2017 Workshops Announced!
When Progressives Went Big For Vouchers!

First AERO Conference Workshops Announced
The first approved workshops and presentations for the AERO Conference are now posted on the conference website. Othrs are pending, waiting for approval or registration. Less than 10 slots are still available. As we uniquely do at all AERO conferences, there will be one or two spots available at each session for spontaneous workshops. 

This year we are blessed with a great variety of workshops in our initial release. We have workshops about research into unschooling, about the rebirth of public education, about progressive education, homeschool resource centers, holistic learning, teacher liberation, and entrepreneurial learning. They are about how to explain educational alternatives to your friends and relatives, when to teach a child to read, how to have a healthy school, and nature in urban areas. And there is a panel of unschooled teens talking about how they are organizing their lives. Many of these presenters would be or have been keynoters at many conferences. 

On the workshop site you will also find biographies of the presenters. They include a wide spectrum such as current students in educational alternatives, veteran founders of alternatives, education professors, graduate students, parents and dropouts!

You can see all the first posted and approved workshops and bios HERE!

You can register for the AERO conference or even hold your place at the current rate HERE! 

Some feedback from previous conferences:

Everything was fabulous!
All the keynotes were inspiring!
The workshops were a good length.
The café was fun.
I got so many ideas from this conference!
This conference demonstrates that the movement exists-It isn't just a website!
This was my third conference and the best yet!
My 5th and the best!
The coaching workshop was very surprising and helpful.
It was an affirmation of our sense of community.

I've been to lots of educational conferences of all kinds. The open and accepting attitude has been a unique and rare highlight for me. 

You can register for the AERO conference or even hold your place at the current rate HERE! 

Jonathan Kozol is a keynoter at this year's AERO conference

When Progressives Went Big For Vouchers!
I found this article very interesting  for personal reasons. Back in that era I went with State Education Commissioner Harvey Scribner to visit Chris Jenks at Harvard to explore his new voucher idea. I found it interesting but left feeling that none of us in radical education would be interested as we'd never quality for it!


In the 1960s and '70s, the American left cheered  Freedom Schools and  free schoolscondemned education bureaucracies, and raised a clenched fist for  community control of public education. It didn't hesitate to think big on school choice, either.

Adjusting for inflation, Ted Sizer's 1968 proposal for a $15 billion federal voucher program for low-income kids would ring up $105 billion today - making President Trump's still-fuzzy $20 billion idea pale in comparison. A decade later, Berkeley law professors Jack Coons and Stephen Sugarman fell short in their bid to bring universal school choice to California, but their gutsy campaign still punctuates a historical truth: school choice in America has deep, rich roots on the left.

Some of today's progressives are enraged about the suddenly serious possibility of school choice from coast to coast. True, Trump's touch makes progressive support unlikely. True, many conservative and libertarian choice supporters raise their own, more thoughtful concerns. But it's still stunning to see how much progressive views on school choice have shifted over the course of a few decades.

Read the rest here.
Senate Confirmations, Donuts and the Price of Justice
How a Sudbury Valley School Meeting imitated a Senate vote

Last week I found an example of "life imitating life". Or more specifically life at SVS was imitating life in Washington. I am fascinated by the quirky details of democratic institutions. So, I got a little thrill when the 50-50 vote in the Senate allowed the Vice President, acting as the "President of the Senate", to cast the tie breaking vote. Article I, Section 3, Clause 4 of the U.S. Constitution provides this mechanism for resolving tie votes in the Senate. Vice President Pence's vote was the 245th time the tie-breaking role of the Vice President has been invoked in U.S. history and it had not been used since Vice President Cheney cast a tie-breaking vote in 2008.

My kids understand my fascination with democratic processes, so I can usually count on getting a summary of the SVS School Meeting when I pick them up on Thursday afternoons. Last week, Holly was very excited to tell me how a vote to allow a suspended student to return to school had ended in a tie. Like the Vice President's role in the U.S. Senate, SVS rules allow the School Meeting Chair, who is normally a non-voting member, to cast a vote in the event of a tie, which he did.

Read the rest here.

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

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