“Science of Reading” Reforms and Teacher Education Policies: Interactions Among Advocacy Coalitions and Policymakers
Elena Aydarova

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



Auburn University

Primary Discipline

Educational Policy
Many states have adopted “science of reading” (SOR) bills. In most cases, these bills emphasize phonics instruction as the main strategy for improving reading achievement among minoritized students. In some contexts, bills introducing SOR approaches are passed with ease, whereas in others they face opposition from teachers, parents, and educational researchers. Even though these reforms are based on contested approaches, non-profit and for-profit organizations, think-tanks, and research institutes have advocated for their introduction into teacher preparation coursework and licensing requirements. Utilizing an Advocacy Coalition Framework (Sabatier & Jenkins-Smith, 1999) and Goffman’s (1983) theory of interaction, this project will explore how different advocacy coalitions interact with SOR reforms in teacher education and how these interactions lead to divergent policy outcomes in different states. As a comparative case study (Bartlett & Vavrus, 2017), this project examines how various coalitions navigate politically charged debates over meeting the literacy needs of racially diverse students. This analysis will shed light on conflicting visions of educational justice and their implications for the future of university-based teacher education.
About Elena Aydarova
Elena Aydarova is an Assistant Professor of Social Foundations at Auburn University. Her research focuses on transformations in teacher education policies, teacher preparation for culturally, linguistically, and racially diverse students, as well as educators’ advocacy for just and equitable education. Dr. Aydarova’s book Teacher Education Reform as Political Theater: Russian Policy Dramas (2019, with SUNY Press) attends to the theatricality of teacher education reforms and calls on educators to engage in policy dialogues. The book has been recognized with a Critics’ Choice Award from the American Educational Studies Association, an Outstanding Book Award from the Council on Anthropology and Education, and an Outstanding Book Award from the Society of Professors of Education. Her work has appeared in Educational Policy, Anthropology and Education Quarterly, Teaching and Teacher Education, and other journals. She is a recipient of an American Fellowship from the American Association of University Women, the Concha Delgado Gaitan Presidential Fellowship from the Council on Anthropology and Education, as well as a Global Teacher Education Fellowship from the Longview Foundation. Her research has also won awards from Division K of the American Educational Research Association, the Comparative and International Education Society, and TESOL International.

Pin It on Pinterest