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Alternative school

In education, the phrase alternative school usually refers to a school based on a non-traditional, new, or non-standard educational philosophy. A wide range of philosophies and teaching methods are offered by alternative schools; some have strong political, scholarly, or philosophical orientations, while others are more ad-hoc assemblies of teachers and students dissatisfied with some aspect of mainstream education.

In the United States, most alternative schools are private or independent schools rather than public schools funded by the state; however, some public charter schools and magnet schools offer benefits similar to those of alternative schools and are inspired by similar ideas.

Types of alternative school

Broad categories of alternative schools include Montessori schools, Waldorf schools, and Democratic Schools. Well-known individual examples include Summerhill School and The Putney School.

Alternatives to traditional pedagogy are also pursued beyond secondary school, in university and especially liberal-arts college settings. Alternative colleges include Hampshire College, the College of the Atlantic, Bard College, and Sarah Lawrence College.

See also

Education reform -- Educational philosophy -- Progressive education -- Unschooling -- Home schooling -- Democratic school -- Free school -- Humanistic education -- Inquiry education -- School choice

Some U.S. states and school districts, such as those in western Massachusetts, also call their special-needs and remedial education programs "alternative schools".