Skip to main content

Professor awarded top AERA research honor

Alfredo Artiles
April 13, 2012

Alfredo Artiles, a professor of culture, society and education in the School of Social Transformation, is one of 15 individuals to be honored for their scholarly achievements by the American Education Research Association (AERA) at the association’s annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, April 13-17. Artiles will receive the Palmer O. Johnson Award.

This award has been given by AERA since 1967 in recognition of the lifelong achievement of Palmer O. Johnson, a dedicated educator and pioneer in educational research and methodology. It represents the highest quality of academic scholarship published in one of four peer-reviewed AERA journals during the prior year: American Educational Research Journal, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Educational Researcher, or Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics.  

Artiles’ is being recognized for his article, “Toward an Interdisciplinary Understanding of Educational Equity and Difference: The Case of the Racialization of Ability,” published in Educational Researcher in December 2011.

The paper was based on the Wallace Distinguished Lecture that Artiles delivered at last spring’s AERA annual meeting.   

In the paper Artiles calls for interdisciplinary study of racial disparities in special education to contribute to a new generation of scholarship on educational (in)equity and the transformation of schools’ responses to difference.

“Race, class, and ability differences have been historically intertwined, creating tensions and paradoxes in educational responses to race and ability differences,” writes Artiles. “For instance, people with disabilities benefitted from the momentum built by the civil rights victories of racial minority communities as federal policies gave them rights and entitlements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. At the same time, concerns have been raised for some 40 years about the disproportionate identification of disabilities among some racial groups. The civil rights response for one group of individuals (i.e., special education) has become a potential source of inequities for another group (i.e., racial minority students) despite their shared historical roots and agenda for equity.” 

Artiles says 77 percent of students in special education in the United States fall into the subjective category of “struggling learners” – intellectual disability, learning disability, emotional disability – where the underlying assumptions about what constitutes “difference” often are invisible and fluid across cultures and contexts. Yet, these labels have distinct consequences for students’ lives and identities and schools’ responses.

The American Educational Research Association (AERA) is the national interdisciplinary research association for approximately 25,000 scholars who undertake research in education. Founded in 1916, AERA aims to advance knowledge about education, to encourage scholarly inquiry related to education, and to promote the use of research to improve education and serve the public good.

On the faculty at ASU since 2004, Artiles is recognized as a thought leader in the fields of special education and educational equity. He co-directs the Equity Alliance at ASU with professor Elizabeth Kozleski and in May 2011 was appointed to the President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.