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Ain Grooms

Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Chapter Member: Wisconsin SSN
Areas of Expertise:

About Ain

Grooms' research focuses on whether, and how, educational leaders and related stakeholders in schools, districts, and states design and sustain equity-focused systems. Overarching themes in Grooms' writings include racism and oppression in the creation and implementation of educational policies; the diversification of the educator workforce and related retention efforts; advancing equity-focused school and district leadership preparation; and the impact of city/neighborhood contexts on educational equity and access. Grooms previously served as a member of the Iowa City (IA) Community School District's Equity Advisory Council.

In the News

Opinion: "This Retreat Led to an Award-Winning Research Proposal," Ain Grooms (with Stefanie L. Marshall), The Keyword, October 3, 2022.
Quoted by Grace King in "Are K-12 Schools’ New Equity Plans Working?," The Gazette, March 2, 2022.
Quoted by Grant Gerlock in "Education Task Force Shares Ideas for Making Iowa’s Teachers As Diverse as Students," Iowa Public Radio, December 28, 2021.
Quoted by Grant Gerlock in "Voucher-Style Proposal Raises School Choice Debate In Iowa," Iowa Public Radio, February 16, 2021.


"Industry’s Push for Computer Science Education: Is Computer Science Really for All?" (with Stefanie L Marshall). Policy Futures in Education (2022).

Explores how computer science education (CSEd) became part of the US federal education agenda, focusing on the transition from being overlooked in educational policies to becoming a priority, notably through initiatives like Computer Science for All. Examines how business and industry have, and continue to, “push” computer science education in public schools across the country.

"“We Need to Do Better by Kids”: Changing Routines in U.S. Schools in Response to COVID-19 School Closures" (with Joshua Childs). Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk (JESPAR) 26, no. 2 (2021): 135–156.

Examines how K-12 principals made decisions to best support their students and school communities during the transition to remote/virtual learning in the immediate aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic school closures. Findings indicate that principals understood the broad, societal effects of the pandemic on their students, beyond the impact of school closures. Discusses implications for understanding the pandemic's impact on school leadership and organizational culture.

"The Retention of Educators of Color Amidst Institutionalized Racism" (with Duhita Mahatmya and Eboneé T. Johnson). Educational Policy 35, no. 2 (2021): 180-212.

Examines how educators of color in the state of Iowa perceive and experience racialized school climates and how these racialized school climates support or hinder their job satisfaction and sense of belonging. Findings show that educators of color who feel affirmed in workplaces that are also committed to equity and justice may be inclined to stay, rather than leaving the profession.

"Improving School Attendance through Collaboration: A Catalyst for Community Involvement and Change" (with Joshua Childs). Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk (JESPAR) 23 (2018): 1-17.

Investigates strategies implemented by a community to address chronic absenteeism in schools. Findings suggest that districts and schools should consider partnering with external organizations to enhance attendance initiatives. Provides recommendations for policy and practice, as well as a research framework for studying interventions aimed at combating chronic absenteeism.