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March 19, 2005

Virtual Schools Study

A thorough study of funding and regulations of online (virtual) schools in Washington enlightens the subject about such topics as:


This carefully conducted and well-written report found that both "high" and "low" achieving students use online courses and programs and makes recommendations for their continuance.


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Posted by Wayne Jennings at 10:53 AM

March 11, 2005

Voucher News in 6 States

Six states and the District of Columbia have laws on the books providing vouchers -- payments from the government to a parent or institution on a parent's behalf to be used for a child's education: (Not considered here are states that allow small tax deductions for educational expenses)

Colorado: Students who qualify for free or reduced lunches in 11 school districts may receive vouchers based on a percentage of the district's per-pupil costs. Law was struck down by the Colorado Supreme Court in June 2004. Currently under appeal.

District of Columbia: Allows students in D.C. public schools to receive vouchers of up to $7,500 to pay tuition, fees and transportation expenses at private or parochial schools in the D.C. area.

Florida: Students at "failing" public schools may receive a voucher worth at least $4,000 to attend a higher-scoring public school, private school or parochial school. In November 2004, the law was ruled unconstitutional by the Florida Court of Appeals and is now in limbo.

Ohio: Students in the Cleveland schools can receive vouchers of up to $2,500 to attend schools of their choice. Voucher amount based on student poverty. Program was challenged but upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2002.

Wisconsin: Law passed in 1989 allows low-income students in Milwaukee public schools to attend the private or parochial school of their choice at public expense.

Maine and Vermont: Vermont and Maine allow districts to send students to private schools and pay their tuition if no public school exists to serve secondary school students. Both programs do not allow districts to send students to religious schools. Both programs have been unsuccessfully challenged in court. In Vermont, students without nearby public schools can go to approved independent schools or public schools in or outside Vermont.


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Posted by Wayne Jennings at 01:06 PM

March 07, 2005

New Schools to Bypass Traditional High Schools

Jobs for the Future will open schools that accelerate high school and college by compressing grades. Early College High Schools are small schools from which students leave with not only a high school diploma but also an Associate's degree or two years of college credit toward a Bachelor's degree. Several foundations will provide major funding for the creation or redesign of 70 Early College High Schools in the next five years for underserved and low-income young people.


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Posted by Wayne Jennings at 09:01 PM

Comprehensive School Reform Report

Congress gave $145 million for school reform in 1998 and more in subsequent years. The Longitudinal Assessment of Comprehensive School Reform Program Implementation and Outcomes reports on year one of the grants. Schools which received funding exercised more staff decision making authority, adopted national reform models and followed a written plan more than other schools engaged in reform. Also the funding targeted low income schools, a goal of the legislation. It will be interesting to learn if substantive lasting reform emerges in the coming yearly reports. The report says the schools had a positive start.

Sadly, the past lengthy history of school reform efforts, even when well funded, demonstrates that not much happens and little endures.


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Posted by Wayne Jennings at 08:09 PM

World Directory of Democratic Schools

The Alternative Education Resource Center (AERO) has catalogued a huge list of democratic schools (mostly small learner-centered alternative schools) in 26 countries plus most of the states in the U.S. Use this link to look up a country or state to see these member schools. AERO provides a wide range of resources, links, conferences to promote democratic schools.


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Posted by Wayne Jennings at 07:56 PM