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March 25, 2004

IALA Annual Conference

The International Association for Learning Alternatives will hold its annual conference in conjunction with the Michigan Alternative Education Association conference April 28-May1, 2004 at Crystal Mountain resort, Thompsonville, MI near Traverse City, MI. Ask for the Michigan Alternative Education Association rate of $90 per night. The Traverse City airport, Cherry Capital, is served by American, Northwest, United and Skyway airlines. The conference will begin Wednesday, April 28 with a 7:00 p.m. reception and end on Saturday, May 1 at 1:00 p.m.

This is a departure from the summertime for the annual conference. Mark your calendars. A brochure on the conference, and forms for registration and lodging are now available on our conference page.


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Posted by Wayne Jennings at 07:40 PM

Homeschooling: A Learning Alternative

Homeschooling has grown dramatically in the past decade. The U.S. Dept. of Education estimates that close to 1,000,000 students are in home schools up sharply since 1995. Homeschoolers fall into two rough categories: those who want certain religious beliefs inculcated and those who want a more progressive individualized program. An excellent article describes how it works for several families and provides good background information.
(Illustration / Aaron Meshon)

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Posted by Wayne Jennings at 07:39 PM

March 24, 2004

Voucher Plans Rated

The Milton Friedman Foundation, a long time proponent of vouchers, has ranked the thirteen voucher plans in the U.S. Florida’s McKay Scholarship ranked the best with an A-. Milwaukee's plan, the oldest got a C. Colorado, the newest, got a B-.

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Posted by Wayne Jennings at 11:35 AM

March 17, 2004

Another Alternative: Career Academies

From an article: Established more than 30 years ago, Career Academies have become a widely used high school reform initiative that aims to keep students engaged in school and prepare them for successful transitions to post-secondary education and employment. Typically serving between 150 and 200 high school students from grade 9 or 10 through grade 12, Career Academies are organized as small learning communities, combine academic and technical curricula around a career theme, and establish partnerships with local employers to provide work-based learning opportunities. There are estimated to be more than 2,500 Career Academies across the country according to their network.


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Posted by Wayne Jennings at 12:36 PM

March 15, 2004

Position Paper on NCLB by WALA

The Washington Association for Learning Alternatives has published a position paper on No Child Left Behind calling attention to its potentially harmful effects on education, particularly alternative programs. The carefully written and thorough paper describes WALA's efforts over the past 30 years to provide appropriate educational programs that enable ALL students to succeed.

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Posted by Wayne Jennings at 09:58 AM

March 08, 2004

Charter School Conferences and Information

Charter schools represent one of the fastest-growing alternatives in education. Numerous conferences are being held. For example, Wisconsin: March 28 - 30 (Sunday afternoon thru Tuesday) Milwaukee and the 5th national conference in Miami, June 16-18. The best source of information is supported by the US Department of Education sponsored web site where you can learn of the state organizations and their activities plus much other vital information.

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Posted by Wayne Jennings at 12:05 PM

March 03, 2004

Breaking Ranks II Calls for Major Reforms

Breaking Ranks II: Strategies for Leading High School Reform published by the National Association of Secondary School Principals reaffirms and strengthens recommendations in the earlier 1996 addition. A free copy of the report is being sent to every high school principal in America with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The recommendations are bold and systemic but in my view are as unlikely to come to fruition as they were when published earlier. That unhappy outcome simply shows again the difficulty of making major reforms in well-established institutions.

Hence, the need for alternatives and the power of starting schools from scratch.


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Posted by Wayne Jennings at 11:41 AM

Valuable Database of State Alternatives

The Education Commission of the States has compiled a very useful database of all 50 states and the islands showing policies and statutes for educational choices including open enrollment, charter schools, vouchers, tax credits and tax deductions and dual/concurrent enrollment.

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Posted by Wayne Jennings at 11:03 AM