A growing body of research confirms that school culture significantly influences student learning. Indeed, it’s in the culture that classrooms build their success. Yet, too many schools accept pockets of excellence. Why is it acceptable for some classrooms to implement best practices for students while others are allowed to opt out?

Culture is the collective beliefs and commitments that enable individuals, who might otherwise only be loosely connected, to rally around an effort. The importance of this cultural “glue” becomes clear when examining student behavior. The more consistent schools are with expectations, discipline, and celebratory rituals, the better students understand what’s...

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