The role of opinion leaders in the effectiveness and acceptance of alternative education programs
Alternative education programs, in their current form, have existed since the 1960s. However, the field of education has never accepted alternative education programs as a viable option for students who are at-risk of academic failure. The purpose of this study was to examine the role that alternative school leaders play in the diffusion of the alternative education program innovation within their district, particularly as it relates to the effectiveness and acceptance of alternative education programs. By examining leaders' perspectives on their potential to be an opinion leader, the researcher sought to understand how school districts can utilize alternative school leaders in developing effective alternative education programs and disseminating information pertaining to their alternative education program. In this qualitative study, where interviews, document collection, and respondent validation were utilized, the results indicated that alternative school leaders view themselves as opinion leaders because of their expertise and the potential for others to seek them out for information about alternative education. Alternative school leaders felt strongly about the measures of effectiveness for their programs being as individualized as their programs. They also indicated that there is still a stigma associated with alternative education. Because of the potential for alternative school leaders to serve in the role of opinion leader, alternative school leaders believed that, through their role, they had the potential to assist in the reduction of the stigma associated with alternative education.
Gode, Michele Lynn, "The role of opinion leaders in the effectiveness and acceptance of alternative education programs" (2013). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3557963.