AEFP 42nd Annual Conference

Education Policy and Research in the Post-Obama Era

Marriott Wardman Park - Washington, D.C
March 16-18, 2017

AEFP 42nd Annual Conference

President’s Message

Dear AEFP Colleagues:

I am excited that the 42nd annual Association for Education Finance and Policy (AEFP) conference is right around the corner (March 16-18, 2017 at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, DC). I think most would agree that the conference theme, Education Policy and Research in the Post-Obama Era, is apropos given the recent passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and uncertainty about the direction of a new administration.

Indeed, research evidence is especially important under ESSA, because while it provides states with greater discretion over important education issues including school accountability and teacher evaluation, ESSA also includes provisions strongly encouraging schools to adopt “evidence-based” programs and interventions.

AEFP is at the forefront of the evidence movement in education, and AEFP scholars are in prime positions to help provide evidence policymakers need at the local, state and federal levels to improve student achieve-ment. AEFP has long strived to bring policymakers and researchers together around the discussion of policy-relevant research. This is the uniqueness and strength of the organization and the conference.

Indeed, this year's conference includes newly structured sessions and events specifically designed to facilitate collaborations and connections between researchers and policymakers/ practitioners.

AEFP continues to provide a venue for scholars to preview new work and to nurture junior scholar development, but also seeks to make this work matter more today and tomorrow by more purposefully connecting to policymakers and practitioners.  These objectives could not be more important for making sure that evidence does matter for policymaking, now and in the future.

Our long-time and new members find value in AEFP, with our increase in proposals extending into its seventh year. As you know, there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes in making the conference what it is, so I want to greatly thank Sue Dynarski, President-elect, and her program committee — Daphna Bassok, Colin Chellman, Carrie Conaway, Kalena Cortes, Tom Dee, Tina Collins, Jason Grissom, Cassandra Guarino, Scott Imberman, Venessa Keesler, Michal Kurlaender, Randall Reback, Katharine O. Strunk and AEFP’s excellent Executive Director, Angie Hull for all the work that has gone into preparing for our upcoming get together in Washington. As always, we seek your input on the changes to the conference and, more generally, how things are going. Please feel free to reach out to me or Angie Hull to let us know your thoughts and make sure to respond to the post-conference survey.

I hope to see you all of at the Welcome Reception on Thursday, March 16th!

- Dan Goldhaber, President


This Year's Conference Changes: Making More Room for Conversation

The AEFP conference brings together a unique mix of academics, practitioners and policy-makers. We hear constantly that conversations are the best part of the conference. We aspire to give you plenty of time for provocative, productive discussions. To that end, we are testing several innovations this year. Please, tell us what works and doesn’t.

To make more room for a broader discussion in paper sessions, there are no formal discussants. Instead, the session chair will ask a few questions of the panel in order to start a conversation that the audience can immediately join. The chair role is a tougher one this year: chairs are expected to read all the papers in advance so they can get the discussion flowing. To keep the conversation informal, chairs are not expected (in fact, are expected not!) to have slides to accompany their initial questions.

Our traditional paper sessions are focused on research. This year, we will also have over twenty Policy Talks, in which panels of practitioners, policy-makers and academics discuss a particular policy. There is at least one Policy Talk in each time slot. Some highlights:

  • Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Education Journalism But Were Afraid to Ask
  • The Free College Movement: Looking Back and Looking Ahead
  • Learning from the Federal Market Based Reforms: Lessons for ESSA
  • Making Policy Research Policy-Relevant, Even in a “Post-Truth” Era

By popular demand, there is a lunch break each day, thereby allowing time to talk with old and new friends. And join us at breakfast on Friday and Saturday for Posters and Pastries. Coffee and a light breakfast will prod you awake and terrific research will stimulate your mind. Friday’s poster session is focused mostly on elementary and secondary education, while Saturday’s is largely focused on postsecondary.

-Sue Dynarski, Program Chair and President-Elect


General Session – Keynote Address: Raj Chetty


Raj Chetty

Economist Raj Chetty will headline the first general session on Friday afternoon March 17 at 4:45 p.m. He will discuss his recent co-authored paper titled: Mobility Report Cards: The Role of Colleges in Intergenerational Mobility that analyzes how much colleges affect economic mobility.  The full paper is available here and a non-technical summary is available here. The New York Times recently featured this work along with an interactive data tool that allows the comparison of specific colleges.

Chetty and his colleagues use data covering 30 million college students between 1999-2013 to produce publicly available statistics on parents' incomes and students' earnings at every college in America. Chetty will discuss how researchers, practitioners, and policymakers can learn from this powerful new data source.

Raj Chetty is a Professor of Economics at Stanford University. Chetty's research combines empirical evidence and economic theory to help design more effective government policies. His work on tax policy, unemployment insurance, and education has been widely cited in media outlets and Congressional testimony. His current research focuses on equality of opportunity: how can we give children from disadvantaged backgrounds better chances of succeeding. Chetty is a recipient of a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship and the John Bates Clark medal, given by the American Economic Association to the best American economist under age 40.