Many school districts offer alternative education programs for their students who do not succeed in the regular classroom. At the high school level, many of these programs are separated from the regular schools. It seemed that many districts were establishing alternative education programs, but there were differences in the types of programs that were being established and the programs focuses. The team decided to look at alternative education to determine what factors led to successful programs. After reviewing some literature and looking at some state policy for alternative education, the team decided to focus on an analysis of the state policy that guides alternative education in the fifty states and District of Columbia.
To perform this analysis, the team decided to review the literature available on alternative education specifically focusing on those factors that lead to successful experiences for at-risk students in an alternative setting. Based on the review of the literature, the team developed four standards with which to evaluate the states' policies on alternative education. The four standards were: (1) Organization and Structure of Alternative Schools. (2) Curriculum. (3) Leadership. (4) School Climate.
State policy was evaluated against these standards to determine the degree to which states adhered to what the team considered the best practices for alternative education based what the literature suggested.
The team discovered that most states have policy for alternative education, but very few met the team's definition of high quality. It was apparent that the states' policies focused more on organizational structure and curriculum than they did on culture and leadership. One state, Tennessee, had what the team considered to be a model policy for alternative education. The team scored Tennessee high quality in nearly every category of alternative education policy. States planning to revise their policies would do well to review Tennessee's alternative education policy as a starting point. Finally, recommendations were made on each standard for future policy writers.
|School:||Saint Louis University|
|School Location:||United States -- Missouri|
|Source:||DAI-A 71/04, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||School administration, School counseling|
|Keywords:||Alternative education, Alternative education policy, Alternative program, Alternative school, Alternative schools, At-risk students, State policy|
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