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Leading for Equity: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Montgomery County Public Schools

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ISBN-13: 978-1934742228
ISBN-10: 1934742228
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“How do we move from islands of excellence—which exist today in virtually every school district—to systems of excellence which unfortunately today are much harder to find? Many of the answers lie in the Montgomery County story. We can hope to serve every child only by committing to whole-district transformation—and Montgomery County is one of the examples that shows us the way.” — Arne Duncan, former CEO, Chicago Public Schools


“Every person working to improve America’s schools should consider the real-world lessons in this book.” — Randi Weingarten, president, American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO


“An exceedingly tight, targeted, and well-told story . . . MCPS got it right. Will we?” — Arlene C. Ackerman, superintendent of schools, School District of Philadelphia


“As this book shows, closing the achievement gap is doable; the question is whether we have the will to get it done.” — Joel I. Klein, chancellor, New York City Schools


Leading for Equity is a game-changer. Every school board member, county official, superintendent, union, and business leader should take note.” — Anne L. Bryant, executive director, National School Boards Association

“This behind-the-scenes look at the leadership, vision, and determination of superintendent Jerry Weast and his colleagues presents a practical blueprint for superintendents and everyone else concerned about education reform.” — Charles Kolb, president, Committee for Economic Development


“Some educators believe that there is no remedy for the achievement gaps between advantaged and disadvantaged school children. Dr. Jerry Weast, the hard-charging superintendent of Montgomery County Schools is not one of them . . . This book carries a message that all serious educators and all who care about America’s future should take to heart.” — Roger Wilkins, Clarence J. Robinson Professor Emeritus, George Mason University

“The district’s success in improving the achievement levels of minority and low-income students and dismantling barriers to high performance have made it a model for other districts nationwide.” — Daniel A. Domenech, executive director, American Association of School Administrators


Leading for Equity is a must-read for anyone who still doubts that a school district can enable students of all backgrounds to perform at high levels.” — Dan Katzir, managing director, The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation

Leading for Equity shows what it is going to take to begin to close the achievement gap: courageous, collaborative, wise, and creative leadership. Useful to scholars and practitioners alike, this book is a valuable addition to the literature of change.” — James P. Comer, Maurice Falk Professor of Child Psychiatry, Yale University Child Study Center


Leading for Equity is not just a story of bold, visionary leadership, it’s a road map for helping all schools succeed.” — Jim Hunt, former governor of North Carolina (1977–1985, 1993–2001)

“The writers demonstrate what happens when a school district aims high and lines up everything to reach the ‘North Star’ of high academic achievement for all students. Superintendent Jerry Weast and the Montgomery County education community lead the way for school districts everywhere.” — Richard W. Riley, former U. S. secretary of education

From the Back Cover

Leading for Equity tells the compelling story of the Montgomery County (Maryland) Public Schools and its transformation—in less than a decade—into a system committed to breaking the links between race and class and academic achievement. In chapters organized around six core themes, the authors lay out the essential elements of MCPS’s success. They identify key lessons other districts can draw from MCPS’s experience and offer a framework for applying them. A dramatic departure from “business as usual,” MCPS has won nationwide attention as a compelling model for tackling the achievement and opportunity issues that confront our nation as a whole.

“How do we move from islands of excellence—which exist today in virtually every school district—to systems of excellence which unfortunately today are much harder to find? Many of the answers lie in the Montgomery County story. We can hope to serve every child only by committing to whole-district transformation—and Montgomery County is one of the examples that shows us the way.” — Arne Duncan, former CEO, Chicago Public Schools

“Every person working to improve America’s schools should consider the real-world lessons in this book.” — Randi Weingarten, president, American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO

“An exceedingly tight, targeted, and well-told story . . . MCPS got it right. Will we?” — Arlene C. Ackerman, superintendent of schools, School District of Philadelphia

“As this book shows, closing the achievement gap is doable; the question is whether we have the will to get it done.” — Joel I. Klein, chancellor, New York City Schools

Leading for Equity is a game-changer. Every school board member, county official, superintendent, union, and business leader should take note.” — Anne L. Bryant, executive director, National School Boards Association

