Alternative American Schools

Ideals in Action

By Claire V. Korn

Subjects: Education
Paperback : 9780791404720, 170 pages, January 1991
Hardcover : 9780791404713, 170 pages, January 1991

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Table of contents

1. Explanations and an Introduction

2. One Teacher's Day

3. A History and Open Education

4. Child-Directed and Community-Oriented Schools

5. What and Who: Curriculum and Staffing

6. More Common Ground

7. Fears of Parents: Will My Child Learn?

8. More Worries

9. Survival Needs

10. Afterwords

Appendix: School Models




Alternative American Schools: Ideals in Action is a book for parents and teachers, for education professors, researchers, and students—indeed, for everyone who wants to understand the daily practices and philosophies of schools where awakening interests and learning how to learn is more important than content mastery. Drawing upon years of research and personal experiences, Korn clearly discusses fundamental contemporary educational issues through an analysis of seven long-lived, open, alternative schools, preschool through high school, public and private.

This clearly written book explores the cooperative (and sometimes confusing) roles of teachers, students, and parents in these schools of choice; it also discusses their philosophical, financial, and physical survival needs. Once popularly dismissed as failed dreams, today these open learning environments continue to flourish and provide educational options to many enthusiastic learners.

Claire V. Korn's interests in alternative education are both theoretical and practical. With an M.A. in Child Psychology from the University of Minnesota and a Ph.D. in Counseling and Guidance from Stanford University, she founded and directed a small, private alternative middle school. Over the years, she has worked as a psychotherapist, school psychologist, researcher, and university teacher of counselors. Currently, Dr. Korn is a free-lance educational writer and consultant.


"As a parent who had to make the difficult decision to send my child to an alternative school without the benefit of Dr. Korn's book, I can safely say that Alternative American Schools: Ideals in Action would have made the choice far easier. Dr. Korn not only anticipated all the questions I had, but she answered them in a way that both validates my experiences and adds considerably to my understanding of why open education works so well. This book is a must for all parents." — Leslie Stambaugh, parent

"This text does an excellent job of combining the advantages of case studies, with all of their vividness and appeal, with those of a more typical text attempting generalization and broad application. I know of no current work that undertakes anything like this for alternative schools." — Mary Anne Raywid, Professor of Education, Center for the Study of Educational Alternatives, Hofstra University