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Going to AERA? These sessions have a Philadelphia focus

By the Notebook on Apr 2, 2014 11:11 AM

by Jeseamy Muentes

More than 13,000 attendees, including education and policy leaders, will gather in Philadelphia this week at the annual meeting of the American Education Research Association (AERA).

The event will be held April 3-7 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and the downtown Philadelphia Marriott hotel. The theme is “The Power of Education Research for Innovation in Practice and Policy.” More than a dozen of the 100-plus sessions will include local leaders or have a Philadelphia focus.

Notebook editor and publisher Paul Socolar, Notebook contributing editor Dale Mezzacappa, and Parents United for Public Education co-founder Helen Gym are among the speakers.

Socolar will be speaking Friday during a session with School District Superintendent William Hite called “The Landscape of Education Reform in Philadelphia.” The session, which will be live-streamed, will discuss the ideas and challenges of improving one of the largest urban school districts in the nation.  

Mezzacappa will take part in a symposium titled “Action Space for School Reform,” a discussion about Children Achieving and other 1990s Philadelphia school reform efforts.

Gym, a Philadelphia activist and Notebook blogger, will be one of two speakers during the session “Rising to the Challenges of Quality and Equality: The Promise of a Public Pedagogy.” Gym will talk about what educational research means for the lives of schoolchildren in Philadelphia.

Sessions and speakers with Philadelphia focus
Session Time/Location  
“The Political Realities of Education Reform: What is the Role for Educational Research?” Thursday, April 3, 2:15-3:45 p.m., Convention Center, Terrace Level, Terrace I With Ed Rendell, former Pennsylvania governor and Philadelphia mayor
“Rising to the Challenges of Quality and Equality: The Promise of a Public Pedagogy” Thursday, April 3, 2:15-3:45 p.m., Convention Center, 100 Level, 121B With Diane Ravitch, New York University, and Helen Gym, Parents United for Public Education
Philadelphia Education Town Hall Thursday, April 3, 5:30-8:30 p.m., Arch Street United Methodist Church  
“The Landscape of Education Reform in Philadelphia” Friday, April 4, 10:35 a.m.-12:05 p.m., Convention Center, 100 Level, 115C With William Hite, Philadelphia School District Superintendent, and Paul Socolar, the Notebook
“Congress and Connecting Research to STEM Education and Innovation” Sunday, April 6, 9-10:15 a.m., Convention Center, Terrace Level, Terrace I With U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah
“Action Space for School Reform: Taking Stock of Philadelphia, the 1990s and Today” Saturday, April 5, 10:35 a.m.-12:05 p.m. With Dale Mezzacappa, the Notebook
“Noncognitive Factors Affecting Student Success: State of the Science and Opportunities for School Improvement” Sunday, April 6, 4:05-5:35 p.m., Convention Center, Terrace Level, Terrace I With Angela Duckworth, University of Pennsylvania scholar, MacArthur Foundation “Genius” grant recipient


Other AERA sessions with a Philadelphia focus
Session Time/Location
Comparing Private-Sector Technical Training With Public-Sector Degree Completion: An Off-Site Panel Discussion With Aker Philadelphia Shipyard and the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia on Academia-Industry Partnerships for Workforce”

Wednesday, April 2, 3-6 p.m., Aker Philadelphia Shipyard

“Out in the Community with Division K: Conversations With Students, Educators, and School Leaders in Philadelphia”

Wednesday, April 2, 3:30-7 p.m., Academy of the Natural Sciences

“The ‘Portfolio’ Model and the Future of U.S. Urban School Reform: Lessons from New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Beyond”

Thursday, April 3, 12-1:30 p.m.

“School Closures and the Perils of Limiting Education Opportunities: The Philadelphia Story”

Friday, April 4, 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

“Graduate Student Council Food-for-Thought Session. Learning Through Sisterhood: Urban Arts and Education With the Philadelphia Sophisticated Sisters”

Friday, April 4, 12:25-1:55 p.m.

“A Tale of Three Cities: Parent Activism and School Reform in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia”

Saturday, April 5, 2:45-4:15 p.m.

“Reflections on the Portfolio Model as an Urban District Reform: The Philadelphia Case”

Sunday, April 6, 8:15 a.m.-10:15 a.m.

