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January 28, 2005

High School Redesign

A new report, State Strategies for Redesigning High Schools and Promoting High School to College Transitions by the Education Commission of the States is the latest in a long saga of reports from various sources calling for significant reform of high schools. This brief (6 pages) describes the problem, suggests changes and outlines the initiatives in several states. It also provides valuable links to other studies and reports. Lynn Olson in a related article, "Calls for Revamping High Schools Intensify" pours on more fuel and provides additional articles on the topic.

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Posted by Wayne Jennings at 02:52 AM

Charter Schools: Good or Bad Alternative?

Numerous studies have tried to assess the charter school movement. This is like trying to say public schools in general are successful or are unsuccessful. Charter schools vary enormously from highly experimental to ultra traditional, from serving affluent suburban students to rescuing high-need students, and from tiny to huge. Judgments about charter schools usually focus on test score comparisions lumping all these diverse schools together--hardly good research. In addition, there is usually no attempt in studies to tease out beginning schools vs. experienced schools in existence, say, 8-10 years or more (few schools in the nation qualify with the 13 year history of charter schools). Likewise, little mention is made of the considerable financial handicap almost all charter schools operate under. Paul Hill at the University of Washington addressed this topic thoughtfully and comprehensively in an article, "Assessing Student Performance in Charter Schools."

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Posted by Wayne Jennings at 02:22 AM

January 16, 2005

EDUCATION REFORM IS BIGGEST URBAN LEGEND

According to an interesting web site, education reform in the United States is a myth. Reform implies that something is being made better, and that clearly is not the case when it comes to education, writes one unhappy blogger. The fun goes on and on, day after day while our children continue to get sub-par schooling. Unless you live in a wealthy part of town that has better schools, or you have found an alternative such as a magnet, your child is getting short-shrifted by the shortsighted. Despite what the educators say, despite what the political leaders say, despite what anyone says, there is no education reform. dadtalk.typepad.com/dadtalk/2005/01/education_refor.html

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Posted by Wayne Jennings at 09:57 PM

International Democratic Education Conference

The 10 day 12th International Democratic Education Conference was recently held in Bhubaneshwar, India with a view to strengthen a global movement that aims to make both teacher and child participants in the process of learning through democratic ideals. Around 400 delegates, including students and adults form 19 nations, attended. The theme was Shanti (peace) in Education. Various workshops about free schools, alternative schools of choice, and democratic schools were held. There was a special effort to bring awareness of the learning alternatives provided by schools and groups working with poor children in marginalized communities in Asia, Africa, and South America. See http://www.idec2005.com/ for next year's event.

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Posted by Wayne Jennings at 09:42 PM

Excellent book, Educational Alternatives for Everyone

Don Glines' excellent book, Educational Alternatives for Everyone: A Handbook for Educators, Families and Politicians is for sale at our online store. An unparalleled and extraordinary resource book on learning alternatives by the foremost advocate for alternatives. It presents the reasons why choices of a variety of learning environments are essential for the future of society, offers concrete descriptions of various practical programs, defines the potential outcomes and methods of assessment, provides an extensive bibliography and cites fifty relevant quotes by child-centered leaders. 410 pages, 2002. Price $35, Members $30.Buy it now to obtain the greatest resource on educational alternatives. It's many books of information in one volume.

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Posted by Wayne Jennings at 09:28 PM