The alternative schools of today represent innovation and change. The restructuring of the schools is most clearly presented in the example of alternatives that aim towards distinction in regularities of schooling. Furthermore, the alternative schooling represents everything that a reform of traditional schools would capture. Such schooling puts a focus on a theme, gives choice to the teacher and the student, boosts the learner engagement and downsizes the number of students. Still, alternative schooling is yet often frown upon and is not adopted as wide as one would expect.
In order to get deeper into the pros and cons of implementing alternative schooling, I would first like to explain the purpose of such change. Alternative schools are primarily designed to help those who had not been well served in the traditional classroom. Therefore, an alternative schooling system departures greatly from the programs and organization of standard schooling. This, however, does not mean that alternative schools are solely aimed towards unsuccessful students that cannot succeed in the standard schooling system. Innovation and creativity in schooling has actually proved to be a trait for everyone.
The first reason why this schooling system is not widespread just yet are the numerous types of alternatives. Generally speaking, there are three key types of alternative schooling, out of which all serve a distinct purpose and result in different advantages.
The first type or Popular Innovations makes the school challenging for the students. According to Hawley (1991) this type of schools are the clearest example of 'restructured' schools. Aside from being a restructured form, type 1 alternative is also the most popular. The aim of this type of schooling is to emphasis content and instructional strategy in the classroom.
The second type is referred to as Last-Chance Programs. These programs include suspension programs located in the school, longer-term placement and cool-out rooms. The main focus of such alternative schooling is to sentence the students but with an alternative surrounding and principle. By doing this, the program aims towards modifying the behavior and the pedagogy.
The final type of alternative schooling (Remedial Focus) is aimed towards academic and social rehabilitation. The idea here is to accept students to return after a successful treatment, by allowing them to grow socially and emotionally. Foley and Crull (1989) have said that this alternative emphasizes the school as a community.
Aside from the difference between the three types of alternative schooling and their completely different principles, there are many disadvantages connected to their functioning. For example, the Florida State Alternative Education Program has concluded that type 2 programs yielded almost no benefits to the students
that were schooled in it. This change in program did not make a difference in suspensions, expulsions, dropout rates and corporal punishment whatsoever.
The results were better for type 3 school, but there are still disadvantages for this type of schooling too. This schooling alternative is costly and somewhat temporarily. According to Frazer and Baenen (1988), students return to their disruptive behavior when they return to the traditional schooling system.Conclusion
After listing the disadvantages and reasons why alternative schooling is yet not implemented in many countries worldwide, I would conclude that it still remains to be seen whether alternative schools will become more frequently applied to the educational systems. Comparing the many advantages of such schooling to the disadvantages such as cost, long-term results and effectiveness makes the introduction of alternative schooling in education a still unresolved question.