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Failure Is Not an Option

Failure Is Not an Option
6 Principles for Making Student Success the ONLY Option

Second Edition

February 2010 | 288 pages | SAGE South Asia
For our children, for our future: failure is never an option!

How did a tough, "D" school in Brooklyn that was about to be closed down become an "A" school in less than 3 years? How did a large school district in the Midwest use data to drive effective school improvement that led 15 of their 88 schools to make AYP for the first time? How are entire nations like Finland ensuring smooth leadership transition and capacity to sustain student success?

Five years, 200,000 readers, and one national award after Failure Is Not an Option was first published, Alan M. Blankstein has documented how educators have closed gaps, turned schools around, and sustained overall success. With contributions from Pedro A. Noguera, Andy Hargreaves, and Dean Fink, this book outlines the who, what, and how of becoming a high-performing school and learning community, shows how to avoid ten common routes to failure, provides double the resources, includes many new case stories and examples, and offers new emphasis on:

- Diversity
- Assessment for learning
- Intervention and support for students at risk
- Schooling as a community endeavor involving families

The second edition of Failure Is Not an Option tells more than the story—it gives all the specifics, the tools, the insights, and the processes that others have used to ensure that success is the ONLY option
Why Failure Is Not an Option
Courageous Leadership for School Success
10 Common Routes to Failure, and How to Avoid Each
Relational Trust as Foundation for the Learning Community
Principle 1: Common Mission, Vision, Values, and Goals
Principle 2: Ensuring Achievement for All Students—Systems for Prevention and Intervention
Principle 3: Collaborative Teaming Focused on Teaching for Learning
Principle 4: Data-Based Decision Making for Continuous Improvement
Principle 5: Gaining Active Engagement From Family and Community ALAN M BLANKSTEIN and PEDRO A NOGUERA
Principle 6: Building Sustainable Leadership Capacity ALAN M BLANKSTEIN with ANDY HARGREAVES and DEAN FINK

"In our work facilitating inside organizations, we have found over and over again that great leaders bring two vital characteristics to their work: passion and clarity. In Failure Is Not an Option, Alan Blankstein brings the passion that inspires others to share in a powerful vision and the clarity that points to what to do, and what not to do, to make the vision a reality. The six principles of the FNO framework and the impressive resources found in the book provide educational leaders at all levels with the vision and the tools for successfully facilitating transformation in their world."

Michael Wilkinson, CEO, Leadership Strategies
Author, The Secrets of Facilitation

"The new edition improves on a book that many educators have found to be useful by including more examples as well as chapters on family engagement and sustainability. The book provides a helpful and accessible synthesis of what is known about school change. It addresses many barriers that principals and teachers face, provides useful strategies for overcoming the barriers, and provides explicit guidance on how to implement these strategies in a manner that engages the entire school community."

David Osher, Vice President, Education, Human Development, Workforce
American Institutes for Research

"You don’t often come across a book that links theory and practice in a compelling way. Failure Is Not An Option is a passionate and inspiring read. Backed up by evidence and offering useful resources, the book provides a picture of how to make a difference to persistent challenges in school quality and equity. The stories about schools and districts are filled with moral purpose, determination, and humanity. If any book about education will make you feel ‘yes we must’ and ‘yes we can,’ this is it!"

Louise Stoll, Former President, International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement
Visiting Professor, Institute of Education, London, England

"If you liked the first edition, you should rush to buy the second; if you didn’t read the first, get ready for a moving experience. This book is for administrators and teacher leaders who embrace their work as a calling rather than a job. Blankenstein’s six principles for making schools work for all students should be printed on the back of every educator’s business card, and the new cases and details bring them to life. This edition deepens the message that the real work of school reform is messy and hard, but within our reach if we welcome ambiguity and aim high."

Karen Seashore Louis, Rodney S. Wallace Professor
University of Minnesota

"Failure Is Not an Option, Second Edition, is a book that administrators should read, share with their learning communities, and keep in their professional libraries. Blankstein is an amazing visionary whose work is impacting the lives of administrators across the country. The two editions of Failure Is Not an Option are the most influential books in education in the past decade. Blankstein writes in a way to empower all stakeholders to be a part of the plan, at the same time emphasizing everyone’s responsibility for student learning and success. In his latest book, he shares compelling cases from actual principals, providing concrete examples and resources for educators to use. We are a real-life example that these principles really do work. I will continue to lead my extraordinary school with tenacity, courage, and hope, because at the Jackie Robinson School we truly believe that, 'Excellence in education is really our ONLY option!'”

Marion Wilson, Principal
Jackie Robinson Public School 375, Brooklyn, NY

"Failure Is Not an Option is overflowing with enthusiasm, optimism, and a motivational spirit. This book is a convincingly well-developed blueprint for sustainable school improvement, as well as a call to action for all dedicated educators committed to meaningful school reform and student progress. The wonderful second edition leads the reader on a journey to discover the realities of student success and a comprehensive look at what to do prevent failure."

Sean J. Walsh, Principal
Roland Hayes Intermediate School 291, Brooklyn, NY

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Alan M. Blankstein

Award-winning author and educational leader, Alan Blankstein served for 25 years as President of the HOPE Foundation, which he founded and whose honorary chair is Nobel Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu. A former “high-risk” youth, Alan began his career in education as a music teacher. He worked for Phi Delta Kappa, March of Dimes, and Solution Tree, which he founded in 1987 and directed for 12 years while launching Professional Learning Communities beginning in the late 1980s. He is the author of the best-selling book Failure Is Not an Option®: Six Principles That Guide Student Achievement in High-Performing Schools,... More About Author

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ISBN: 9788132104742