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July 16, 2006

Astonishing Variety of Options in California

In addition to 600 charter schools, California has some 4,000 educational option schools serving 500,000 students. Though some of the programs serve students K-12, it is estimated that one of every six high school students are involved with educational options.

While a variety of programs serve at-risk students, other programs include independent study, magnet schools, middle colleges and alternative schools of choice. For some of these schools, the Superintendent of Public Education can waive any provision of the California education code except those for health and safety.

Much of this astonishing array of programs arose from a comprehensive report by the California Commission for Reform of Intermediate and Secondary Education (RISE Commission, 1975).

Among the goals of alternative schools and programs of choice, as stated in Education Code Section 58500, are the following:

-Maximize the opportunity for students to develop the positive values of self-reliance, initiative, kindness, spontaneity, resourcefulness, courage, creativity, responsibility, and joy.

-Recognize that the best learning takes place when the student learns because of his or her desire to learn.

-Maintain a learning situation in which maximum use is made of student self-motivation and in which students are encouraged to use their own time to follow their own interests. These interests may be conceived totally and independently by the student, or as a result of a presentation by the student's teacher(s) of choice.

Posted by Wayne Jennings at 09:54 PM | Comments (0)

July 07, 2006

Extraordinary Data Base: Kids Count

Kid with blocks.jpg
The Annie E. Casey Foundation has released its 2006 Kids Count: State Level Data Online. This rich database in easy to read charts provides a state by state and national comparison of information over the past five or more years. For example, one can view in each state the percent of teens not attending school and not working year by year from 1999 to 2003 for a trend line compared to national data.

The wealth of data covers ten areas including education, infancy, health, employment, teen risk behaviors, etc. These are broken into 75 subtopics with charts. Anyone preparing proposals or seeking a rationale or justification for program design will find valuable, authoritative data. All are free to use the information with attribution.

The report can be viewed online or a free copy can be ordered.

Posted by Wayne Jennings at 02:45 PM | Comments (0)