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Alternative school

In education, the phrase alternative school usually refers to a school based on a non-traditional, new, or non-standard educational philosophy. A wide range of philosophies and teaching methods are offered by alternative schools; some have strong political, scholarly, or philosophical orientations, while others are more ad-hoc assemblies of teachers and students dissatisfied with some aspect of mainstream education.

In the United States, most alternative schools are private or independent schools rather than public schools funded by the state; however, some public charter schools and magnet schools offer benefits similar to those of alternative schools and are inspired by similar ideas.

Types of alternative school

Broad categories of alternative schools include Montessori schools, Waldorf schools, Democratic Schools, and those based on Experiential education. Well-known individual examples include Summerhill School and The Putney School, as well as The Mountain School. The open-classroom philsophy of education, originating in Britain, also has a following among various educational insitutions in the United States.

Alternatives to traditional pedagogy are also pursued beyond secondary school, in university and especially liberal-arts college settings. Alternative college s include Hampshire College, the College of the Atlantic, Bard College, Sarah Lawrence College, and Friends World Program.

See also

Education reform -- Educational philosophy -- Progressive education -- Unschooling -- Home schooling -- Democratic school -- Free school -- Humanistic education -- Inquiry education -- School choice

Some U.S. states and school districts, such as those in western Massachusetts, also call their special-needs and remedial education programs "alternative schools".

Last updated: 12-15-2004 11:39:18