By Kevin Palmer
In 2019, Grace Snell Middle School was ground zero for the latest Georgia teacher cheating scandal. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “An unnamed teacher gave her 8th grade students a math formula sheet from the Georgia Milestones end-of-year exam ahead of the May test. This is a violation of Georgia Department of Education rules.” However, this was more than a rules violation. In a predominately Black school in Georgia, this was an act of desperation.
In Georgia with a middle school population of 37 percent Black and 38 percent White, it is expected for Black students to score poorly in Mathematics. According to the 2018 College and Career Ready Performance Index, in Mathematics, Black middle school students scored 48.79 percent compared to 82.89 percent for White students. In the Gwinnett County school district, of which Grace Snell Middle School is assigned, Black middle school students scored well below White students. In Mathematics, Blacks scored 69.24 percent compared to 99.00 percent for White students.
Grace Snell Middle School has a student population of 71 percent Black and 8 percent White. For teachers and administrators, this means in order to get acceptable results and a paycheck, the end justifies the means until caught. Therefore, prosecuting, terminating, or reprimanding educators will not correct the underlying cause of the cheating scandal which is systemic racism.