Failure Is Not an Option: Six Principles for Making Student Success the Only Option / Edition 2

Paperback (Print)
Rent from
(Save 71%)
Est. Return Date: 06/19/2014
Buy Used
Buy Used from
(Save 25%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 94%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (16) from $1.99   
  • New (3) from $18.99   
  • Used (13) from $1.99   
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any coupons and promotions
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:



New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New We ship fast with tracking number.

Ships from: Philadelphia, PA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:


Condition: New
Softcover New in new dust jacket. Brand New Original Edition, 3-5 business says shipping!

Ships from: foxboro, MA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:


Condition: New
Brand new.

Ships from: acton, MA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Sort by


Five years, 200,000 readers, and one national award after the first edition, Blankstein documents how educators have closed gaps, turned schools around, and sustained overall success.

Resources referenced in Failure Is Not an Option®, Second Edition are available in The Facilitator’s Guide to Failure Is Not an Option®, Second Edition and can also be found at the HOPE Foundation Web site at

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Dennis Van Roekel
"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. "
Alma Harris
"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. "
Dennis Sparks
"Alan Blankstein’s Failure Is Not An Option is grounded in moral purpose, offers hope through many real-life examplesshowing thatthat 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. "
Jonathan Cohen
"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 andcapacity to learn and to soar. "
Linda Darling-Hammond
"'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. Everyone who cares about the future of public education should read this book. "
Marion Wilson
"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!'”
Thomas J. Sergiovanni
"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. "
Ken O'Connor
“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. Eliminating failure as an option cannot be achieved on a large scale by teachers acting as individuals; to make ‘failure isnot an option’ a reality, teachers must see this as a shared responsibility, and this book shows how it happens now in some places and how it can become the way we operate in all schools. "
John Wilson
"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. He reminds educators that, while change takes sustained, hard work, it can start right now, with something as simple as a warm welcome to each student every day. This book will be easy for educators to pick up again and again to review, re-read, and renew their own commitments to make sure that failure is not an option for any student. "
Deborah Kasak
"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. We can no longer wait for someone else to make the change happen, we must join forces to make success the norm for all and this book is a valuable asset in that endeavor. "
Sean J. Walsh
"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. "
Kent D. Peterson
"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. "
Michael Wilkinson
"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. "
David Osher
"The new editionimproves 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. "
Louise Stoll
"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 bookprovides 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! "
Karen Seashore Louis
"If you liked the firstedition, 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. "
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412979238
  • Publisher: Corwin Press
  • Publication date: 11/24/2009
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 263
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Award-winning author and visionary educational leader Alan M. Blankstein is founder and president of the HOPE Foundation, a not-for-profit organization 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. Hehas worked in youth-serving organizations since 1983, including the March of Dimes, Phi Delta Kappa, and the National Educational Service (now Solution Tree), which he founded in 1987 and directed for 12 years. He has created award-winning publications and video staff development programs. He is the author of the best-selling book Failure Is Not an Option®: Six Principles That Guide Student Achievement in High-Performing Schools, which received the 2005 Book of the Year award from Learning Forward (formerly NSDC), and has been nominated for three other national and international awards.

In addition to authorship of this award-winning book, Blankstein is Publisher of three Failure Is Not an Option® video series and Senior Editor along with Paul Houston of the thirteen-volume The Soul of Educational Leadership series. Blankstein also co-authored the Reaching Today’s Youth curriculum and has published articles in Educational Leadership, The School Administrator, Executive Educator, High School Magazine, Reaching Today’s Youth, and Inside the Workshop. He has also provided keynote presentations and workshops for virtually every major educational organization.

Blankstein is on the Harvard International Principals Centers advisory board, served as Board member for Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health, is former Co-Chair of Indiana University’s Neal Marshall Black Culture Center’s Community Network and advisor to the Faculty and Staff for Student Excellence (FASE) mentoring program. He also served as advisory board member for the Forum on Race, Equity, and Human Understanding with the Monroe County Schools in Indiana, and on the Board of Trustees for the Jewish Child Care Agency (JCCA), in which he was once a youth in residence.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

