The Weekly Newsletter of Educational Alternatives -
Latest Conference News!
  Hard to believe, but the AERO conference is only 17 days away! We are still getting amazing news about special aspects of this conference. AERO attendees will be able to participate in the New York Distant Learning Association conference and vice versa. 

 From NYDLA:

 *   Over 100 people have signed up for Uber credits to date.

 *   Both Microsoft and Google will have a significant presence at the AERO conference

 *   Every NYDLA sponsor has committed to some incentives, gifts, discounts to all attendees

 *   We are getting close to capacity at our own events, so any AERO members who want to attend any of our NYC / Times Square venues need to register (for free) via the email that we supplied. 

 *   We invite all AREO members to visit us and like our posts regarding AERO on


The AERO conference will be May 20-24 at LIU/Post in Brookville, NY. Right now the best deal to sign up for the AERO conference is to do the package deal of registration and either a shared room package    for $390 or a  single room package  for $450.  Those prices haven't gone up yet. They are for three nights in the dorm. If you need more days in the dorm you can add more individually. The student, presenter and volunteer price is $175 and also hasn't gone up yet. Regular registration is $275 for the 5 days. People can still use the 10% member discount for regular registration. 
This might be a very rare time to see Sugata Mitra in the New York area. He is a professor in England is from India.  He is famous for his "Hole in the wall" experiment, putting a computer in a wall in a slum area in India. The children taught themselves how to use it and do speak English! He won the Ted Award for that. Other keynoters will include Debbie Meier, Amy Valens, Zoe Weil, and Jeremy Stuart, who made the unschooling video "Class Dismissed."

If you still plan to register but need individual help or have a group please e mail  to let us know and we will do our best to help you. Or you can just reply to this e newsletter or call 516 621 2195.


AERO registrants who use the link below will get $20 worth of free Uber transportation and $40 if they send their e mail to conference partner NYDLA  to connect with their conference. If you sign up using this NYDLA invite link below, Uber will credit your account for $20 off your first ride: 


Registrants will also be able to participate in any of the Times Square area events of NYDLA, including meeting at the Hard Rock Cafe, Microsoft's showcase  building and Polycom's "Experience Center" near Madison Square Garden with one of the most spectacular views of New York from the 48th floor.


AERO Raises over $4000 for Nepal Orphanage; Much more Needed

Life is improving for the 200 orphans at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram/orphanage in Nepal. The water has been restored and they have some electricity. But the buildings are so damaged it is dangerous to use them. Some students used to sleep above the cow barn but there are so many cracks in the building it can't be used by them. Many of the children are still sleeping outside. A building expert will come soon to suggest what can be repaired and what must be torn down. The buildings were made over a 21 year period of time. In an instant much of that work was destroyed. 

So far we have raised over $4000 with others doing fundraising that they will deposit with us to transfer to the Ashram bank. There have been 75 donations from all over the USA, Canada and around the world. For example, a small school in India wrote "Our students have collected quite a good amount of money to support the Sri Auribindo Ashram Orphanage at Nepal," From Germany, "This evening my friends in Berlin donated 770 € so far and I am sure they will give more during the day."  A gap year program that we had connected to the Ashram wrote, "We send groups there twice a year, and have a volunteer there right now.   I posted an appeal to our Facebook friends today, and directed them to the link to your site for donations."  Also, we received many donations from New Zealand and Australia from people who had met Rishi at the recent IDEC He is a graduate of the Ashram and former orphan, now in University. .  

We just received this e mail from Ramchandra, the founder:
"We are overwhelmed by the kindness that you have shown towards us at such a difficult time. We feel grateful to be alive and unhurt despite severe loss to our infrastructure.  We have heard some of the kindest words of concern, care and willingness to help us to recover. Since we did not have access to electricity, clean water, internet and other commodities for a very long time, we were unable to reply to your messages. We were also unable to write to you in detail or provide to you with a concise mail. ...We also have had kindest contributions made by some of you already.  Please do write to us for any further information. 


Respecting your colossal hearts

Swami Ramchandra Das and all the children of the Ashram"


Ramchandra (Chandra Mani Bhusal)


Sri Aurobindo Yoga Mandir Trust

Thankot, Check Post

P.O . Box No 1993,


Tel: 00977- 1 - 4312157/ 4312085



Please send donations to the Ashram/orphanage here. 100% goes to their recovery. Type in the amount you wish to donate. 

