quote:I've never been a wishful or idealistic thinker, I like to deal with reality. And there is no chance that the US is going to simply shut down entire schools systems. Needless to say mandatory schooling is here to stay. So let's come up with solutions that have root in reality.
Reality is a construct and "mandatory schooling" can be abolished with organization. I, for one, would definitely work toward that goal if it was presented to me. Until then, I agree, reform is all we have.
quote:The only issue that I have with alternative schools is that in some cases (emphasis on some), parents place their children in alternative programs as a way to prolong addressing deeper, underlying issues (e.g., lack of discipline, poor parenting, absentee father, sexual and/or physical abuse, etc.).
This is problematic in ALL types of schools - not just alternative learning environments.
The emphasis on including mental health professionals at any school, traditional or otherwise, is a key component in addressing the issues you raised. Our children come to school with a host of issues unknown to educators. Alternative schools are better prepared to deal with these types of problems than large schools that sheppard children through a maze of emotionally disconnected learning environments.
For example, John lives in a shelter with his mother and sister, and he falls asleep in class. In a traditional school, John (especially if he is Black and / or poor) is at high risk of being rushed into a catagory where he is marked as learning impaired or disabled. In an alternative setting, John is more likely exposed to educational professionals that will use a holistic approach aimed at solving the problem.