Earlybird Conference Rate Ends Tuesday
Follow Up on Arrested Homeschool Mother

Breaking: John Gatto to Keynote AERO Conference in August!

Renowned educator and author John Gatto has agreed to keynote the AERO conference in August. Details will be coming soon.
Gatto, who has been recovering from a serious stoke several years ago, has started writing again. He has a new children's book that will be released soon, "Snider the CIA Spider," and has been working on a revision of the "Underground History of American Education."
Gatto has spoken all over the world. He once rented Carnegie Hall to introduce people to educational alternatives. He made headlines during his acceptance speech as New York State Teacher of the Year by calling the education system "psychopathic!"
He said to us, "I will write something really good for you!"

Other Keynoters for the AERO conference include Dennis Littky, founder of the MET Schools and unschool expert Dayna Martin. Joanna Faber will do a presentation on her new book, "How to talk to Little Kids Will Listen."
You can still register for the early bird rate of $225 until Tuesday.  If you plan to be a presenter you can still register at the 
presenter rate of $175, which is also the student and volunteer rate
Which States Pay Teachers the Most (and Least)?

Alaska and New York pay teachers nearly double the salaries of those working in Mississippi and Oklahoma,  says a new study by GoBankingRates.

According to the finance website, teachers in Alaska and New York are paid each year on average $77,843 and $76,953, respectively. By contrast, the averages in Mississippi and Oklahoma are $42,043 and $42,647, respectively. To be fair, many of the states with higher teacher pay also have higher costs of living. (You can  use this tool to compare costs of living in different cities and states across the country.)

And a salary on the high end doesn't necessarily mean easy living. The authors show, for instance, that the average salary in California of $72,050 "is just a tad under the amount of money needed to live comfortably in [the state]." What's more, a starting teacher's salary would be much less, closer to $40,000 per year, according to the California Department of Education.

Read the rest here.
Innovative Education Models Key to Student Success
Two Northeast Mississippi school districts received state approval last week to begin using innovative education methods in the classroom, a true testament to this region's commitment to providing the best form of public education available to students.

The Baldwyn and Booneville school districts will team up as a "District of Innovation" in order to share resources designed to maximize learning opportunities for students.

Legislation passed in 2015 allows districts to apply for District of Innovation status, which enables them to request exemptions from state regulations to achieve performance targets.

Baldwyn and Booneville will collaborate on the "Building Bridges" program, which will enable students to access specialized courses in both districts, as reported by the Daily Journal's Emma Crawford Kent.

Read the rest here.
Movie Directed by 24 Year Old Albany Free School Graduate Opens in NYC 
On Friday, February 24th I went into Manhattan to attend the grand New York City opening of a movie directed by Albany Free School graduate Miles Joris-Peyrafitte, and written by him and another Free School graduate, Madison Harrison. The movie is called As You Are and was a Sundance Festival Special Jury Prize winner. Here is the trailer. 

When I arrived I realized that the showing was sold out but Miles and his mother spotted me and brought me a ticket. All of the main characters who acted in the movie were at the showing. 

The film was very deeply emotional and gripping. The acting was fantastic. In fact it was a very eerie feeling after being taken on such a ride by the movie to then see the actors who played the parts right in front of me!

The film is playing this week at the Village East Cinema in Manhattan and will play in other parts of the country.

Miles said he would try to come to the AERO conference if he was in the area but might be involved in a new film by then!
Homeschool Mother Files Civil Rights Claims Against City Schools, County
Ed: This is an update on last week's story about a New York State homeschool who was arrested and her children taken away. 

Al Vaughters, News 4 Reporter

A Buffalo mother whose children were taken away by workers from Erie County Child Protective Services is fighting back. Kiarre Harris is accusing CPS and Buffalo Public Schools of racial discrimination.

Harris has filed two federal civil rights complaints, against BPS and CPS, with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Education. The Buffalo mother of two claims the two agencies preventing her from homeschooling her children because she is African American.

Recalling her last contact with her children, Harris told a Wednesday afternoon news conference, they talked by phone, "The children are very depressed, they miss me a lot, they miss being home, and the children are traumatized."

Kiarre Harris said she has not seen her kids for 45 days, since CPS took them away, at a hotel in Cheektowaga, while police took her into custody on a bench warrant. Harris' is being represented by Buffalo schools' District Parent Coordinating Council in her fight with BPS.

Read the rest here.
Cruise Around Manhattan at AERO Conference (Please Indicate Interest)

We are organizing a 2 1/2 hour cruise around Manhattan on Wednesday, August 2nd, followed by a fair of local New York alternatives in the evening, during registration at the conference site, LIU/Post on Long Island. Let us know if you are from a school that would want to participate in the fair. 

Several people have already indicated their interest in taking the cruise. We need more responses to arrange a group rate. It will go by 100 iconic Manhattan sights. Please reply to this newsletter if you are interested. We are not asking for a commitment at this time.   The cost will be about $35 each! Those who reply will get first priority if there is a waiting list. 

From the cruise information:
"This is the only sightseeing cruise in New York City to completely circumnavigate the island of Manhattan, with all the stunning views, insightful narrative and unforgettable experiences you want from a tour of NYC.
You heard right, this is a complete Manhattan Island tour, and our Best of NYC cruise is the only way to see all five boroughs - Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island and the Bronx - in one trip. Plus, you'll see all three NYC rivers, all the major bridges and the rest of the city's best sights, including the full Manhattan skyline, the growing Brooklyn waterfront, the legendary Yankee Stadium, the hip Harlem Heights waterfront, the lush greenery of upper Manhattan and the stately George Washington Bridge All of that plus an up-close with the Statue of Liberty! Our world-famous tour guides tell the story of New York City as you journey around the full island and enjoy the best sightseeing tour NYC has to offer!"
Includes Brooklyn Bridge, Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, Intrepid, etc.

You can still register for the early bird rate of $225 until Tuesday, the end of February. If you plan to apply to be a presenter you can still register at the presenter rate of $175, which is also the student and volunteer rate. 


Links and Calendar
Please send us feedback on this issue. also, we would like to have more articles written by AERO members and about AERO school and organizations.  Thank you for your ongoing support. With  your help , we will make learner-centered alternatives available to everyone!

In Service,

Jerry Mintz
Executive Director
Alternative Education Resource Organization

Please consider making a donation to AERO to help support our work. Thanks!