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|Conflict Resolution||School Choice|
In the wake of significant concern and frustration surrounding our current public school system, forms of alternative education continue to thrive and abound. Many parents are dissatisfied with the quality of the education their children receive in the public school system. Others may have religious or political reasons to seek alternative schooling. Still more may simply feel that their children are unsafe in the public school system. All of these groups often turn to one of four types of alternative education - nontraditional schools, home schools, charter schools, and independent schools.
Nontraditional schools are just that - a form of alternative education with nontraditional methods. They often teach in a radically different manner, sometimes without using grades or the typical teacher resources, such as rubrics, lesson plans, and worksheets. It is difficult to place all of these schools in one category because they vary so differently based on their individual philosophies on education. Often, parents who place their students in these institutions do so because they agree with the school's educational philosophy.
Other forms of alternative education, known as independent schools, are often more traditional in their methods, but the worldview of their curriculum differs significantly from that of the public school system. Religious schools are an excellent example. While their methods are similar, their content has a religious element in almost all aspects of each course. Teachers build religious elements into their lesson plans, and teacher resources include ideas and worksheets for incorporating religion in the classroom. Parents who place their students in these schools often do so for one of two reasons (or both) - either they agree with the school's worldview, or they feel that the religious schools offer a more rigorous, and therefore superior, education.
Charter schools have been given much media attention in the United States in the past decade and have seen a significant increase in popularity. While they are a form alternative education, charter schools are publicly funded schools, but they have more freedom and choice in their policies and curriculum. In return for their freedom, they are required to produce better results than the public school system. Most of these schools have long waiting lists, as they are tuition free, but have a superior academic reputation compared to public schools.
Finally, home schooling is another increasingly popular option. For alternative education. Students who are home schooled are typically directed in their learning by their parents. However, parents often do not come up with the curriculum alone. There are large associations of home-schooling parents that have curriculum, teacher resources, and networking opportunities for parents who choose this option. Parents who choose this option do so for a variety of reasons, including differences in religious or political philosophy and concerns for safety. Some choose this option because they travel regularly, making enrollment in a traditional school setting difficult or almost impossible. Options abound for parents who are looking for an opportunity to pursue their children's education outside of the public school system. As unrest with the current public system grows, and if funding for the public system continues to shrink, it is likely that alternative education will continue to increase in popularity.