Karin ChenowethMay 9, 2023
Districts That Succeed
Breaking the Correlation Between Race, Poverty, and Achievement
Harvard Education Press 2021
In Districts That Succeed: Breaking the Correlation Between Race, Poverty, and Achievement (Harvard Education Press, 2021), long-time education writer Karin Chenoweth turns her attention from effective schools to effective districts. Leveraging new, cutting-edge national research on district performance as well as in-depth reporting, Chenoweth profiles five districts that have successfully broken the correlation between race, poverty, and achievement. Focusing on high performing or rapidly improving districts that serve children of color and children from low-income backgrounds, the book explores the common elements that have led to the districts' successes, including leadership, processes, and systems.
Districts That Succeed reveals that helping more students achieve is not a matter of adopting a program or practice. Rather, it requires developing a district-wide culture where all adults feel responsible for the academic well-being of students and adopt systems and processes that support that culture. Chenoweth explores how districts, from urban Chicago, Illinois to suburban Seaford, Delaware, have organized themselves to look at data to guide improvement. Her research highlights the essential role of districts in closing achievement gaps and illustrates how successful outliers can serve as resources for other districts. With important lessons for district leaders and policy makers alike, Chenoweth offers the hard-won wisdom of educators who understand the power of schools to, as one superintendent says, "change the path of poverty."
Host Laura Kelly is an assistant professor of Educational Studies at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, where she researches and teaches about language and literacy learning and teaching in culturally and linguistically diverse educational contexts.