List of Case Stories and Case Examples
List of Resources
Foreword by Michael Fullan
About the Author
1. Why Failure Is Not an Option
2. Courageous Leadership for School Success
3. 10 Common Routes to Failure, and How to Avoid Each
4. Relational Trust as Foundation for the Learning Community
5. Principle 1: Common Mission, Vision, Values, and Goals
6. Principle 2: Ensuring Achievement for All Students—Systems for Prevention and Intervention
7. Principle 3: Collaborative Teaming Focused on Teaching for Learning
8. Principle 4: Data-Based Decision Making for Continuous Improvement
9. Principle 5: Gaining Active Engagement From Family and Community by Alan M. Blankstein and Pedro A. Noguera
10. Principle 6: Building Sustainable Leadership Capacity by Alan M. Blankstein with Andy Hargreaves and Dean Fink

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2007

    A reviewer

    Failure is Not an Option provided the foundation for the courageous conversations that needed to take place pertaining to the six principles. To our surprise, we were using many of these positive strategies and techniques. But after reading the book, we discovered by categorizing these strategies into the six principles it helped us focus our direction to achieving student academic success. The ¿Think it Throughs¿ initiated the conversations and provided opportunities to reflect on the principles. Further reading gave us ideas on how to develop each principle in our building. ¿It not only begins with the end in mind, but it also requires a resounding commitment to the end.¿ Specifically, this book was a great resource in our quest to find our shared mission, vision and values. It provided the critical questions that outline what effective vision, mission, and values should answer. It included easy-to-read tables that offered criteria to transform the traditional statements and make them meaningful and purpose driven. Failure is Not an Option also presented SMART goals, a way of writing effective specific measurable goals. Once our staff understood the goals we were able to celebrate successes. The book gave guidelines on how to celebrate which in turn motivated our staff and students. We found this book imperative in planning professional development for our staff. After reading this book, we do not see how a school could function without the six principles outlined in Failure is Not an Option.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2007

    Your Keys to School Reform

    This must read book, Failure is Not an Option, should be on every teacher's and school administrator's bookshelf. Not only does Dr. Blankstein point out common routes to failure (so that we can stop using those routes) but he also presents a clear path to school reform. School boards, administrators, and teachers can no longer allow the 'old' status quo to continue. The world has changed and become much more fluid. Education must also change with the world. Educators must be prepared to assess their own effectiveness and make changes that will benefit ALL students. Failure is Not an Option is THE tool for making these necessary changes.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2007

    The Six Guiding Principles Really Work!

    The information presented in this book is a sequential process that can be implemented over time to produce the desired results. This book is not an overnight 'cure-all' for the ills of low performing schools, but rather, it gives schools a definite process beginning with establishing a clear vision of what is needed or desired. The six guiding principles are presented in a clear easy to follow manner that make sense. The six principles could very well be called the six-steps program for under-achieving schools!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2007


    The National Staff Development Council named this book of the year in 2005. An outstanding book about processes that work! This book will support educational leaders over time in creating school cultures in which all students succeed, especially underserved students. This book has very common sense research based approaches for creating and sustaining high performing schools!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2006

    Impractical and Unrealistic

    I have served in public schools in New Hampshire, Wyomimg, Connecticut and Massachusetts for over forty years. During the course of a lifetime of work in these schools I have attended hundreds of educational workshops and read many books and articles dealing with public school eduation, some good, some not so good. Speaking specifically about this book I grant that the authors are probably very learned individuals. On the other hand if they truly believe what they put in print in this book is practical and realistic in a public school setting even one per-cent of the time they either are living a dream or living in a world of fantasy. Ninety-nine per-cent of the administrators who read this book and try to put into practice what he/she sees in print can look forward to a short tenure in his/her district. The point is not that the authors don't bring out a few good ideas, the point is that they are utopian ideas and we don't live in a utopian society. Public education in our country is considrably better than the liberal press and government would make you believe. Public education, different from independent school education has to try to educate every student who steps off the bus regardless of what his/her background might be. Independent schools educate only those they need or want to while at the same time enjoying the benefit of much more funding than that which is appropriated for the public schools. This book therefore might be more appropriate for the independent school but this in no way infers that an independent school education is superior to a public school education. This is parallel to the person who put an old stove out in front of the house with a sign that read, FREE. No one took it but when the signed was changed to $50. the stove was gone the next day. In my many reviews of books I have written for Barnes and Noble I have never given a book a rating of below four stars. This book I am giving a rating of two stars, 'Disappointing', only because I don't believe in failure.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)