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PSU at AERA 2014

This past weekend, the American Educational Research Association came to Philadelphia with nearly 13,000 educational researchers. The theme of this year’s 5-day long meeting was “The Power of Education Research for Innovation in Practice and Policy.” The Philadelphia Student Union students and staff were featured on four panels, here are some of the highlights!

The first panel PSU was on featured our executive director, Hiram Rivera, along side Lori Shorr of Mayor’s Office of Education, Mark Gleason, the executive director of Philadelphia School Partnership, Superintendent Hite of the School District of Philadelphia, Kate Shaw, the executive director of Research for Action, finally and Paul Socolar, the editor and director of the Philadelphia Public School Notebook.

The main topics up for discussion were School Funding, School Governance, and the Portfolio School Model. Hiram’s opening statement was prefaced by the note that PSU rarely puts staff in speaking positions. As a youth-led organization, we encourage the young people to always speak on their own behalf. However, given the circumstances, Hiram had strong words for the audience in which he called for a true leadership for the students of Philadelphia, the heartbreaking conditions of buildings that can hardly be called schools, and the death of Laporshia Massey.

Here are some of our favorite tweets from the audience during this panel:

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Our next panel was at South Philadelphia High School. Our youth organizer, Ebony Baylis, and PSU member, Kathy, were on a panel together with Ron Whitehorne of PCAPS, Andi Perez of Youth United for Change.

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Ebony felt that being on the AERA Panel was a very interesting experience. The point of it was for researchers to learn and ask about how they can support organizing around education and what role research plays. They also asked what roles have research played in the past.

“It was interesting and exciting to be in the position to inform others in what they were trying to understand,” said Ebony.

PSU leader, Sharron Snyder, was also on a panel hosted by the Southern Education Foundation. She spoke to her experience as a student in a public school which received over 300 new students after the 24 school closures last year. As a senior, she spoke to her need for a counselor and the lack of resources in her school. She also talked about her experience in the Philadelphia Student Union and her development as a leader.

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Here are some of our favorite tweets from Sharron’s panel:

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The last panel featuring PSU was hosted at the Friends Center by Critical Educators for Social Justice. PSU leader, Kelli Ross, spoke on the panel. She spoke primarily about what it is like to be a student during this wave of desvastating budget cuts. Kelli’s school, Benjamin Franklin High School, recieved about 300 students after the school closings this year. Kelli spoke to the chaos that occured this year because of the 24 school closures last year.

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The panel began with a screening of the Media Mobilizing Project‘s short film “Our Schools Are Not For Sale”, which you can watch here.

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Other panelists included Kia Hinton of Action United and Brendon Jobs of TAG-Philly. Kia spoke to the role of parents in organizing for high quality public education in Philadelphia.

Did you attend the AERA convening? Did you happen to spot a PSU member on a panel? Let us know what you thought!

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