Adam Kho, Assistant Professor of Education, University of Southern California
The Impact of Mainstream School Accountability Measures on Alternative School Enrollment
Alternative schools have often been excluded from education policies and research. Yet, they serve a significant proportion of students often deemed unsuccessful in mainstream schools. Although proponents of alternative schools point to the importance of providing a potential path to academic success for students who have been poorly served by mainstream schools and are at risk of dropping out, these arguments for alternative schools have been tempered by allegations that, due to the historical absence of accountability policies in the alternative sector, low-performing students are being pushed into alternative schools by mainstream schools seeking to circumvent accountability consequences. To investigate these claims, we draw from the National Center for Education Statistics’ Common Core of Data to create a 27-year panel of school level data for all public schools and explore the impact of the consequential accountability policies introduced by No Child Left Behind on alternative school enrollment.