Alternative Education

Californians will weigh in on bilingual education this fall through Proposition 58, which seeks to overturn a previous proposition's directive for public schools to teach English-language learners exclusively in English.

When I worked with students with severe behavioral disabilities in a residential setting, we used a Time Out room.  Students that broke a classroom or cottage rule and became out-of-control because of the punishment were taken to the room for a cooling off period.  Needless to say, at times that was difficult as an adult to watch a student be placed behind closed doors while they were releasing their anger.  However, according to The Washington Post, school officials at the Capital City Alternative School in Jackson, Miss. have taken discipline to a whole new level.  Reports indicate that students are being shackled to railings and poles for hours at a time for minor violations.

Zero tolerance policies mandate certain punishments for offenses at school regardless of the circumstances. But questions about how those policies are enforced are being raised due to the high number of minority students and students with disabilities that are suspended each year.

Getting a handle on the nation's graduation rate has been difficult because states use different criteria to measure the percentage of students leaving high school with a diploma. However, starting this year, new federal guidelines will require states to use a unified definition and to set graduation rate targets.

Suggested State Legislation:  This Act allows colleges and universities to offer programs to enable qualified students to earn a high school diploma while earning credits for a certificate program, an associate's or a baccalaureate degree. This Act also establishes a Double Up for College Dual High School-College Credit Program enabling high schools to offer at least two dual credit and advanced placement courses each year to high school students.