Schools that beat the odds.

by Harry on December 9, 2009

For various reasons I’ve been thinking a lot about schools that beat the odds lately (schools with high need student populations but which get high achievement out of them). My inclination has been to agree with people who think that if we could figure out which schools do beat the odds we might learn something useful from them (the best argument against this was recently put to me by an expert on whole school reform who said that finding out what naturally occurring schools that beat the odds do would not tell us anything about what policymakers could actually make schools do, which is the useful thing we are trying to learn). But are there, in fact, any schools that beat the odds, and if so do we know which ones they are?

It seems that the answer to the second question really is no.

Let’s start with a brief summary of Richard Rothstein’s rather devastating critique, in Class And Schools, of the “schools that beat the odds” gambit.

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