The Answer Is in the Room
How Effective Schools Scale Up Student Success
- Alan M. Blankstein - Founder, Solution Tree and HOPE Foundation, NYC
A Joint Publication With The HOPE Foundation
School Change & Reform
"The answer is not always in the room. Sometimes it's in the room next door. But help is often much closer than you think. Drawing on inspirational yet practical examples of health reform in Vietnam, courageous change in South Africa, and authentic improvements that get results in a range of American schools, Alan Blankstein demonstrates that throwing random reforms into the room through the door, or shouting at people in the room from up on the roof, are not ways that make positive change happen. Blankstein knows his people, knows his schools and knows what brings about positive, professionally driven change. This brilliant little book not only shows what works, it dignifies the overly criticized professionals who make it all happen."
—Andy Hargreaves, Author and Thomas More Brennan Chair in Education
Boston College, MA
"When the well-being of children is at stake, people of all stripes are called upon to put aside personal agendas, find the humility and courage to do what is right, and let go of what has not worked. This book provides compelling reasons for doing this in education, as well as a powerful new methodology for success and a pathway to a brighter future."
—Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu
1GOAL Education for All, Cape Town, South Africa
"With tools and techniques provided in Alan Blankstein's new book, educators have the potential to uncover the answers to complex issues in education."
—Deborah Childs-Bowen, Assistant Professor
Alliance for Leadership in Education, Samford University, Birmingham, AL
Learn the secrets of successful schools
Citing wisdom from top educational experts and building on what is already working, award-winning author Alan M. Blankstein offers tools for finding excellence in schools, scaling these practices across learning communities, and transforming low-performing schools into high-performing schools. His five-step process includes:
- Identifying and assessing excellence
- Creating an action plan
- Assigning resources such as time, materials, etc.
- Transferring excellence in the form of knowledge and skills throughout the school and district
- Sustaining the excellence
Also included are effective strategies for sustaining student gains, closing gaps within and between schools, building leader capacity, and increasing community commitment.
Listen to Alan's podcast interview for the Future of Education series.
"A common-sense approach to addressing the obstacles and barriers that often stymie school success. By drawing on examples from schools that have a track record of beating the odds, Blankstein and his collaborators have created a resource that will be invaluable for educators who are searching for answers to the challenges they face. Insightful, enlightening and accessible."
“Blankstein’s new book brilliantly summarizes a wealth of information about what works in closing the achievement gap. A must-read for practitioners.”
"Another passionate and stirring book from Alan Blankstein! Weaving together evidence, inspiring stories and resources, he leads the reader to an exciting place where it’s just the norm for everyone to learn with and from others within and across their schools. And it all starts with questions. So what are you waiting for?"
"In The Answer is in the Room, Alan Blankstein applies the lessons he has learned from working with schools around his 'Failure is Not an Option' program. As usual, Alan offers practical and timely lessons for schools and districts. But in this new book, he goes further to talk about what it really takes to get the answers and he posits that we already know because the answer is in the room, and it must come from all of us. This is a timely and helpful book.”
"This book has it right—the secret is that there is no secret. With Alan, we need to shout it out. We do know how to scale up student success; we do have excellent instruction to surge into classrooms; and we do have communities of practice that bring stakeholders together who reject failure. This new system is aborning, and we need to celebrate its beginnings and tend to its growth. Readers: unite with purpose!"
"Every principle in this book is grounded in experience and illustrated with case examples from which any educator can learn. I believe the most essential elements for scaling up involve respecting and nurturing local examples of success, and having the courage to commit to positive change. The Answer Is In The Room has captured it brilliantly - now it's time for education policy to allow educators to bring the answer into the schoolhouse."
"With a new explosion of bad ideas for education reform, we need Alan Blankstein’s positive defiance! The Answer is in the Room is rich with tools for improving schools from the inside out. Blankstein reminds educators that we have more answers than we think—we can be the change we wish to see."
"This book is phenomenal! It embodies everything I believe concerning excellence in education. Alan has documented the road to excellence. I will definitely use this book when working with districts on school improvement or moving from good to great!"
"Alan Blankstein spells out a workable approach to school improvement rooted in experience and common sense. His book is a breath of fresh air and a welcome relief from the ideological banter that passes for school reform in the current climate."
“The Answer in the Room really does provide the answer to school improvement. What makes it great is that it is an economical and effective answer – we know what to do and can collaboratively apply the knowledge and skills that educators in the each district already have to achieve great gains in student learning."