A Study of Alternatives in American Education

Vol. I, District Policies and the Implementation of Change

by Gail V. Bass-Golod

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The first volume in a series documenting a study of alternative schools in American education. The present report analyzes the establishment of public alternative schools and programs from the perspective of school district management. It poses the following key questions: Why do school districts initiate alternative programs? What management issues do districts encounter in attempting to create diversity and choice within the framework of the public schools? What district strategies increase the likelihood of alternatives' being effectively implemented and becoming a stable part of district operations? To answer these questions, four school districts that have introduced alternative programs in their schools are analyzed: Alum Rock, Cincinnati, Eugene, and Minneapolis. Their experience suggests that if alternative systems are to survive in the long run, district officials must take an active and supportive stance during their implementation. Furthermore, because alternatives may serve substantially different functions in different districts, the roles played by district officials should vary accordingly.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

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