Alternative Education

A Broad View

 You’ve heard, I’m sure, the term alternative education.  But what does that mean really?

 In a broad sense, alternative education is any non-traditional educational style that may be geared toward children who do not do well in a traditional academic setting.

 Sometimes, alternative education is narrowly focused toward a particular type of student or group of students - college preparation could be a focus, for example, or environmental education. Even a particular religion may have a form of education that is considered alternative. Some alternative education is geared toward troubled students or those who have dropped out of school.

 One thing that is generally true about all alternative education is that it seeks to offer students a choice of educational style and experience which varies from the norm.

 Types of Alternative Education

* One type of public alternative education that is becoming more well known is the charter school. While publicly funded (for the most part), charter schools are something like a private school. Educators can customize the type of learning environment to fit the needs of their particular community. They have been called "schools of choice," and this is probably because charter schools offer an alternative to a traditional public school.

 Many rules and regulations placed upon public schools do not apply to charter schools.

* Uniquely structured schools such as Waldorf, Montessori, and Paideia schools are alternative educational experiences. These types of schools are usually structured around a particular philosophy or approach.

* Career-themed schools offer education in various careers as well as traditional academic subjects. Career-themed schools may enhance standard school subjects with experience in arts, law, television, radio, teaching, and so forth.

* The school-within-a-school model was inspired by the benefits observed in smaller-scale schooling. Some large schools, then, developed a type of "downsized" education where mini schools exist independently within the larger one. The autonomous nature of the school-within-a-school makes it distinct from just a group within the school.

* Home schooling is a form of private alternative education. Home schooling is quite varied, but home-schooled students usually have to submit to some kind of evaluation by education authorities each year.

* Unschooling also comes under the category of private alternative education. Unschoolers do not necessarily adhere to a curriculum, but follow their child's lead in learning style and subject matter.

Alternative education is usually sought by parents or educators who want more opportunity, greater individual attention, and alternative high teaching standards for their students.


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