Alfie Kohn's Wish! Summerhill Story; AEROx Update
Chris Mergogliano keynotes first AEROx
Yong Zhao, Keynoter for the next AERO Conference in August in Portland, OR
Register at a discount now
See new Yong Zhao video here
Contact AERO

Phone: (516) 621-2195

417 Roslyn Road, Roslyn Heights, NY 11577

First AEROx Will Happen Next Month! New Keynoter Announced
The first AEROx regional conference will be in the East, in  Petersham, Massachusetts  at  Earthlands Preserve November 20 - 22, 2015. We've heard from others in Charlotte, NC, Ohio and Austin who also want to organize one. Let us know if you have other potential locations. 

We are pleased to announce that author/educator 
Chris Mercogliano will be a keynoter on Saturday the 21st. Chris was long-time director of Albany's Free School and has written many books, including How to Grow a School, and his latest, "A School Must Have a Heart."
Because of space limitations, registration will be capped at 40 participants for this first one, so register soon.  The early bird rate is only $195 , and this includes registration, lodging, and meals from  Friday night's dinner to Sunday  lunch.  The early bird rate ends on  October 24, 2015 , after which the all inclusive price will be $225.   

We are also offering a Saturday only early bird rate at $150 . After October 25, 2015 the rate will increase to $175.  If you will be bringing youth under 18 please contact us for the child rate. 

Since this is a regional conference we will not consistently update this in this e news. If you are thinking of going and want updated information on the regional sent to you, reply to this e news or write to

The group will first settle in and register starting at 3:30 Friday the 20th, gather for dinner on Friday evening. After that we'll have our opening and AERO will be showing the documentary 'Class Dismissed' at 7:30

Jerry Mintz, who is featured in it, will lead the discussion afterwards!

Saturday   will be Chris Mercogliano's keynote, workshops and other events, along with three meals. 

We'll continue on Sunday with more workshops and a keynote along with breakfast and lunch, finishing up by   2 PM .

The conference will also feature plenty of time for networking, forging relationships and impromptu discussion groups. 
Lodging is rustic style shared rooms with bunks in off the grid, environmentally sustainable buildings.  

Meals are  vegetarian and vegan, provided by  Earthland's 
resident chef. People can also camp on the site. Click here to learn more  
This conference will have the quality workshops, networking opportunities, and keynoters you have come to expect from AERO events. We are collecting workshop proposals. Send them to, or  

There has been a high demand for an additional AERO event that provides more local opportunities for networking, focused workshops, and action planning that keeps the inspiration and work of AERO going.  
A Radical Way of Unleashing a Generation of Geniuses

JOSÉ URBINA LÓPEZ Primary School sits next to a dump just across the US border in Mexico. The school serves residents of Matamoros, a dusty, sunbaked city of 489,000 that is a flash point in the war on drugs. There are regular shoot-outs, and it's not uncommon for locals to find bodies scattered in the street in the morning. To get to the school, students walk along a white dirt road that parallels a fetid canal. On a recent morning there was a 1940s-era tractor, a decaying boat in a ditch, and a herd of goats nibbling gray strands of grass. A cinder-block barrier separates the school from a wasteland-the far end of which is a mound of trash that grew so big, it was finally closed down. On most days, a rotten smell drifts through the cement-walled classrooms. Some people here call the school  un lugar de castigo-"a place of punishment."

For 12-year-old Paloma Noyola Bueno, it was a bright spot. More than 25 years ago, her family moved to the border from central Mexico in search of a better life. Instead, they got stuck living beside the dump. Her father spent all day scavenging for scrap, digging for pieces of aluminum, glass, and plastic in the muck. Recently, he had developed nosebleeds, but he didn't want Paloma to worry. She was his little angel-the youngest of eight children.

Read the rest here.
The Back-to-School-Night Speech We'd Like to Hear*
By Alfie Kohn

Is this working? [taps microphone]  I do believe it is!
OK, if everyone can please find a seat, we'd like to get started. Thanks so much for coming out tonight! We've reserved plenty of time for discussion - obviously I'm not going to talk at you all evening, just as our teachers don't spend most of class time talking at your kids - but as the principal I did want to try to give you a sense of what _________ School stands for, and what your student, and you, can expect this year.

Our top priority here - and I mean a real, honest-to-goodness commitment, not just a slogan on the website or in a mission statement - is to learn about and support each student's interests. What questions do they have about the world? How can we help them build on and find answers to those questions? When we meet as a staff, it's usually to think together about how best to do that, how to create a school that's not just academic but intellectual.

Read the rest here.
OMG Barack, How Could You Pick John King?

Arne Duncan is leaving as Barack Obama's Secretary of Education. Duncan's signature role was administering President Obama's Race to the Top program which forced states to adopt Common Core and the high-stakes testing of students and teachers to qualify for federal grants. He will not be missed. Duncan's  highlight moment was when he accused opponents of Common Core testing of being "white suburban moms who -- all of a sudden -- their child isn't as brilliant as they thought they were." Last year the  National Education Association demanded Duncan resign and Congress is now considering legislation that would sharply reduce the federal role in education.

Unbelievably, President Obama found someone just as bad to replace him, Deputy Secretary of Education  John King who in his previous job was New York State Education Commissioner. While King was Education Commissioner the roll out of Common Core produced so much opposition from parents and teachers that Governor Andrew Cuomo complained to state education officials that "Common Core's implementation in New York has been flawed and mismanaged from the start." Just last week more than 300 New York State school superintendents  petitioned Congress this week to abolish the annual testing requirement for elementary and middle school students.

Read the rest here.
A Visit to Summerhill....
Possibly the Happiest School in the World?
By Alexander Khost

"When people come here, they don't say that Neill's writing inspired them, but rather, that Neill's  writing changed their life," I heard Zoe Readhead say in a meeting I attended last week. Zoe is the principal of Summerhill, a ninety-four year old boarding school in Leiston, England and the daughter of A. S. Neill, the school's founder and the author of many transformative books. I am one among the self-proclaimed life-changed people.

Many years before, across a huge ocean far away in the suburbs outside New York City, Summerhill seemed like an unattainable fantasy to my fifteen year old public-schooled mind, but the very  thought of it, just the possibility that a school could be as such made me come alive and has had me so for the twenty-five years since.

Read the rest here (you can also read the entire Summerhill newsletter with pictures, including a story of another potential attack on Summerhill).
SelfDesign Graduate Institute Fall Webinars
Meet SDGI faculty! All webinars are free.

October 25, 4 PM PDT-Conscious Business with Renee Poindexter
We will explore business from an integral perspective, with examples of "conscious capitalism"
Please register at

November 1, 4 PM PST-Evolutionary Parenting with David Marshak
How the consciousness that parents bring to their parenting can enhance the evolution of consciousness in their children
Please register at:

Links and Calendar
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