By Ann Berlak
For the first time since I can remember some members of the American Educational Research Association (AERA)—the largest association of educators and educational researchers in the world—are taking a public stand at AERA’s annual meeting in San Francisco against the corporatization, standardization and privatization of education.
Sadly, the leadership of AERA has invited Arne Duncan, who represents and supports the technocratic, dehumanizing forces of privatization to speak on Tuesday, April 30, 3:45 p.m. at the Hilton Hotel. This and other actions by the AERA serve to support the dismantling of education as a public good, narrow the possibilities of what it means to research, know, learn and share our understandings, and marginalize and silence voices of dissent.
We are inviting teachers, administrators, students, parents and concerned community members to join those of us at AERA as we make visible our support for public education and democratic empowerment
Here’s how you can get involved:
Contact your friends and colleagues in the Bay area and join our protest. We especially are looking for Oakland and San Francisco parents and teachers to join us in the on-the-ground protest.
- Follow @reclaimAERA on Twitter and Facebook
- Post about the protest on your own Facebook and Twitter accounts, using the hashtag #reclaimAERA or #edjustice.
- Sign the petition at http://dumpduncan.org.
- Visit Reclaim AERA online and e-mail reclaimAERA@gmail.com for more information or to share ideas for solidarity.
Read the statement from AERA members:
As members of the American Educational Research Association we are committed to:
- free and equal public education for all as a cornerstone of democracy.
- research, scholarship and policy making that grows from and with communities that are impacted by these.
- knowledge production as varied, multiple and contextual.
- research, scholarship and policy free from the interests of corporations and venture philanthropists.
- public education-at every level-as a space for social imagination and the practice of freedom.
AERA has failed to take a public stance in support of these commitments and has not provided space for meaningful dialogue about how we can enact these commitments. Instead, AERA supports:
- narrowing of ‘acceptable’ research to demands of quantification and standardization.
- affiliation with corporate sponsors like Pearson, Inc.
- denial of the impact of corporate influences when it accepts for publication articles authored by writers from corporate sponsored think tanks.
- complacency in the face of the ongoing assault on education and incursions of corporations into research and practice led by such actors as: the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Broad Foundation, and Rupert Murdoch’s Wireless Generation
Case in point: invited “education researcher’ Secretary Duncan whose policies have led to:
- school closings; increased testing; narrowing of curriculum; undermining of collective bargaining; increasing of for profit charter schools; increased corporate influence in education.
- students, teachers, parents, and scholars threatened, silenced, and abandoned.
We invite our colleagues, students, and parents to refuse the corporatization of education, build alliances to resist its policies, and join the conversation as we imagine education as the practice of freedom.
Ann Berlak is a regular contributor to Rethinking Schools and most recently wrote “Coming Soon to Your Favorite Credential Program: National Exit Exams” on the early California version of edTPA in our summer 2010 issue.