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July 31, 2005

Examples of Educational Alternatives

Alternatives come in many types. Here are four alternatives--unusual and extraordinary public schools with links for more information:
Jennings Experiential High School takes its urban students on two 35 day overseas trips, this year to Costa Rica and Ghana, West Africa. There they perform community service and study many aspects of the environment. They prepare for the trips with five weeks of intensive study.
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Minnesota New Country School (7-12) and River Heights Charter School (9-12) contract for staffing and other services with a cooperative of teachers. Students study topics of personal interest using the project method for learning.
Village School of Northfield (K-12) gives staff and students a vote about all aspects of the school. They follow the Sudbury model of permitting students to follow their interests at their own pace.Studio 4.jpg
High School for Recording Arts (9-12)joins a school with a commercial recording arts business, Studio 4. Their high-need students enroll because of an interest in popular music, hence the nickname, Hip Hop High. Records have been distributed nationally.

These experiential learning examples show the diversity among educational alternatives that parents, students and staff can choose from. Extending school choices for learning is the mission of IALA. This website's purpose is to promote thoughtful examination of the one-size-fits-all philosophy so much the central tenet of traditional education. We wish to assist policy makers and others who recognize the benefits of providing an array of educational choices.

Posted by Wayne Jennings at 11:32 AM | Comments (0)

July 19, 2005

Educational Choices in Other Countries

Carolyn Hoxby, Harvard economics professor, writes of her visit to What American Can Learn.jpg
New Zealand where she found a lively school choice program. She suggests a restaurant analogy where bad restaurants continue in business with a forced clientele vs. good restaurants that add tables or expand with new locations to serve a growing business or what she calls “supply flexibility.” Schools must have the autonomy to adjust their program, vary staff deployment and compensation and become available for parents to choose from.

New Zealand is but one country exploring school choice. A 2005 book, What America Can Learn from School Choice in Other Countries edited by David Salisbury and James Tooley describes programs in Sweden, Australia, Canada, Netherlands, New Zealand and other countries. Available from the Cato Institute.

Posted by Wayne Jennings at 10:01 AM | Comments (0)

July 18, 2005

School Reform from England

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Roland Meighan of Bramcote Hills, Nottingham, England and his group, Educational Heretics Press publish hard hitting commentary on conventional schooling. Their newsletter, The Journal of Personalized Education Now, describes the harsh reality of traditional practices on the human spirit and learning. You won't find more radical writing about education than with their publications including the extraordinarily thoughtful 2005 book, Comparing Learning Systems: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly and the Counter-Productive. They provide descriptions of new approaches to learning, vision statements, principles, alternatives to schools, critiques on testing, book reviews, upcoming conferences and more. They offer many books including several hard-to-find volumes.

Posted by Wayne Jennings at 08:39 AM | Comments (0)

July 10, 2005

Toolkit for Creating New High Schools

Jobs for the Future has a helpful guide, Building a Portfolio of High Schools: A Strategic Investment Toolkit for helping communities think through and complete a set of exercises to design new and successful high schools that serve all students. Presents a rationale for changing traditional high school so that low students do not fall through the cracks, complete school and are prepared for their next stage in life. The book establishes a framework for a study team that guides their decision making.

Posted by Wayne Jennings at 02:05 PM | Comments (0)

July 03, 2005

Montessori Conferences

Montessorit 2005 conf.jpg One of the options parents choose is Montessori education which generally are private schools but are now found increasingly as part of public education. We note two upcoming national conferences:

The ninth International Montessori Conference will be November 3-6, 2005 in Clearwater, Fl.

The second annual Tomorrow's Children/Tomorrow's Schools will be May 4-7, 2006 in Monterey, CA.

Posted by Wayne Jennings at 05:00 PM | Comments (0)