School & District Management

World’s Largest Education Research Group Kicks Off Annual Conference

By Sarah D. Sparks — April 12, 2018 2 min read
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The annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association starts today in New York City, with some 17,000 researchers and education watchers gathering in Times Square.

“It may be a record attendance this year,” said Tony Pals, AERA communications director.

The 2018 conference is dedicated to exploring “The Dreams, Possibilities, and Necessity of Public Education,” with more than 2,500 symposia, lectures, and paper discussions on topics including teacher compensation, research partnerships for school improvement, and student mobility between charter and district schools, among many others.

The conference comes amid wild swings in planned federal funding for education research, ongoing soul-searching over problems of replication and transparency in education research, and debates about the role of researchers in public policy. Jack Buckley, senior vice president for research at the American Institutes for Research, said he expects hot discussions of research on education policy in the current administration, as well as studies of school discipline, civil rights, and gun violence.

In fact, in response to the countrywide student protests following the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., this year AERA will live-stream a town hall discussion Friday evening on the state of research on school gun violence and its implications for schools and communities. It will include a discussion with David Adams of the Urban Assembly, Ron Avi Astor of the University of Southern California, Matthew Mayer of Rutgers University, Katherine Newman of the University of Massachusetts, AIR’s David Osher, and Pedro Noguera of the University of California, Los Angeles.

It’s one of 15 town halls and symposiums to be streamed live online this year, including discussions on school segregation and the evolution of the 50-year-old Bilingual Education Act, as well as a town hall discussion of #MeToo and sexual harassment in academia.

At Inside School Research, I’ll also be exploring new approaches into how to teach students critical thinking and self-motivated learning and what educators can learn from long-standing research partnerships in the wake of the Every Student Succeeds Act, among other issues.

Education Week at AERA 2018

By the way, if researchers are interested in discussing emerging research trends and partnerships with Education Week, they can chat with Debbie Viadero, Education Week‘s assistant managing editor (and former Inside School Research writer!) and Commentary Editor Elizabeth Rich about what’s involved at a roundtable discussion on Saturday from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in the Speaker’s Corner of the Exhibit Hall. And I’ll be moderating a live-streamed panel on Monday on the evolution of nonprofit education journalism and how it affects researchers.

We’ll be live-blogging and tweeting through the weekend and next week. For live coverage, follow me at

and Ben Herold, our education technology and digital privacy reporter, at

Photo Source: Getty

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Inside School Research blog.