Alternatives have always existed in American education. The availability of alternatives has varied with the social and economic conditions of the times, but from colonial times to the present, educational alternatives have diminished. Educational opportunities in the colonial period constituted "a fascinating kaleidoscope of endless variety and change," reported Cremin (1970) in American Education: The Colonial Experience. There were enormous opportunities and countless types and modes of instruction during that period. Schooling went on everywhere, not only in schoolrooms, but also in kitchens, churches, meeting houses, sheds erected in fields, and shops erected in towns. The proliferation of types of schools was linked to the rapid increase in printed material for instruction and self-instruction which enabled people to consider a vast range of possible life-styles. In spite of the diversity of schools, they had a minor role in colonial America. The concern for literacy stimulated the development of laws making parents responsible for their children's education. By the mid-nineteenth century, the concept of universal elementary education was accepted. By 1900, compulsory education was assured. In America's 200-year history, what was originally a wide range of educational alternatives has been reduced to one monolithic public school system without choice for the individual family (Smith, Barr, and Burke 1976).