In the past few years our nation has recognized the challenge associated with educating students that consider themselves disenfranchised. The Silent Epidemic identified that our current education system is missing this large and ever-growing number of students. A major recommendation from that study was to increase alternative programs nationally. Time Magazine followed up shortly thereafter with A Dropout Nation which once again brought attention to the dropout pandemic and offered alternative education as a viable option. Experts agree that alternative education is a positive solution to meeting a wide array of challenges associated with the at-risk learner.
As you know, alternative programs are comprised of the hardest to reach students. Nonetheless, the most dedicated educators staff our programs and are willing to do whatever it takes to reach students. Alternative programs are often used as a means to identify, intervene, and recover potential dropouts, help districts meet performance standards, and reduce juvenile justice costs by providing interventions and wraparound services. In addition, alternative education supports No Child Left Behind, elementary, secondary and higher education, and promotes a viable workforce.
The NAEA and our membership are proud to report that many of our previous students are now tax contributors instead of consumers. The financial cost associated with providing high quality alternative education services is minor considering the returned investment over the student’s lifetime as a contributing member of society. Yet during this economic crisis, many of our programs are being eliminated and our students are not being served.
Below you will find an executive brief that was delivered to the new Obama Administration with recommendations on how to meet the needs of this challenging, at-risk population of learners. Briefly, those recommendations include the following: establish a task force, create an executive level position and corresponding infrastructure, develop a federal funding stream, and build and/or refurbish buildings to serve alternative education students.
Use the information below to join the conversation and become an advocate for your students and alternative education. Send emails to your elected officials!
The link below will direct your elected officials to the following document:
Promoting High Quality Alternative Education: An Executive Brief for the New Administration.