Alternative Schools

A Reference Handbook

by Brenda Edgerton Conley


The United States spends more per elementary and secondary student than any other industrialized country except Switzerland. Yet in a 1995 study, U.S. students ranked well below the international average in math and science. Five years later, U.S. students had made the least progress—not only in math and science, but in the essential skill of reading.

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Cover image for Alternative Schools

November 2002


Pages 274
Volumes 1
Size 6x9
Topics Current Events and Issues/Education
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    Hardcover: £39.00/42,00€/A$65.00

An examination of the growth and development of alternative schools in American society and their role in the public school environment.

In Alternative Schools: A Reference Handbook, educator Brenda Edgerton Conley surveys the emerging alternatives to our conventional educational system—a system that is not only costly, but ineffective for many children.

In a resource aimed at a broad audience—school administrators, politicians, and, most important, parents—Conley offers both a historical and a present-day perspective on alternative educational programs. What sets the alternative education movement apart, she argues, is its acknowledgment that we all learn differently. That knowledge has given rise to an explosion of exciting alternatives—from open schools to home schooling, from charter schools to church schools. These alternative schools are smaller and less bureaucratic, more responsive to the community, and more receptive to change.


  • Describes the latest learning options, from blue-ribbon schools to virtual schools
  • Offers a detailed blueprint for organizing and administering alternative schools


  • Detailed descriptions of alternative education models from schools without walls to school-within-a-school
  • Insight into the continuing debate about public alternative education and public policy agendas that affect funding
Author Info

Brenda Edgerton Conley is chair of teacher education programs and assistant professor in the graduate school at the University of Maryland University College, Adelphi, MD.



"[P]rovides educators with the history, purpose and impact of alternative education in the U.S. . . . The book can be used as a resource for ways to support school improvement."District Administration

"[I]n this comprehensive and well-written addition to the series, the author presents brief descriptions of 20 currently available alternative learning options, such as school without walls, charter schools, and magnet schools. In addition, summaries of numerous model or innovative alternative curricular methods and programs are provided, along with directories of alternative programs currently in operation in public, private, and independent schools in the United States . . . will be a tremendously useful resource for teachers, parents, teacher educators, administrators, and students of education. It is highly recommended for both academic and public libraries."American Reference Books Annual

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