Breakthroughs!

I now have a week left before I need to send my ISP to my advisor and head back to Santiago, so it seems like a good time for an update! Also because I discovered something in my interview today that kiiiind of changes what I’m working with.

My research, like any social science research, has been… evolving, shall we say, based on what I’ve been finding out. I haven’t changed my theme, or anything, but the focus of my project has shifted a bit. It turns out a) that the relationship between poverty and educational problems has a lot more to do with various social challenges that poverty brings than specifically with the lack of money (which I knew), and b) that there are a lot more projects and interventions to try and deal with those challenges and problems than I had realized before. The latter is particularly important for my project, because it’s been three weeks now and I haven’t been able to get in touch with anyone who’s part of an EOE (School Orientation Team, the program I wanted to write about initially).

Today I found out why I haven’t been able to get ahold of them: in School District 19, where I’m doing my research, the entire EOE consists of two people. TWO. PEOPLE. D.E. 19 has 23 primary schools and I-don’t-know-how-many preschools, all located in neighborhoods that have high levels of poverty, violence, and drug trafficking, and the city has assigned TWO individuals to try and deal with all the behavioral and social problems that come up in the district. Great job, city government. Way to support the kids in your constituency. (And the professionals who work for you, for that matter — being one of those two people has got to be the most stressful/least rewarding job ever.)

So I’m not expecting to hear from them at all — I’ll probably end up using what the other teachers and professionals have told me about their work (and the difficulty of getting in touch with them) as my evidence for my paper. I have talked to people who work in a bunch of other programs, though, and gotten a lot of good insights from them. I just think it’s kind of funny that the entity that got me interested in the topic in the first place is turning out to be impossible to interview precisely because of the problem I put into my hypothesis. Oh well!

Anyway, I have five interviews’ worth of material and some good theoretical and statistical information, so now it’s on to the writing portion of the exercise! I started working this week and last week, and have a couple of sections done, but there’s a loooooong way to go. Wish me luck!

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