When author Karin Chenoweth began to investigate what goes in to making a school successful, she looked at a rather unexpected place: schools in low-income communties that, despite their lack of resources and supports, were showing impressive levels of student achievement. How these schools are succeeding is important to note, says Chenoweth, and writing them off as outliers, as many in education have done, seems to her a peculiar way of thinking.
"We're really good at identifying causes of failure. We really haven't been good at identifing causes of success," Chenoweth says. "Other fields study outliers to learn the lessons that they hold, and I think education should as well."
In her new Harvard Education Press title, Schools that Succeed, Chenoweth takes a look at those "outliers," telling the stories of several high-performing schools in low-income areas. What she finds is that all of these schools have a common trait: student-focused leaders willing try new strategies to help their children achieve.
In this edition of the Harvard EdCast, Chenoweth, writer-in-residence at The Education Trust, discusses her book and the ways in which educators can break down the link between academic achievement and socioeconomic status.
The Harvard EdCast is a weekly series of podcasts, available on the Harvard University iTunes U page, that features a 15-20 minute conversation with thought leaders in the field of education from across the country and around the world. Hosted by Matt Weber and co-produced by Jill Anderson, the Harvard EdCast is a space for educational discourse and openness, focusing on the myriad issues and current events related to the field.