Perry Zirkel, professor of education and a renowned special education and legal scholar, has been honored with two awards by the American Educational Research Association (AERA).
Zirkel received the AERA’s Relating Research to Practice Award for Interpretive Scholarship, for his lecture entitled “Lore v. Law: Prevailing Beliefs v. Objective Knowledge.” The award recognizes “outstanding contributions that individuals have made toward increasing practitioner and lay-group understanding of contributions of education research to improving education practice.”
The lecture, which can be viewed at University of Arkansas website, is a wide-ranging commentary on the gulf between the laws that govern education and the prevailing beliefs of administrators and educators that often define the practice of teaching. The presentation touched on topics—such as No Child Left Behind and special education—that are at the very heart of education reform in the United States for academics, educators, policy makers and parents.
“In the 35 years that I’ve been working in this very specialized field, there is a distinct difference between the law vs. lore,” said Zirkel in his original presentation given at the University of Arkansas in 2011. “The law is constitution, statutes, regulations and court decisions. Lore is the beliefs that become prevailing practice in education that are not objectively the law, but still very important to human behavior.”
AERA’s largest division—Administration, Policy and Leadership—also presented Zirkel with its Research Excellence award for his 35-year record of publications and presentations translating the requirements and nuances of education law for administrators, policy makers and other education leaders. Zirkel has written more than 1,300 articles for publications and has made invited presentations in all 50 states.
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.
The awards were given at the association’s annual meeting in Vancouver.