IALA July 2009 News Items

School Choice Expanding Worldwide by Wayne Jennings
Since the early 1990s when the nation’s first charter school was opened in St. Paul, MN, the scope and availability of school-based options to parents has steadily expanded in the U.S. and abroad. No longer can traditional education be a public monopoly. Sponsored by the National Center on School Choice (NCSC), this 648 page ($115) Handbook of Research on School Choice  studies K-12 school choice. Coverage includes charters, vouchers, home schooling, magnet schools, cyber schools, and other forms of choice, with the ultimate goal of defining the current state of this evolving field of research, policy, and practice.

National and State Alternative Education Conferences by Wayne Jennings

The Intenational Democratic Education Conference will be August 1-8, 2009 in Chuncheon City and Seoul, Korea.

The National Center on School Choice will hold its 2nd conference October 25-27, 2009 at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN.

The North Carolina Association of Alternative Educators will hold its conference Oct. 27-29, 2009 in Winston-Salem.

The National Alternative Education Association will hold its annual conference Jan. 20-23 in San Antonio.

The Texas Association for Alternative Education will hold its 20th annual conference Feb. 4-6, 2010 in Austin.

The Minnesota Association for Alternative Program will hold its annual conference Feb. 10-12, 2010 in Duluth, MN.

The 5th annual Reaching At-Promise Youth national conference will be Feb. 19-21, 2010 in San Diego.

The National Youth Leadership Council will hold its 21st annual National Service-Learning conference March 24-27, 2010 in San Jose, CA.

Range of Alternatives by Wayne Jennings
We recently created the outline below showing the kinds of choices available to students in some parts of Minnesota. This may be similar to other states. By no means are all of these alternatives available to all students in all places but it represents a major shift in what parents had to choose from in 1970 which was almost nothing in the public sector. In that sense it represents major progress in the IALA mission of leading, promoting and supporting learning alternatives in education to better match needs of every child. Of course, much remains to be done to reach the policy that every state and the federal government provide a choice of different programs for each child.

Minnesota Options for Students: 1. State approved alternative programs (SAAP) (Area learning centers (ALC), Contract schools , Alternative programs ). 2. Charter schools. 3. Online/distant learning schools.  4. Traditional schools. 5. Magnet schools. 6. Post secondary enrollment options (early college enrollment). 7. Open enrollment. 8. Nonpublic schools. 9. Programmatic schools. Open education (Core knowledge, Subject: performing arts, science, Experiential and community based, Project based, Waldorf, Montessori). 10. Recovery schools. 11. Democratic schools

Homeschooling Sharp Increase
The percentage of the school-age population that was home-schooled showed a significant increase from 2.2% in 2003 to 2.9% in 2007 according to a U.S. Department of Education report. The number of home-schooled kids hit 1.5 million in 2007, up 36% since 2003. The report identified seven reasons parents give as their motivation for home-schooling their children.

Choice of Education Is Advancing
Peter Groff, chair of the Colorado Senate wants to see 100 new schools for students to choose from. The Initiative called Get Smart Schools will be launched shortly. Already two new schools will open next fall: Envision and Atlas. Chicago and New York are cited as having opened new schools (55 and 88 respectively) in the last few years. Florida has just passed a sweeping requirement that all districts must offer full time online learning programs for their K-12 students.

IALA www.learningalternatives.net

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