'World's best teacher' does not believe in tests and quizzes
From PBS News.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Next: a profile of a teacher whose approach has caught international attention.

President Obama today recognized some of the country's best educators at a White House ceremony honoring the teacher of the year.


Shanna Peeples, who teaches high school English teacher in Amarillo, Texas, received the top prize. Last month in Dubai, a teacher from Maine took home the first ever Global Teacher Prize and $1 million. Nancie Atwell is using her time in the spotlight to continue her life's work.


The NewsHour's April Brown reports for our American Graduate series, a public media initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.


Watch the video and read the transcript here

What Self-Directed Learning Can Look Like for Underprivileged Children in Asia

(Special to AERO)

By Luba Vangelova  


This is the second in a two-part conversation with author David Gribble. After teaching in both conventional and democratic schools in England for more than 30 years, he visited nearly 20 other schools around the world that promote self-directed learning and recorded his observations in two books ("Real Education: Varieties of Freedom" and "Lifelines"). This conversation focuses on how underprivileged children fare in such environments.


David Gribble was curious to see how self-directed learning played out in different cultural as well as socio-economic contexts. So in addition to researching self-directed schools in Western societies, he also observed educational institutions in India and Thailand that catered to desperately underserved children, some of them living on the streets. What follows are some of his main takeaways from these visits, as well as his overall conclusions.


Read the rest here.
They asked some people on the street to talk about their favorite teachers. The answers are perfect.
By Megan Kelley

Somewhere along the way, we've all had a teacher who changed our lives.

A schoolteacher, a parent, a coach, a friend - learning comes in many forms, and so do teachers. As part of its " Man on the Street" series, SoulPancake set out to hear about the teachers who work every day to change lives.


The segment is full of too many "awww" moments to count, but it also has some great insight to share about what makes a great teacher: someone who's personable, imaginative, has a deep heart, and truly cares about their students as more than just numbers.


And of course, the clip ends with everyone thanking their favorite teachers.


See the clip here.
Promising Full College Credit, Arizona State University Offers Online Freshman Program
By Tamar Lewin

Arizona State University, one of the nation's largest universities, is joining with edX, a nonprofit online venture founded by M.I.T. and Harvard, to offer an online freshman year that will be available worldwide with no admissions process and full university credit.


In the new Global Freshman Academy, each credit will cost $200, but students will not have to pay until they pass the courses, which will be offered on the edX platform as MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses.


"Leave your G.P.A., your SATs, your recommendations at home," said Anant Agarwal, the chief executive of edX. "If you have the will to learn, just bring your Internet connection and yourself, and you can get a year of college credit."


Read the rest here.
Beyond Education Wars

By Nicholas Kristof  


For the last dozen years, waves of idealistic Americans have campaigned to reform and improve K-12 education.


Armies of college graduates joined Teach for America. Zillionaires invested in charter schools. Liberals and conservatives, holding their noses and agreeing on nothing else, cooperated to proclaim education the civil rights issue of our time.


Yet I wonder if the education reform movement hasn't peaked.

The zillionaires are bruised. The idealists are dispirited. The number of young people applying for Teach for America, after 15 years of growth, has dropped for the last two years. The Common Core curriculum is now an orphan, with politicians vigorously denying paternity.


K-12 education is an exhausted, bloodsoaked battlefield. It's Agincourt, the day after. So a suggestion: Refocus some reformist passions on early childhood.

Read the rest here.
NewsNews, Resources, & Calendar
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Thank you for your ongoing support. With your help, we will make learner-centered alternatives available to everyone!


Jerry Mintz
Executive Director
Alternative Education Resource Organization

tensignsThe Ten Signs You Need to Find a Different Kind of Education for Your Child
Many parents don't realize that the education world has changed drastically since they were in school. Schools and class sizes used to be smaller, dropout rates lower, in-school violence almost unheard of, and teachers weren't terrified of showing affection to their students, or of discussing moral values. Of course, even then, school was far from perfect, but at least the teachers-and usually the principal-knew every student by name, something that is increasingly rare today.

Because our public school system has deteriorated considerably, many parents, teachers, and individuals have taken it upon themselves to create public and private alternatives to that system; and it is important for parents to know that they now have choices.

So how do you know that it's time to look for another educational approach for your child? Here are some of the signs:

1. Does your child say he or she hates school?

If so, something is probably wrong with the school. Children are natural learners, and when they're young, you can hardly stop them from learning. If your child says they hate school, listen to them.  

May 3rd, 2015
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