By Bob Lenz
One of my favorite things to say when doing strategic planning with teachers is that the plan has a 50 percent chance of success and a 100 percent chance of teaching us how to get “smarter” about delivering on our mission.
I love saying this because it conveys an essential truth: Failure is not a bad thing. It is a guaranteed and inevitable part of learning. In any and all endeavors, and especially as a learning organization, we will experience failure, as surely as a toddler will fall while learning to walk.
Unfortunately, in education, particularly in this high-stakes accountability era, failure has become the term attached to our persistent challenges. Wholesale problems, such as the achievement gap and the high school dropout rate, are labeled as “education failures.” We argue over how to “prevent” more failure. Increasingly, failure has come to mean something terrible, something to be avoided, and shunned.