“Some educators believe that there is no remedy for the achievement gaps between advantaged and disadvantaged school children. Dr. Jerry Weast, the hard-charging superintendent of Montgomery County Schools is not one of them . . . This book carries a message that all serious educators and all who care about America’s future should take to heart.” — Roger Wilkins, Clarence J. Robinson Professor Emeritus, George Mason University

Leading for Equity is a must-read for anyone who still doubts that a school district can enable students of all backgrounds to perform at high levels.” — Dan Katzir, managing director, The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation

Leading for Equity is not just a story of bold, visionary leadership, it’s a road map for helping all schools succeed.” — Jim Hunt, former governor of North Carolina (1977–1985, 1993–2001)

“This behind-the-scenes look at the leadership, vision, and determination of superintendent Jerry Weast and his colleagues presents a practical blueprint for superintendents and everyone else concerned about education reform.” — Charles Kolb, president, Committee for Economic Development

“The district’s success in improving the achievement levels of minority and low-income students and dismantling barriers to high performance have made it a model for other districts nationwide.” — Daniel A. Domenech, executive director, American Association of School Administrators

“Leading for Equity shows what it is going to take to begin to close the achievement gap: courageous, collaborative, wise, and creative leadership. Useful to scholars and practitioners alike, this book is a valuable addition to the literature of change.” — James P. Comer, Maurice Falk Professor of Child Psychiatry, Yale University Child Study Center

“The writers demonstrate what happens when a school district aims high and lines up everything to reach the ‘North Star’ of high academic achievement for all students. Superintendent Jerry Weast and the Montgomery County education community lead the way for school districts everywhere.” — Richard W. Riley, former U. S. secretary of education

Stacey M. Childress, Denis P. Doyle, and David A. Thomas, with a foreword by David Gergen
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Education Press (July 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934742228
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934742228
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By viable on August 4, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Stacey Childress, Denis Doyle, and David Thomas have written a case study of how the Montgomery County, Maryland Public School System [MCS]has succeeded in making access to college or satisfying work a reality for all students over a ten-year period. The authors undertook a project of daunting complexity. The case study deliberately avoids a focus on a 'heroic leader' in the person of the district superintendent. What emerges, however, is the knowledge, attitude and training the superintendent brought to the challenge of the MCS, a challenge that the MCS shares with most school districts in the nation: the fact that success in accessing rigorous and demanding coursework is largely predictable by race, ethnicity, and family income. A strong case can be made that the key step in this process was the school board's agreement on the goal to dramatically improve performance of all students, especially for students not served well historically by its district.

What renders the case study intelligible is that it frames the MCS story as the Superintendent framed the strategy of changing the MCS educational system. Although not referenced directly [which I found very interesting], the long shadows of W. Edwards Deming and Edgar Schein were ever present: the former as the Baldrige Award process, the latter in the principles of leadership and organizational change.

It is tempting to ask why this 'pocket of excellence' has not spread further. Both Deming and Schein, from their respective experience with organizational change, recognized crisis as a necessary condition for change. If I had to pick the target audience for this case study, it would be top administrators and legislators in the states first and superintendents of school next. [The U. S. Department of Education take note.]
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Marc Korman on September 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
I am a product of the Montgomery County Public Schools, though I graduated just before Jerry Weast's tenure began. There is no question Weast helped pioneer major and successful change in the school system, creating a red zone and a green zone to funnel more resources to schools in need, pushing more students to take AP classes and exams (with mixed results), and collaborating closely with the unions and other key stakeholders. But let's not kid ourselves, Montgomery County started in a pretty positive place in terms of availability of resources, quality of schools, and test scores. Replicating this approach in other districts, where there may be fewer pockets of success, will not be easy. Some lessons that probably are applicable are cooperation with the workforce and providing adequate resources through funding, training, and time. But don't expect dramatic results everywhere. Success takes time, especially when you are starting in tougher places than the already broadly successful MCPS.

Of course, MCPS was not perfect before Weast's tenure, has not been perfect during it, and will continue to have challenges in the future.
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By cab4328 on February 17, 2014
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The book was required for a class and I found that it was not only useful in the class but was applicable in my own classroom
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By Milpitas on April 23, 2015
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Great for professional development for school administrators.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By K. Roberson on April 4, 2011
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Deinitely a must read for those in the education system who want to know how to diversify and have all students succeed!
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