For seven years, the International School Choice and Reform Conference has developed a community of scholars who studied various forms of school choice and systemic reform. This includes scholarship on how school choice is enacted, the mechanisms that structure school choice programs, and both the individual and systemic outcomes of school choice and reform. The goal is connect scholars who engage in rigorous research about school choice in ways that illuminate current policy debates. The ISCRC is many things:
- The ISCRC is small enough that most participants are able to form lasting collaborations and, in many cases, lasting friendships. Unlike, for instance, the American Educational Research Association (AERA) annual meeting with 15,000 attendees, the ISCRC annually attracts approximately 150 scholars and practitioners. The ambiance is intimate.
- To the greatest extent possible, ISCRC is a forum that includes multiple perspectives on every policy argument. Some of the research is more supportive of various forms of school choice while other research has a more critical stance. Still others favor one form of choice while opposing other forms of choice. They are connected by the goal of using quality research to shed light on how school choice policies actually work.
- The “I” in ISCRC is quite literal. Over the years, participation has come from many countries in Europe and in Asia and a number of our European colleagues are currently on the ISCRC Planning Committee. The issue of international comparisons is constantly emphasized. We hosted our 2019 Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, and we continue to focus on outreach to European researchers.
- The ISCRC is fun. Its home has been Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and it is historically held on Martin Luther King weekend in mid-January. The 2020 ISCRC will be back in Florida. You can check out the Program Committee here.
- The Conference is academically very sound, with a rigorous peer-review process led this year by Dr. Ben Scafidi of Kennesaw State University.
- Registrants attending from overseas are eligible for travel grants (historically $1,000-$1,200). Conference fees are kept as low as possible through the generosity of Corporate Sponsors and include bounteous breakfasts and elaborate evening receptions.