“One issue is denial within the school about what’s going on—or at least a lot of rationalization. Especially in a school where there have been consistent patterns of failure for certain kinds of kids, it’s often the case that people locate the source of that failure in the kids themselves, or in their culture, their community, or their parents. All of this means the school is unwilling to take responsibility for what it can do to address the needs of those kids. Getting people to the point where they’re willing to take some responsibility is an important step.
That’s where the research can play a role in challenging people’s assumptions and getting them to see how they can think differently about why kids succeed or don’t succeed. Some teachers are very willing to accept credit for success—the kids who go to good colleges—but they’re not so willing to take responsibility for the kids who don’t succeed.”