcher 2013 42: 183-197

The first commentary provides an overview of how and why AERA came to take a position on an issue before the U.S. Supreme Court. It examines the judicial precedents for the case, the role of social science data and analysis in addressing the legal issues before the Court, and a set of standards that should be met prior to a scientific association deciding to put the weight of the organization behind a position.

The commentaries reflect on the growing empirical evidence for the societal benefits of diversity, and on the strong evidence refuting claims made by activists opposed to race-conscious admission policies.

As the ER editors note, “The degree to which the evidentiary base has strengthened and solidified in just one decade, since Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger, is striking.”

One of the commentaries urges more collaboration between legal advocates and social science scholars, while another warns it should not come at the sacrifice of research that gives attention to the perennial problems in the field. Rather, the author argues for a broad research program that delves deeply into “how or which processes and conditions” promote the benefits the nation seeks from diversity.

The ER editors note that given the debate over affirmative action will not ebb, regardless of the Court’s decision, “the education research community will continue to play a critical role in providing the best evidence it can find to help inform discussions.”

ER is available on the AERA website without charge.

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About AERA

The American Educational Research Association (AERA) is the national interdisciplinary research association for more than 25,000 scholars who undertake research in education. Founded in 1916, AERA aims to advance knowledge about education, to encourage scholarly inquiry related to education, and to promote the use of research to improve education and serve the public good.

 
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