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"An overwhelming body of research shows that education change and improvement must come from the inside. Failure Is Not an Option provides a practical road map for improving the climate and culture of schools in ways that are meaningful and enduring. We must be open to new ideas, new strategies, and new opportunities. School transformation is something you do with educators, not to them. This book will show you how."
"Educational books that engage both head and heart are rare. Failure Is Not an Option is such an exception. It is an authentic and powerful call to action, written in an accessible and utterly compelling way. It reminds us that school failure is not a given and there are ways in which we can make a difference to all young people in all settings. It also underlines that education is more than test scores or grades and that ultimately we are shaping individual futures and life chances. For that alone, it should be on the bookshelf of every educator."
"Alan Blankstein’s Failure Is Not An Option is grounded in moral purpose, offers hope through many real-life examples showing that that purpose can be realized, and inspires courage among educators to do all that is necessary to create schools in which both students and adults thrive."
"This passionate and wise book builds on years of collaborative learning, teaching, and leadership. It is filled with understandings as well as many practical suggestions, guidelines, tools, and stories from the field that support the whole child and the whole school community working to effectively for children's healthy development and capacity to learn and to soar."
"Alan Blankstein provides a compelling framework for improving schools—a framework that will excite, motivate, and sustain itself over time. This is a book to be read again and again."
“A book that should be read by every teacher. It establishes in the clearest way possible that teachers must be responsible for learning, not just teaching. Using six powerful principles, Alan Blankstein provides the information teachers need to be able to do this. The book is a wonderful blend of philosophy, theory, and, through numerous vignettes, practical examples of the principles in action.
"'Failure Is Not an Option' is more than an audicious slogan; it is a carefully drawn road map to creating successful schools, even in the most challenging contexts. Alan Blankstein describes 10 familiar paths to failure that raise critical cautions for education reformers, and then systematically outlines six key elements to support excellent and equitable schools. He offers vivid examples, cases, and strategies, buttressed by research and the wisdom of practice, to enable committed educators to work effectively to reinvent schools.
"Alan Blankstein has written the new handbook for school transformation. Failure Is Not an Option lays out a road map for educators aspiring to create a great public school. In this richly researched book, Blankstein writes in clear, accessible prose about ideas that work. Blankstein’s six principles form the scaffold for improvement plans, and the book is chock full of how-to tips based on the experiences of real educators in real schools. Blankstein is an unabashed cheerleader of the talents of the men and women who lead and teach in America’s schools.
"There is something special when you witness a school that has changed the way it does business. Those places are remarkable examples of what is possible for every child when 'failure is not an option.' This books chronicles the many stories and illuminates the pathway to high performance so that others can muster the courage to do what is right for every student. As a strong proponent of teacher leadership, networks, and the power of teams, I applaud this book for its passionate ideas and forceful strategies.
"Rich in new examples, more relevant research, and great stories of success. This second look at comprehensive school improvement adds even more practical wisdom and concrete ideas for making schools better. It is readable, accessible, and useful to every level and every leader in schools."
"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 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."
"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!"
"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."
"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.
"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."