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February 27, 2004

Residential Academies

Ray Morley, IALA board member and prolific contributor to educational alternatives for many years has described a rapidly growing phenomenia, that of residential academies. For a quick look at this concept see his paper, "Residential Education: A Topic for Consideration in Alternative Education." He also describes the Coalition for Residential Education.

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Posted by Wayne Jennings at 02:05 PM

February 26, 2004

New Survey for Alternative Schools

The National Alternative Education Association has designed a survey for staff in alternative schools, particularly schools serving at-risk youth. Information about background and authors for the survey is available at the IALA website.

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Posted by Wayne Jennings at 10:58 PM

February 24, 2004

3,000 Charter Schools and State Ratings

The public school charter movement has hit 2,996 schools this school year, the 12th year of the movement. The Center for Educational Reform provides a useful chart of each state, the number of charter schools and a rating of each state's charter school laws as to their strength. For example, of the 41 states with charter statutes, six got an "A" grade and two an "F." About 750,000 students attend charter schools this year.

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Posted by Wayne Jennings at 10:47 PM

2000 Applicants for 3 Online Schools

One of the fastest growing educational alternatives is virtual schools or online schools. These schools service students in their homes and operate without a school building. Those in the public sector collect state aid for each student they enroll. This story describes three online schools started by Wisconsin school districts had applicants that far exceeded initial expectations. Online schools are so new (though around for five years) that state funding authorities haven't caught up with how to regulate them. Online schools operate at every level: elementary, secondary and college from undergraduate to post-doctoral. For example, University of Phoenix has become the one of the largest universities in the world through its online degrees. Homeschoolers have found virtual schools an attractive adjunct with courses far beyond what parents could arrange on their own.

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Posted by Wayne Jennings at 10:32 PM

February 23, 2004

Education Management Organizations

Leading educational management organizations (EMOs) have formed the National Council of Education Providers to work on behalf of public relations and legislation favoring private management of schools. The council includes: Charter Schools USA, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Chancellor Beacon Academies, of Coconut Grove, Fla.; Edison Schools Inc., of New York City; Mosaica of New York City; National Heritage Academies, of Grand Rapids, Mich.; and White Hat Management, based in Akron, Ohio. Their schools serve 140,000 students according to a story in Education Week.

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Posted by Wayne Jennings at 03:53 PM

National Alternative Education Association Newsletter

The National Alternative Education Association's newsletter, Review of Alternative Education, is available online. It contains news of their annual conference in January, elections, and other items particularly of interest about "at-risk" youth.

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Posted by Wayne Jennings at 03:09 PM

February 11, 2004

Is Your Alternative School Authentic?

John Loflin has produced a survey for alternative schools to examine their faithfulness to true alternative educational principles. He calls it the Pseudo-Alternative Checklist. It's a reality check for schools and a reminder of what originators of the alternative movement had in mind for educational choices. In addition to the survey (there are two forms), Loflin provides a rationale for the checklists, and a set of best practices with an extensive bibliography. You will find this material useful because of its specifics. Loflin's material is a welcome addition to extensive materials at the IALA website.

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Posted by Wayne Jennings at 09:08 AM

February 04, 2004

National Coalition of Alternative Community Schools

The NCACS is a non-profit supporting alternative educational approaches and exchanges among its members, who are mostly small community-centered nonpublic schools. Its next national conference will be at The Farm, an alternative school in Summertown, Tennessee, May 6-9, 2004.

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Posted by Wayne Jennings at 03:29 PM