Author Archives: Wayne Jennings

Videos of New Types of Schools

A ten part set of short videos (about ten minutes each) describe Mission Hill K-8 School in Boston, an elementary school founded by Deborah Meier. The school a part of the Boston public school has greater decision making authority as a “pilot” school and emphasizes democratic principles. The video series, A Year at Mission Hill [...]

Could Students Design Their Own Education?

An article in the Washington Post describes a high school pilot program (school within the school) where students were given total freedom to decide and implement their education. The students describe the program’s operation in a video. They describe greater dedication, engagement, interest and energy in self-selected areas of interests, skills and competencies and as [...]

National and State Alternative Education Conferences

Mark your calendar for any of the following conferences about alternatives of interest to you or colleagues. The 11th annual AERO conference will be held June 26-29, 2014 at Long Island University campus, near New York City. The annual 32nd Minnesota Association for Alternative Programs will be held February 11-13, 2015. The National At-Risk Education [...]

50 Unique Colleges

Start Building Your Unique Future is a website helping students determine higher education options. Their 50 Unique Colleges Every Non-Traditional Student Should Consider lists an an exciting group of universities with descriptions and links. These include Evergreen State College, College of the Atlantic, Goucher College, Naropa University, Antioch College and 45 more including online colleges. [...]

Australia Choices Study

Learning Choices: A Map for the Future, a comprehensive national report, describes the existing education choices in Australia for secondary age youth. It pulls together existing research and evidence, summarizes data and findings, identifies gaps in knowledge and offers recommendations. The report includes a valuable resource of other research on Australian alternative education. This is [...]

Expanding Choices

IALA promotes learning alternatives for all. One size education does not fit all: therefore, options must be made available. That’s the direction for the future. Here are two resources highly supportive of that aim. The Brown Center on Educational Policy at the Brookings Institution has published “Expanding Choice In Elementary and Secondary Education: A Report on [...]

Competencies for Teaching and Learning

A major option has arose around the concept of competencies for both teachers and students. For decades, the greatest underlying debate over the direction of education has been subject matter mastery versus competencies for life. For example, it is argued that mastery of social studies, math, science and language arts will produce a successful adult. [...]

Learning Not Schooling

Don Glines, who has the premier book on educational alternatives (available in our store), has written Declaring War against Schooling: Personalized Learning Now. Dr. Glines has distilled 50 years of his forward thinking and practice into this profoundly important work. He finds that research supports radically different kinds of schools. In fact, the word “school “carries [...]

Institute for Democratic Education in America

A fairly new organization the, Institute for Democratic Education in America identifies critical areas for learning that “equip every human being to participate fully in a healthy democracy.” Their website urges reinventing education strategically, collaboratively, and sustainably. It offers examples, links, definitions, invitations to become involved and a host of resources. Clearly, an up-and-coming organization [...]

School Choice Necessary for Education

The Brown Center on Education at Brookings published a system for ranking school districts on how much choice of educational programs is afforded children. They argue that options are necessary  and valuable in an article and short video. Their rank of 25 large cities on 13 criteria ranges from grades B to D.  Their booklet Expanding [...]

Reshaping National Assessment Policy

Harold Berlak, an experienced educator writes: “Dozens of professional educational associations corporate lobbies, think tanks, have offered proposals for reauthorizing ESEA/ NCLB. I summarize and offer commentary on key proposals of three prominent organizations….”  They are The Forum on Educational Accountability, Broader Bolder Approach to Education (an offshoot of Economic Policy Institute), Forum for Education [...]

Social and Emotional Learning Impact

CASEL, the Collaborative for Academic Social and Emotional Learning has promoted a thorough study, “The Impact of Enhancing Students’ Social and Emotional Learning: A Meta-Analysis of School-Based Universal Interventions,” on the impact on social and emotional learning. Encompassing 213 studies involving 270,000 students, the authors find significant impacts from practices not only on academic learning but [...]

Online Learning Resources

Online learning, virtual schools, cyber schools, blended learning terms apply to the fastest growing area of learning alternatives, both K-12 and higher education. The International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) a nonprofit representing 3,800 members tracks advocacy, networking, professional growth and research areas. They provide or list webinars, conferences and news. A new website OnlineSchools.com aims to be a [...]

Leaders Affirm the Importance of Choice

The Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) and the US Department of Education assembled leaders from 20 of the largest school district for a discussion of providing choices. Their report Reforming Districts Through Choice, Autonomy, Equity, and Accountability: An Overview of the Voluntary Public School Choice Directors Meeting strongly affirmed the importance of providing learning alternatives [...]

Whyville, Home to 6 Million Students

The developer in 1999 of Whyville, Dr. James Bower gives a delightful talk entitled, The Death of Textbooks, Emergence of Games in a little over an hour webinar and describes the fascination young students have with creating an alter ego (avatar) and a whole new world to shape and manipulate. Whyville now attracts 5,000 teachers and some 6.8 [...]