"It's Being Done": Academic Success in Unexpected Schools

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This straightforward and inspiring book takes readers into schools where educators believe—and prove—that all children, even those considered “hard-to-teach,” can learn to high standards.

Their teachers and principals refuse to write them off and instead show how thoughtful instruction, high expectations, stubborn commitment, and careful consideration of each child’s needs can result in remarkable improvements in student achievement.

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This straightforward and inspiring book takes readers into schools where educators believe—and prove—that all children, even those considered “hard-to-teach,” can learn to high standards. Their teachers and principals refuse to write them off and instead show how thoughtful instruction, high expectations, stubborn commitment, and careful consideration of each child’s needs can result in remarkable improvements in student achievement.

“Every American must read this book. It demonstrates unequivocally that an unyielding belief in the ability of all children—regardless of background—to excel at the highest levels combined with a relentless commitment to excellent instruction can radically transform public education in this nation. If every school in America adopted the lessons of ‘It’s Being Done,’ then the achievement gap—in my view, the greatest injustice facing our nation—would be relegated to the history books.” — Jason Kamras, 2005 National Teacher of the Year

“Can a good school enable disadvantaged children to catch up? Some say, ‘No, we must change society first.’ This scrupulous and humane book shows that a good school can make a decisive difference in giving every child a chance to achieve the American Dream. Karin Chenoweth is to be warmly thanked for showing in detail how some schools and their devoted staffs have refuted the idea that demography is fate.” — E. D. Hirsch, Jr., Professor Emeritus, University of Virginia

‘It’s Being Done’ is a refreshingly honest and thoughtful analysis of American K-12 education. It comes at a time when so many people are asking if it is possible not to leave children behind, especially children who are poor and of color. Chenoweth’s research carefully documents important examples of academic achievement among these children in a variety of challenging circumstances. She identifies the many characteristics of successful schools, including setting high expectations for students, data-driven instruction, the wise use of school time, ongoing professional development of teachers, and comprehensive leadership teams made up of principals, teachers, parents, and community members. ‘It’s Being Done’ will contribute significantly to the national conversation on the education of our children. Perhaps more important, it will give us reason to hope.” — Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, President, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Karin Chenoweth is a longtime education writer who currently writes for The Achievement Alliance. From 1999 to 2004 she wrote a column on schools and education for the Washington Post, and before that she was a senior writer and now executive editor of Black Issues in Higher Education (now Diverse).

About the Author:

Karin Chenoweth is a longtime education writer who currently writes for The Achievement Alliance. From 1999 to 2004 she wrote a column on schools and education for the Washington Post, and before that she was a senior writer and now executive editor of Black Issues in Higher Education (now Diverse).

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