A descriptive study of selected alternative education schools and programs
The purpose of this study was to make a detailed study and analysis of a selected number of alternative schools or programs. The institutions were studied in terms of their development, their offerings, and their successes or failures.The population of the study consisted of 156 program directors who returned usable questionnaires and five program directors whose programs were visited and studied by the investigator. Two instruments were used to secure the data for the study. Each of the two instruments contained thirty-two items with basically the same information. The first instrument was a questionnaire which was mailed to 200 program directors. One hundred fifty-six of the 200 program directors surveyed returned usable responses. The second instrument used to secure data from the directors of five programs identified for on-site visits was an interview guide. Selected findings derived from the questionnaire data included the following: 1. The majority of the 156 alternative programs whose directors responded reported that their 2 programs were for problem students mainly dropouts, potential dropouts, truants or pregnant girls. 2. Most programs whose directors responded were initially and currently funded by school districts in which they are located. 3. Forty-five and five-tenths percent had less than 99 students while 7.1 percent had more than 500 students in each. 4. Among some of the problems cited by directors were: absenteeism, students' lack of sense of direction, students' lack of future plans, lack of program funds, and lack of adequate facilities. Some of the findings derived from on-site data were summarized as follows: The five programs were controlled by the public school systems in which they were situated. In each of the five programs teachers and directors were in charge of the programs' daily governance. The five programs studied had a mixture of conventional and alternative education course offerings. 4. Directors reported an improved rate of school attendance among students. Some of the conclusions developed from the study included the following: Alternative schools or programs are a result of a need to provide options for students and parents. 2. Alternative education provides opportunities to students who cannot be accommodated by conventional public schools.3. Lack of adequate funds seems to be a common problem among alternative school programs. 4. Most chief administrators of alternative programs are responsible for hiring teaching staff members. Following are some of the recommendations made for further research in the area of alternative education: 1. There is need for further research in the area of program longevity to determine specifically why many programs are defunct after being in existence for less than five years. 2. Further research is needed to determine the unique qualities that an alternative program teacher should possess. 3. There is a need for further research in the area of alternative program success. 4. There is a need for further research regarding the desirable qualities of an effective alternative program director.