November 07, 2005

Black Alliance for Educational Options

The Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) strives to ensure that quality educational alternatives are available to Black families. Their web site contains definitions and other information on the many types of parental choices now present in schools including the following:

-Charter Schools
-Home Schooling
-Innovations in Traditional Public Schools
-Privately Financed Scholarships
-Public School Contracts with Private Organizations
-Supplementary Education Programs
-Tax-Supported Scholarships (Vouchers)
-Tuition Tax Credits and Deductions
-School Choice Glossary

BAEO leads the fight to empower parents, particularly low income parents, to choose educational programs that help their children succeed.
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Posted by Wayne Jennings at 12:13 PM | Comments (0)

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

December 11, 2004

District Choices

More often these days, school districts offer a variety of choices. This might be to meet the growing competition for students from charter schools, nonpublic schools and homeschooling, all of which have eaten into district enrollments. Other reasons for offering choices include catering to student interests or ways of learning and to provide for a greater diversity of students. Choices include schools with special themes such as science, technology, health careers, arts, open education. Here are a few examples of how districts offer, in some cases, a blizzard of choices: Saint Paul Public Schools with 30 choices; Seattle Public Schools; some 27 Small Learning Communities in the Minneapolis Public Schools; Kansas City Public Schools (MO) with 30 magnet schools; About 30 choices in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

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Posted by Wayne Jennings at 01:31 PM

Homeschooling Increasing

Evidence of increased homeschooling comes from several sources with parents expressing a greater variety of interests. About 30 percent object to conventional school environments, about 30 want a values or religious tone, about 15 percent want a different academic focus, about 7 percent want their child's particular interest served. An article in the St. Louis Post Dispatch describes these factors. Authoritive information on homeschooling can be found on the U.S. Dept. of Education. The Parent-Directed Education website has a wealth of information and links.

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Posted by Wayne Jennings at 01:22 PM

June 11, 2004

Homeschooling as a Learning Alternative

Home schooling, as a learning alternative, has grown rapidly over the past two decades. The US Department of Education estimates approximately one million students being homeschooled-- about 2% of the public education base. Homeschooling is usually divided into two broad categories: religious-values based and progressive education. These differ considerably with the religious based emphasizing more traditional school content and methods. The progressive group is more child-centered and student-directed, sometimes bordering on unschooling. For an example of the second group, the Minnesota Homeschooling Alliance's web site contains a vast array of information. For an example of the more traditional see the Minnesota Association of Christian Home Educators.

Homeschooling took off in the U.S. when Life magazine published a story of an entirely homeschooled student accepted at Harvard, as were his two brothers. This story is captured splendidly in the parent authored book, Homeschooling for Excellence by David and Micki Colfax.


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Posted by Wayne Jennings at 09:06 AM

May 04, 2004

Virtual Schools, More Choices

The US Department of Education estimates that 50,000 students from 37 states attend virtual schools either full or part-time, a very rapidly expanding sector of school choice. Though critics worry about the lack of social contact and lack of regulation, parents are making the selection just as they do in the realm of homeschooling. The schools range from progressive to traditional and raise a host of questions about funding and other issues. A good article appeared in the Christian Science Monitor

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Posted by Wayne Jennings at 12:18 PM

March 25, 2004

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

November 23, 2003

Home Schooling Doubles in a Decade

Another form of learning alternative is home schooling which has taken off rapidly in the U.S. during the past decade. The U.S. Department of Education study estimates some 850,000 students are home schooled up from 360,000 a decade ago. A story from the New York Times describes one family's reaction and provides other useful information.

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Posted by Wayne Jennings at 09:32 PM