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By Jon Becker
Educational Insanity - http://edinsanity.com/
Retrieved on July 28, 2012
The deadline for submissions to the 2013 annual meeting is a few days away, but I won’t be submitting anything. I don’t expect to attend the 2013 meeting, and I let my AERA membership lapse a year or two ago. These declarations are unlikely to be of any significance to AERA given that there are still 25,000+ members of AERA and the conference will be well-attended, as usual.
Still, I feel compelled to explain my decisions, mostly because I really wish things were different. You see, I have a great deal of respect for educational research and scholarship; I have been actively engaged in educational research for about 15 years and I am regularly impressed by scholarly work of AERA members. Some of my best friends are AERA members…
In all seriousness…
The American Educational Research Association (AERA), a national research society, strives 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.
That’s a fine statement of purpose, and though there is nothing explicit about knowledge dissemination, I believe it is necessarily implied by terminology such as “advance knowledge” and “promote the use of research.” Furthermore, one of AERA’s key programs is the Communications & Outreach unit which is ”…aimed at delivering appropriate and relevant information to key AERA audiences in order to build awareness, appreciation and support for education research.” In other words, AERA is very much in the knowledge dissemination business.
In a lecture before the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Harvard law professor Larry Lessig argued that the current infrastructure for scholarly communication is not consistent with the objectives of The Enlightenment. Rather, the system is more consistent with the reality of the “elite-nment.” That is, for the most part, knowledge created by academics is placed mostly in outlets that can be accessed only by “the knowledge elite.”
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