The Weekly Newsletter of Educational Alternatives -
We Made the Match!

We are thankful and humbled that you have again helped us make our match for the New Visions Foundation challenge to help AERO keep going. In the end we had donations from 36 states and 15 countries, from $10 to $1000. We made it with one day to spare!

Free Sugata Mitra/Yaacov Hecht Video Link

We are starting to put the keynote videos and audio workshop MP3s on the AERO member site archive. AERO members will be able to access all of them free, along with our hundreds of other videos. If you are an AERO member, just sign in with your member code. If you want to support AERO and become a member you can join here. We will then send you the code along with information about all the other member privileges. These include 10% discount in the AERO bookstore and for conferences, access to our member listserve, free job ads, access to the AERO reps and videos archive. And if you are a school or organization you get a link from our member site, you can get put on the member map,  and you can have a banner to put on your site!


As an example of our keynotes we are giving you a free link to the incredible dialog between Sugata Mitra and Yaacov Hecht. Yaacov is a little hard to understand as he Skyped in from Korea, but his powerpoint is great. You can get it here.  

Planned Failure, The Plight of Inner City Kids
(Exclusive to AERO)

By Bob Blumenthal


For decades, educators have been trying to bring inner city children up to par with their suburban counterparts and have failed miserably. School takeovers, grants, SmartBoards, computers, Head Start, and a host of cure-all programs have done little to balance the success of the haves and the have-nots. Unfortunately, this will continue for years to come unless there is a radical change in school philosophy.


To succeed in school, you must be able to read. Children are required to read printed materials that provide them with the information they need to pass tests. They need to read the tests so that they can understand how to respond to the questions. When children experience school failure, their inability to read is usually the culprit. Since reading ability determines who succeeds and who fails, it is easy to see why inner city children are doomed from day one. There are three basic reasons. First, they do not possess the background of experience that is essential to the reading process. When looking at the printed page, readers make connections with events that occurred in their lives. For example, a story about a farm would be more meaningful to a child who visited a farm than to one who never had this opportunity. It is easier for me to read education journals than Popular Mechanics because of my teaching background and my lack of experience with machinery. While middle and upper class children are traveling to various cultural and geographic places of interest, inner city kids are spending their free time within neighborhood boundaries. By the time Suburban Sam enters first grade, he is light years ahead of Inner City Ike in the experience department.


Second, learning to read also takes a great amount of concentration. Children who have social, emotional, and/or health issues often find learning difficult. How much attention can you give to the teacher if you are hungry or if you have a toothache? How can a child focus if he is afraid to go home after school? Life in the inner city is filled with land mines which are generally unknown to those in tree lined communities.


Read the rest here.
Alice in Central Park: A Homeschool Theater Project

It's a warm spring evening in Central Park and a group of fifteen teens are gathered at the Alice in Wonderland statue, just up from the boating lake. For most of them, frolicking on the iconic statue is probably something they haven't done in a while. But today the teens don't hold back. They're scaling the slippery toadstools, patting the White Rabbit's ears, and vying to perch like Buddhas on the Mad Hatter's top hat. They are their kid selves again. 


The buoyant mood is because this crew of homeschooled teenagers, ranging in age for 11 to 18, is celebrating the fact that just under two weeks ago they did something quite remarkable. In an off-Broadway theater on 43rd Street, they staged a production of Alice's Adventures of Wonderland in a sold out weekend run. The show was entirely teen directed, acted, and produced. Parents and other adult friends played an important supportive role, but for the most part everything - from the lighting to props, the stage managing to ticket sales, the choreography to the character development - was done by this group of New York teens. 

Read the rest here.
Sri Aurobindo Nepal Orphanage Update
Ed: As you know, you helped us raise $10,000 that we sent to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram/orphanage in Nepal to help with earthquake relief. This is an update from Ramchandra on their progress. 

Dear Friends,


It has been long since you have heard from us. We apologize for not providing you with updates on a timely basis.


Well. It has almost been 2 months since the first major earthquake but tremors are still experienced on a regular basis. Guess that's the nature of earthquakes and we have to learn to live with it!!!


But, we are glad to share some positive updates with you.  


The boys who were displaced from their dormitory are now residing in these lovely temporary shelters built of corrugated sheets, which are installed just besides the school.


The Ashram has welcomed more than 20 new children from different parts of Nepal after the earthquake. These children are starting to love it here and their smile gives us the biggest satisfaction.

Read the rest here.

You can still donate here.
Free Workshop Powerpoint.

Ed: Silvia Villacorta came from Spain to the AERO conference to make a powerful presentation about why to avoid literacy at early ages. She sent us the powerpoint for her presentation. 

View the powerpoint here.
School Starter Course Registration Now Open
Brooklyn Free School 2015 Graduation
AERO helped start BFS
Agile Learning Centers is Fundraising to Open an ALC in Oahu!
Agile Learning Center in Manhattan

A new Agile Learning Center is being organized in Hawaii by an AERO member. They have started a fundraising campaign. 

What is an Agile Learning Center? 

Agile Learning Centers are an educational model that creates fun, intelligent, magical communities. Communities of happy, actualized people with a deep connection to place and full access to a globalized network of other communities that share resources, practices, tools, stories, and experiences, an upward spiral of human potential.


To read more or donate go 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.  

July 5th, 2015
In This Issue
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