Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: February 22, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412957403 | Print ISBN: 9781412956642 | Online ISBN: 9781412957403| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Marge Blasy Mott
In the 1830s the first system of public education in the United States was organized to provide a common educational experience for all children. But from the very beginning, groups of parents and educators refused to take part. For whatever reason, be it religious, cultural, or personal, they chose alternative ways to educate their children. Alternative education is, quite literally, as old as the American educational system. The majority of children in the United States are educated in traditional public schools. Although this system works for most, the number of youth at risk of school failure has increased and the need for alternatives to public education is growing. Alternative schools have been created to meet the needs of students whose parents are looking for enhanced or unique learning experiences for their children. Alternative education, therefore, can be described in a broad sense to include educational programs or activities that take ...