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A 'Zany' Time Was Had by All: AERA Reconsidered

The cover story this week in the conservative-leaning Weekly Standard is a lengthy, and mostly withering, portrait of the American Educational Research Association's annual meeting last month in San Diego.

In the piece, which was posted online today, writer Charlotte Allen describes her "zany" experiences as she visits a reception hosted by the association's Marxist special-interest group, searches in vain for sessions not colored by progressive ideology, and tags along after William C. Ayers, the former Weather Underground member turned education researcher. You'll recall that Ayers was the focus of a controversy during last year's presidential campaign over the extent of his ties to President Barack Obama. For more on Ayers and the AERA, see my post from the AERA research fest here.

It's not a pretty picture that she paints. Allen writes:

Attending an AERA convention can give you the impression that the best thing that could happen to American education might be to shut down education schools.

In the end, though, Allen takes some comfort in visiting a session describing the complaints that Teach For America recruits had about a university-run, alternative-certification program they attended. Their criticisms prompted Arizona State University professors Cory Hansen and Heather Carter to revamp the program, giving Allen "hope that a highly focused ed school program could turn out first-rate instructors."

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