Alternative Schools

Lily McDonald, Writer

The American public school system is very set in stone. There are certain ways we go about things, certain ways we’re taught, that rarely change. While there are accommodations for those with IEPs, what are other options?

There’s something called alternative schools. Think boarding schools, magnet schools, homeschooling. Students that go to these schools might be those with behavioral issues, learning disabilities, specialized skills, etc. But I think there’s something to learn from these schools for standard education too.

One thing these schools do that is harder to find in traditional schools is specialized learning that caters to the student’s needs. In public education, classrooms look pretty much the same. There’s always lectures, note taking, assignments, maybe some group work. Despite there being different learning styles, despite the knowledge that humans are meant to move around and not stay sitting all day, the school structure stays the same. It’s sedentary, when we should be up and moving more. It’s stuck inside of a learning box that a lot of kids don’t fit into. 

But, alternative schools do have a flaw. Because they’re mostly based on what the school administration or students want, the rules can vary. There may be a gradeless system implemented at a school, which is hard when a lot of the world of education revolves around grades. If the student chooses to go to college, that could impact their chances. Testing and transcripts is a major part of applying to most colleges and having that obstacle could affect a lot. 

I think there are aspects of both that we should adapt into the education system. While it will never be perfect, it’s important that we make the systems as best as possible, since everyone grows up going to school and it can shape their whole life. Students should be centered in these systems, since they’re the ones learning from it and being affected by it.