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AERA & AAPSS Briefing Focuses on Inequality and Public Education

The American Academy of Political and Social Science (AAPSS) and the American Educational Research Association (AERA), both COSSA members organizations, hosted a Congressional briefing on March 22 entitled, In the Age of Inequality, Does Public Schooling Make a Difference? The event discussed the effects of public schooling since the “Coleman Report” of 1966, a groundbreaking and controversial study that found schools have little influence on inequality in America, and instead students’ growth is determined by their socioeconomic status and race. AAPSS and AERA welcomed four panelists who discussed their research on public schooling’s influence on the opportunities of underserved youth. AERA Executive Director Felice Levine introduced the event’s four panelists, many of whom were featured in the November 2017 volume of AAPSS’s scholarly periodical The ANNALS, a special issue focused on “The State of Unequal Educational Opportunity.”

The first panelist was Heather Hill, a researcher at the University of Michigan, who stated that providing data on school-readiness in communities helps provide a metric to measure whether public schools influence student growth. The second panelist, Stanford University researcher Sean Reardon, concluded that schools can influence student growth, but measuring that influence is complex. He presented a study that showed that while a national average of third graders in low-income communities have significantly lower test scores than wealthier students, some states such as Tennessee have successfully implemented strategies that have equalized opportunities across the board. This is evidence that students’ grades can be influenced by regional public school systems because other states, such as Florida, show a decrease in student grades from third to eighth grade.

Brown University researcher Susan Moffitt presented on the importance of early education programs and economic assistance for families. Schools have a more positive effect on students when partnering with programs such as Head Start, nurse-family partnerships, and income support such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The final panelist, Prudence L. Carter of the University of California, Berkeley, focused on discrimination at the individual school level as well as the national level. She stated there are unequal outcomes for African American students even in “so-called good schools.”  African American students have limited access to honors programs and are more likely to be suspended or expelled compared to their peers. Carter stated that it is important for us to recognize that this is a result of systemic racism, and societal and policy inequalities need to be radically improved to prevent further inequalities in schools.

This article was contributed by COSSA’s spring intern, Dakota Leonard of Arizona State University.

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Posted in Issue 7 (April 3), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Annual AERA Brown Lecture to Feature Alfredo J. Artiles

The American Educational Research Association (AERA), a COSSA governing member, will hold its 14th annual Brown Lecture in Education Research on October 19 in Washington, DC. The 2017 lecture will be delivered by Alfredo J. Artiles, Dean of Graduate Education and the Ryan C. Harris Professor of Special Education at Arizona State University. Artiles’ work focuses on the intersection of disability with other socio-cultural differences and how to better understand and address related educational disparities. More information on Artiles and the lecture, including how to register to attend in person or watch via webcast, is available on the AERA website.

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Posted in Issue 18 (September 19), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

Department of Education Issues Request for International Research and Studies Program Applications

The Department of Education issued a request for fiscal year (FY) 2017 applications for the Title VI International Research and Studies Program. The program supports surveys, studies, and development of instructional materials to improve and strengthen instruction in modern foreign languages, area studies, and other international fields. Priorities for funding in FY 2017 include research, surveys, or studies about U.S. school-based dual language immersion programs or about outcomes of international education programs for U.S. postsecondary students. This request for applications marks the first time the International Research and Studies Program has been funded since FY 2011. Applications are due by August 14, 2016. The full Federal Register announcement can be found here.

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Posted in Issue 14 (July 11), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

Academies Report Examines Impact of Social Competencies on College Success

On April 13, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education released a report, Supporting Students’ College Success: The Role of Assessment of Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Competencies. Supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the report “examines how to assess interpersonal and intrapersonal competencies (e.g., teamwork, communication skills, academic mindset, and grit) of undergraduate students for different purposes.” It also establishes “priorities for the development and use of assessments related to the identified intrapersonal and interpersonal competencies that influence higher education success, especially in STEM.” Central themes of the report include diversity and inclusion. Special attention was given to research on “student groups that have historically experienced lowered college persistence and success than other groups” including black, Hispanic, and American Indian racial/ethnic minority groups, students from low-income families, first-generation college students, and women in particular STEM disciplines. The committee concluded that additional research is needed and made 13 recommendations, including that federal agencies and foundations support “rigorous research, in partnership with higher education institutions, to understand better the three most-promising competencies and their relationship to college success.” Copies of the report are available on the Academies’ website.

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Posted in Issue 8 (April 18), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

AERA Releases “Ed-Talks”

The American Educational Research Association (AERA), a COSSA governing member, has released over thirty “Ed-Talk” videos, which feature discussions of cutting-edge research on education and learning. Additionally, AERA released research fact sheets to provide more details on the findings and research presented in the “Ed-Talks”. These presentations were given at a forum held in Washington, DC as well as the AERA annual meeting in April of 2016. More details can be found here.

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Posted in Issue 18 (September 20), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

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