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"And the Winner is...": AERA Awards

The American Educational Research Association ended three days ago in Denver but I'm still wrapping up loose ends. The five-day meeting eventually drew 13,000 researchers—more than were pre-registered but less than in previous years. The weather improved and, on the third day of the meeting, as usual, awards were handed out.

The 25,000-member group's highest honor, the award for distinguished contributions to research went to P. David Pearson, who is stepping down later this year from his post as dean of the graduate school of education at the University California at Berkeley.

The book of the year, in the award committee's view was, Spin Cycle: How Research is Used in Policy Debates: The Case for Charter Schools by Jeffrey Henig of Teachers College at Columbia University. (This one's a good read, too.)

It's encouraging that the association gave awards to two researchers this year for "relating research to practice." That's because the association in the past has not always been able to fill this category, which is a key one, in my mind. The awards this year went to John Smyth of the University of Ballarat in Australia for his work focusing on young dropouts and students in disadvantaged schools in southern Australia and Edwin W. Gordon of Teachers College for his seven decades of work with minority children in urban schools in the United States. (Find out more about Gordon's work in this story I wrote in 2005.)

Some other awards and their recipients were:
Best research review: François Victor Tochon of University of Wisconsin-Madison for his 2008 article arguing for teaching world languages in schools.
Outstanding research on testing: Michael T. Kane of ETS in Princeton, N.J.
Best up-and-comer: Guofang Li of Michigan State University for her work on minority students.
Best research article: Arnetha F. Ball, of Stanford University, for her 2009 article, "Towards a Theory of Generative Change in Linguistically Complex Classrooms."
Public service: Beverly L. Hall, the superintendent of Atlanta public schools.
Presidential citations: Luis C. Moll of the University of Arizona; Geoffrey B. Saxe of the UC-Berkeley; and William F. Tate of Washington University in St. Louis.

There a whole batch of awards for promoting social justice, too.
So the meeting ended. The presidential gavel passed from Carol D. Lee of Northwestern University to Kris D. Gutiérrez of the University of Colorado at Boulder. Something worth noting here: With Arnetha Ball scheduled to take the organization's helm in 2011, that makes three consecutive scholars of color heading up this group.

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