I think alternative schools are a very positive thing. They all obviously serve a purpose that a population found was lacking in the public schools. I believe in fully integrated public schools that meet the needs of diverse students but I also understand that there are currently many limitations within the public system.
Through my time working at an alternative school, I definitely understand that some students need a completely different version of school to even begin to see the potential benefits of education. There are also elements, such as specific religious instruction, sole adherence to specific instructional strategies and methods, and providing appropriate level and pacing of content that are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to approach without heavy criticism, in any one given class. Home schooling is also an alternative schooling option, that I have seen work wonderfully for families with the space, time, and abilities to provide it. Obviously, none of us are going to get a job in such cases, so it’s not a topic we would discuss, but I do feel conflicted sometimes, weighing the benefits of homeschooling my children and leaving their education up to the public system.
Back to private schools, I feel as though privately funded schools can provide a better education in ways, and thereby privileging those with the money to afford a “superior” level of education, and class divisions may be perpetuated. Parents just want the best for their children, and if that, in part, includes sending them to a private school, then I think it’s hard to fault them.