Book Chat: Leading for Equity

Reading Leading for Equity: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Montgomery County Public Schools by Stacey M. Childress, Denis P. Doyle, David A. Thomas, and David Gergen almost feels like cheating. I am so grateful to these authors for capturing the story of the Montgomery County Public Schools and sharing it with practitioners who need a little bit of inspiration. 
This winter break, this book was my inspiration.  I devoured it on my flight back from Chicago just a few days ago and still my mind is churning.  I look forward to reading it again at a slower less consuming pace. Leading for Equity connects with those of us wake every morning  trying to do better for the children and the community we serve. 
Creating a powerful vision, relentlessly focusing on student learning, and facing the facts and truth about race and poverty, and artfully distributing “real” shared decision-making allowed this district to make dramatic achievement gains for all student populations in all sectors of their county.
As a director of curriculum and instruction, I was keen on their work to create world class expectations and their ability to backmap pathways to rigorous learning outcomes. Their approach to analyzing their data  made me think about all the possible research questions I have and how I might go about uncovering meaning in my own midst.
Of course, Montgomery’s ability to reframe thinking of equity of opportunity rather than equity of resources is the magic that allows the work to happen. I’m certain that this shift in understanding occurred through a delicate political dance.  However, it is these kinds of moves upon which many districts stumble while trying to manage resources in an accountable manner. 
I recommend this book for any person interested in school reform efforts, educational case studies, district leadership, and practitioners of systemic thinking.