Are Spokane's alternative schools effective?


A national investigation by ProPublica, an independent journalism organization, reveals that students at alternative schools have drastically lower graduation rates than their peers.

The article asks the question of whether some alternative schools work or if some school officials are using them to “hide” problem kids.

Their investigation showed that there were some problematic alternative schools in our area based on local data showing the disparity between graduation rates.

For instance, West Valley High School has a graduation rate of 97 percent. Dishman Hills High School, an alternative education, has one of 25 percent, according to U.S. News and World Report.

John Custer, principal of West Valley High School, says that alternative schools are not used to “hide” kids. He says the students from West Valley High School choose to go to alternative schools, and that only happens after many conversations with counselors and administrators. After all, it’s about finding a good fit for students, and helping them get a diploma even if it takes five or six years, Custer says.

Some Dishman Hills students came up to KHQ to tell us that they love the program there and that it’s reignited their love for learning. They said that they dropped out of their own high schools in different districts, and chose to go to Dishman Hills High School. Now they have aspirations to go onto higher education, one student even saying she wanted to pursue forensic anthropology.

If you want to learn more about how the report was investigated:

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content