How Suburban Schools Are Struggling with Low-Income Students and Students of Color in Their Schools
← 124 | 125 →Epilogue
Getting into public schools to do research is challenging. I was denied entry to Barrow County schools initially because their research office thought it would be too much for the schools. The schools already had so many observers coming into the school from inside and outside the district that they did not believe that the schools could accommodate any more. They also thought that my presence might be a disruption in the schools and distract teachers from teaching and students from learning. I understood what they said. Schools are indeed inundated by observers regularly, especially under strict accountability systems. Under new teacher evaluation systems, teachers need to be observed a certain amount of times every year, for instance.
Still, I pushed back, arguing that I would only go to schools that wanted me there and would provide non-evaluative feedback to them in return. Eventually the district agreed, and I was able to begin observations in middle schools across the district. I began at Springside Academy. Springside is a school that serves about 78% African American students and 72% of its students are eligible for free and reduced-price lunch. It is located near Oakwood Middle School. Its eighth graders ← 125 | 126 →do relatively well on standardized tests with about 75% achieving proficient or advanced in reading, but only 45% do as well on the math exam.
The principal of Springside, Kim Beale, an African American school dropout who was wooed back by her pediatrician who told her...
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