Oakland School Experiment Gasping its Last

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The Trib has a terrific piece on the perils of creating an alternative educational model for some of Oakland's most troubled and at-risk kids. Seeking to reach kids who were on the verge of failure, Fred Brill co-founded the Alternative Learning Community, a new school designed to offer extra attention, small classes, and mental health expertise to ninety kids in an outdoors setting. But as Katy Murphy points out, the kids just kicked the teachers and staff right in the ass, running wild in the hallways and cursing out their teachers. Many faculty quit within months, and more than a quarter of the students dropped out or were expelled. As one teacher put it, students would say, "How can you guys open a school if you can't even control us?" The ALC is planning to slog its way through a second year, but no one imagines it'll be easy.

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