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AERA Turnout Down, But Could Be Worse

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As predicted, the recession seems to have resulted in thinner crowds this week at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association. But it's not as lonely here as you might think.

By midweek, 13,450 conference-goers had registered for the the April 13-17 event — down from 16,000 for last year's meeting in New York City. But the truth is that organizers were already expecting a drop-off because of the meeting's location in San Diego. While San Diego is a lovely city, it doesn't have the heavy concentration of colleges, universities, and think tanks clustered around gateway cities like New York and Chicago.

Still, the midweek participation numbers suggest that the fall-off in attendance is beyond what the organizers had expected due to the West Coast venue. Nevertheless, those numbers still represent more than half of the Washington-based group's 25,000 members.

Felice J. Levine, the association's executive director, said the real test may come at next year's meeting in Denver. "We think that there are enough signs that 2009-10 will be a very difficult year on campuses and at other research-related sites that we can anticipate consequences for AERA," she said.

The association will know for sure as early as July. That's when researchers have to submit their proposals for scholarly presentations at the 2010 meeting.

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Official count announced at this morning's (Fri.) meeting of AERA Council:
13,524 registrants this year, including
2,106 international regs from 74 countries.

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