Alternative Schools Matter
"Nationwide, alternative schools and programs are not closely tracked — the last count was 10,900 by federal education officials in 2001 — but some estimates have put the number at more than 12,000 when private schools are included. Districts from Farmington, Conn., to Vista, Calif., have started alternative schools in the past three years, while many others are considering them, including the Roslyn district on Long Island, which has not had an alternative school for more than a decade.
“The reality is that every school district could use a Village School because one size does not fit all,” said Dan Brenner, an assistant Roslyn superintendent who was principal of the Village School from 1993 to 2000."I have to believe that Seattle probably has more alternative schools than other districts around the country given the numbers stated in the article. There must have been a willingness in the '80s (when a lot of our alternatives were developed) to listen to parents. It's interesting that of the alternatives produced later on - AAA, New School and Center School - one (AAA) is still classified as alternative (but has not been either successful or popular and is unlikely to retain its all-city draw status, if indeed, we come out of the assignment plan with that still in place), New School was developed by an outside foundation (and has been able to shake off the "alternative" tag even though it seems more alternative than most schools) and Center School, because of its size and focus, seems alternative, is classified as "non-traditional" and wants to get the distance tie-breaker taken off the table for its assignments (it could happen but unfortunately I also think transportation could be taken off the table as well).