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August 28, 2003


Probably the most vocal and uncompromising voice on vouchers is the Milton & Rose Friedman Foundation who publish The School Choice Advocate. Many past articles are online.


Posted by Wayne Jennings at 04:56 PM

August 26, 2003

High Stakes Testing and Adequate Yearly Progress

The Minnesota Association of Alternative Programs has issued two position papers on high stakes testing and adequate yearly progress in response to requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind law. The board of directors voted unanimously for these critical positions after considerable thought about the negative effects of testing and labeling of schools as underperforming.


Posted by Wayne Jennings at 10:35 AM

Convention Presentations

The IALA conference at Valley Forge, PA had many fine presentations. Three of these are available under the Alternatives button:
1. The keynote address by Don Glines: Educational Alternatives For Everyone---All The Time---A Discourse On Democratic Education Through Learning Alternatives.
2. Motivating Unmotivated Students Through Learning Alternatives by Don Glines.
3. A Plea For Comprehensive Educational Alternatives by Don Glines.


Posted by Wayne Jennings at 09:31 AM

August 25, 2003

Great Links to Alternative Education

The Iowa Association of Alternative Education has a fine web site and loads of links to other sources of info on alternatives, articles, and books.


Posted by Wayne Jennings at 02:45 PM

Texas Association

The newest state organization, The Texas Association for Alternative Education will hold their conference Feb. 19-21, 2004 in Austin.


Posted by Wayne Jennings at 02:20 PM

August 19, 2003

Source and Magazine on Alternatives

Very comprehensive coverage, particularly of democratic and small private alternative schools, including international coverage, is found in Education Revolution, published 4 times a year.


Posted by Wayne Jennings at 12:22 PM

August 15, 2003

Statement of Purpose

This is from the California Charter Schools Association and affirms the concept of choice and alternatives that is the focus of IALA:
"We have tremendous optimism as we embark on the next decade of the charter school movement here in California....

As we launch our new, strengthened statewide association, we believe that we have a unique opportunity to prove that charter schools offer the best path to meaningful reform of public education. As a result, we are committed to ensuring that high-quality charter schools of all educational models succeed, including non-site-based charter schools, conversion charter schools, schools serving at-risk and dropout students, English language learners, community-based and independently operated charter schools, and innovative future school models yet to be developed. We will be an association that strongly advocates for student achievement through choice, innovation and diversity within the public school system.

We are a movement committed to the belief that all students can learn, that children should be treated as individuals, that educators’ entrepreneurial and innovative spirit must be embraced, that local communities should be engaged in the educational process and that parents must have the ability to choose the school their child attends. We also embrace the accountability that goes hand in hand with these values.

Besides steadfastly supporting the values we hold dear, our association has four goals:

* Core Strength-- We are committed to serving our member schools. This includes providing an array of services, expertise and financing tools to strengthen all our schools and support our members in focusing on what matters most: educating students. This also means listening constantly to our members and drawing on their expertise to strengthen the movement.

* Advocacy-- We will be the collective grassroots voice of California’s charter schools. We will aggressively advocate for increased flexibility and funding for all our schools. We will aggressively communicate to the broader community the strength and potential of charter education.

* Quality-- We will raise the bar for public education as an organization that promotes high quality and accountability through a variety of measures.

* Leadership-- We will aggressively focus on leadership development in a manner that helps the charter school movement to grow. Our goal is to bring high-quality charter schools to every community in order to create enough external pressure to bring about lasting reform.

Today, the charter school movement is under attack from many directions. The status quo continues to publicize charter school failures while critics allege that accountability is nonexistent. The historical response from the charter school movement has been fragmented and has lacked the resources to defend the promise that this movement offers. This new association will address this by uniting the charter school community behind a common vision and by providing all charter schools with the resources, board and staff support to take this exciting movement to the next level. "


Posted by Wayne Jennings at 02:34 PM

August 01, 2003

Alternative Education in Minnesota

A new paper "Alternative-Education Programs: The ‘Quiet Giant" in Minnesota Public Education" describes the rapid growth of student enrollment and programs. About 1 in 4 students at the secondary level use alternative programs full or part time. Many' but not all programs, are for at-risk students. Much of this growth has occurred in the past 5 years.

The study comes from Education Evolving, a group urging policy initiatives led by Ted Kolderie and Joe Graba.


Posted by Wayne Jennings at 10:54 AM

Types of Alternatives

We invite you to add to this list of educational alternatives that are a choice for students. Send additional items by using the Contact Us button and we'll make the list more comprehensive. Here's a start on the list: charter schools, Montessori schools, Waldorf schools, online schools, distant learning programs, magnet schools, private schools, schools within schools, open schools, storefront schools, at-risk schools, voucher programs, religion schools, vocational schools, middle colleges, GED programs.

Of course, some of these categories are very specific. Others like charter schools convey a wide range of practices. It is estimated by Dr. Robert Barr that there are some 20,000 alternatives in the U.S.


Posted by Wayne Jennings at 09:29 AM

School Choice Issues

A recent article from the Education Commission of the States summarizes school choice in the U.S. Its based on a study by the National Center for Education Statistics conducted for the years 1993-1999 and shows an increase in the numbers of students in educational options.

Another study "Mapping SCHOOL CHOICE in Massachusetts:
Data and Findings 2003,"
describes the kinds of options and the extent of their use in MA, trends, the national context and details about choices in the Boston area.


Posted by Wayne Jennings at 09:15 AM