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The Role of Alt Ed Today

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The November/December issue of Teacher Magazine highlights alternative education, with stories on an aquaculture-focused high school, a "self-directed learning center" for homeschoolers, and school district workshops for parents, plus a Q & A with the director of a school with no compulsory classes. What links all these efforts, says Teachers' Executive Editor Scott J. Cech, is that they pursue student improvement "from different angles and different dimensions."

What does alternative education mean to you? What is its role in today's often increasingly regimented education environment? What can traditional schools learn from alt ed programs—and vice versa?

4 Comments

In too many school districts, the term "alternate education" is used as a codeword for a place to send troublemakers and disciplinary problems, not as a way to reach students for whom the traditional classroom is not the best learning environment. If we were more serious about providing differentiated instruction within all classrooms, at all levels, and supporting the real work of teachers, alternative education would not be the exception, it would be the norm.

I'm a public school educator with a 15 yo son who just wasn't happy with our school and not wanting to go and at risk of dropping out despite being involved in athletics. He has the opportunity now of attending a day alt. ed. school 45 mins. from home, due to his sped coding they pay for it, and he can still do sports! HE's loving school now working outdoors on excavation equipment and learning auto mechanics.. Thank God Alternative Ed. isn't just a room down the hall for the "troubled kids" anymore in our DISTRICT! NOw, if only non-sped kiddos could access this service life would be much more equitable for the "grey area' kiddos too.

Comparing recent educational theories/teaching approach with our traditional approach and traditional theories I think there's a sort of boundary line represented by a different interpretation and aproaching of children conflict.
An alternate education in neecessary to improve and make effective our job.
even if this make a kind of misunderstanding between "traditional" and "researcher" teachers!

As a teacher of middle school,high school and alternative ed, I believe the role of the alt. ed school is more critical than ever. Not all students learn effectively in the regimented programs at a regular school or even the size of regular schools. We look at alternative ed as a placement for bad kids. I like to think if a kid is acting out badly in school, that placement is not working for him. Sometimes it takes a few different places to find a place that works, but it is worth the effort. I have seen kids blossom at alternative ed assignments. One benefit of NCLB is that it forces us to recognize that not all kids learn in the same way or in the same type of environment. Alternative is not a negative word in the dictionary. It is another option. We need to look at how we look at unsuccessful students and remove that negativity from the equation so that it becomes more acceptable to pursue alternative avenues for unsuccessul students.

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Recent Comments

  • Robin-Teacher: As a teacher of middle school,high school and alternative ed, read more
  • sabrina De Lazzaro: Comparing recent educational theories/teaching approach with our traditional approach and read more
  • Lindy Cluff: I'm a public school educator with a 15 yo son read more
  • Renee Moore, NBCT: In too many school districts, the term "alternate education" read more

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