“Graduate Student Council Food-for-Thought Session. Truth Through Words: Raising the Voices of Urban Youth in Philadelphia”

Sunday, April 6, 12:25-1:55 p.m.

"Exploring the Power of Practitioner Research for Innovation in Practice and Theory: The Philadelphia Story”

Sunday, April 6, 12:25-1:55 p.m.

“Imagine a School: How Researchers Can Support Community-Based Groups’ Visions for Philadelphia Public Schools”

Sunday, April 6, 2:15-3:45 p.m.

“The Elusive Battle for Educational Equality in Pennsylvania: 40 Years of Changes and Challenges”

Monday, April 7, 10:35 a.m.-12:05 p.m.

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Comments (9)

Submitted by Ken Derstine on April 2, 2014 12:10 pm
There will be a Philadelphia Education Town Hall organized by some AERA delegates and the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools for AERA delegates and the Philadelphia community on Thursday at 5:30 - 8:30 at the Arch Street United Methodist Church, Broad and Arch Streets. See here for more details
Submitted by the Notebook on April 2, 2014 12:47 pm

Thanks, Ken. Added it to the list.

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on April 2, 2014 1:46 pm
Why are there no sessions discussing the "validity and reliability" of the standardized tests being imposed upon America's schoolchildren? Is not the credibility of "high stakes testing" data and their improper uses "front center" of the American debate on education and civil rights? This is supposed to be the American Education Research Association, is it not? Wouldn't ya think the credibility of educational research would be at least the topic of one session? Just askin...?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 2, 2014 1:08 pm
Rich, the sessions listed above are the ones with explicit connections to Philadelphia. It clearly says that. If you go to the AERA annual meeting website and search the session titles and descriptions for the word "validity" you get 279 matches.
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on April 3, 2014 7:10 am
Thank you for pointing me in the right direction. I did search "validity" on their website. Very few of the listings really had anything at all to do with the question of the validity of research measures. I saw none which dealt with the validity and reliability of the reading test scores being used in high stakes testing. The validity and reliability of test scores as measured by the standardized tests being used today is a major issue in research. Especially in light of the many "research efforts" of foundations, which, instead of doing legitimate research, promote propaganda research. Such as the National Council on Teacher Quality Reports, and of course, the book, "I Got Schooled" by Shyamalan. It is especially important to us at home since Paul Kihn has just touted the district's Renaissance Schools Initiative Progress Report as showing "phenomenal results" for Mastery. Which of course, will be used to justify the giving of schools to Mastery. When your underlying data is attained through faulty test measures and lacks very basic indicia of credibility, you can not use the data to make such generalizations. As we know all such claims of phenomenal results, have in the end, not proven to be validated by any independent measure. The bottom line is that Philadelphia and PA do not have any credible data to base any conclusions. As a highly trained and highly experienced reading diagnostician, I find the lack of intellectual honesty about the true meaning of test scores, quite concerning,
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 2, 2014 3:19 pm
Any lunchtime rallies planned to demand (ask for? beg for?) full-funding for public schools? Conference participants might love the chance to demonstrate for Philly students...
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on April 3, 2014 1:06 pm
There should an AMBER ALERT whenever SRC members, Hite, Gleason, Mutter and of course, Corbett are around. What they have done would be considered WAR CRIMES in the past, replete with court appearances for intentional destruction of innocent people, in this case, the kids in the real Public Schools. What kind of people deliberately harm children and gloat about it as Gleason did???
Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on April 2, 2014 3:31 pm

Several PCAPS members are on a AERA panel on Friday that is focused on education organizing and the role of research.  The event will be held at South Philadelphia High School (Broad Street between Snyder and Jackson Streets) On Friday, April 4th, 4-6PM in the school's library.  It is open to the general public.  

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on April 3, 2014 7:16 am
Thanks Ron! I would like to attend but can't make that one. I have been focused though, on our APPS promoted breakout session from the AERA conference: A Philadelphia Education Town Hall Thursday April 3, 5:30 to 8:30 PM Arch Street United Methodist Church Broad and Arch Streets Everyone is invited, hope to see you all there!

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