The Weekly Newsletter of Educational Alternatives -
Why you should take your children out of public school: Special to AERO

By Brent Kreuger


There used to be an adage that stated "the more things change, the more they remain the same." It was a valid saying for most of mankind's existence simply because for most of mankind's existence, any kind of change that humans experienced happened very, very slowly. As an example, the Stone Age started roughly 3.4 million years ago and didn't end until somewhere between 6000 and 2000 BCE. For most of that time period humans lived a nomadic hunter/gatherer existence and the life that any individual could expect to have was for the most part, no different than the life of their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents or really anyone in their knowable family tree. People also knew what the future held for them and their children because it was pretty much exactly like the past. As for the variety of jobs available, you could really only be a hunter, or a gatherer, and if you, as a parent, wanted to prepare your child for his or her future role, you'd take him or her along with you as you hunted or gathered and taught him or her how to hunt or to gather. It was a simple system and it lasted a very long time.


With the development of agriculture and permanent cities, more specialization meant the addition of more types of jobs. You could now choose to be a farmer or herder for example, but it didn't mean we lost jobs; we still had hunters and we still needed gatherers. Change still happened very slowly and it was still easy to prepare your child for their future. As an example, there were approximately 3000 years between the invention of the simple nail and the invention of the first screw. That's one generation of technological change taking place over roughly 120 human generations. Through this time period, more and more jobs were added to the list of choices while some old jobs were modified instead of being lost outright; (i.e. flint knappers became stone masons and/or blacksmiths). Even today we still have stone masons and we can still find blacksmiths.


Read the rest here.
New Scholarship Fund for School Starters
This week we received a surprise donation to help school starters who want to take this year's course. This will enable at least four applicants to get a 25% discount for the course. This week we will take applicants for the scholarship. Just reply to this newsletter or write to and tell us what your vision is and why you need the scholarship in no more than three or four paragraphs. 
N.Y.C. High School Strives for 'Authentic' Assessment
By Catherine Gewertz

Tiffany Mungin spent many nervous weeks researching and writing her paper about the Vietnam War. Her high school graduation was on the line.


Unlike most New York state seniors, who vied for their diplomas by taking the state's standardized tests, Ms. Mungin had to write a history research paper and an analytic essay in English/language arts. She also had to conduct an original science experiment and undertake an applied-mathematics project in order to graduate. The 18-year-old's work would have to be evaluated by at least two teachers, and she would have to defend it in formal presentations.

Read the rest here.
Pearson Takes Big Hit in Continuing War Over Common Core

By Alan Singer  


Last week Pearson lost its 40 to 50 million dollar contract to provide 3rd through 8th grade Common Core aligned high-stakes tests in New York State. A headline and article in Newsday, a major daily published on Long Island in New York, described the decision to drop Pearson as the latest skirmish in the political debate over Common Core. Laura Howe, Pearson's Vice-President for Media and Communities, tried to make light of the decision. The Newsday article quoted Howe promising, or perhaps threatening, that Pearson "will continue to serve the people of New York through our other assessment work, along with learning materials and higher education services."


While I am glad to see Pearson go, just dropping Pearson will not end the battle over the legitimacy of Common Core and high-stakes tests mandated by No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top. A big question is why the New York State Education Department signed a multi-year contract with Questar Assessment while the renewal of No Child Left Behind is being debated in Congress and no one knows for sure which direction the federal government will take on mandated high-stakes standardized testing.


Some commentators who defend Common Core blame opponents of high-stakes testing for distorting the public's understanding of the benefits of the national standards. But when you look at the history of the push for national standards dating back to the Clinton and Bush administrations, you realize Common Core is all about testing and shifting educational resources from teaching to test prep companies.


Read the rest here.
A New Look at Apprenticeships as a Path to the Middle Class

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - With its gleaming classrooms, sports teams and even a pep squad, the Apprentice School that serves the enormous Navy shipyard here bears little resemblance to a traditional vocational education program.


And that is exactly the point. While the cheerleaders may double as trainee pipe fitters, electricians and insulators, on weekends they're no different from college students anywhere as they shout for the Apprentice School Builders on the sidelines.


But instead of accumulating tens of thousands of dollars in student debt, Apprentice School students are paid an annual salary of $54,000 by the final year of the four-year program, and upon graduation are guaranteed a job with Huntington Ingalls Industries, the military contractor that owns Newport News Shipbuilding.


"There's a hunger among young people for good, well-paying jobs that don't require an expensive four-year degree," said Sarah Steinberg, vice president for global philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase. "The Apprentice School is the gold standard of what a high-quality apprenticeship program can be."

Read the rest here.
Heart Attack report
By Jerry Mintz

Surprisingly it didn't quite dawn on me at first. But in retrospect it is easy to see that your life can end in a flash. At the time I knew it was a heart attack, but maybe because I walked into the hospital I didn't realize how serious it was. It was a 100% block of the artery from the heart they call the "widow maker." If I had been in on a jet in the middle of the Pacific or in the rural part of a developing country it might have been a different story.
The first lesson to take from this is to call an ambulance! Instead I had someone drive me to the closest hospital, but it turned out that they didn't have the ability to do catheterization. So they had to take me by ambulance to another one. That half-hour extra could have been crucial, as a 1 1/2 hour window is the current gold standard.
Read the rest here.
New Adler Yang Documentary to be Shown Next Sunday in Manhattan!


Ed: Adler Yang went to an alternative school in Taiwan. 


Hi friends of AERO! 

My name is Adler Yang. A 20-year-old independent researcher and AERO rep. for Taiwan. The mission of my life is to discover the root causes of the meaningless/unneeded sufferings of humanity, and to construct the foundation for a world of sustainable, healthy, and sincere peace. 


Driven by witnessing my best friends and cousin losing their hope, health, passion, and talents throughout meaningless schooling and broken parenting,  I devoted most of my life up to today to re-create an ideal cradle of our society. Every year since 2009, I've revised my approach to better address the problems of our education system, which includes projects such as an award-winning documentary ' If There is a Reason to Study', an intergenerational education union CrE'dule in 2010, a strategic plan for education reformation in 2011, an international online magazine, Awakening, founded in 2012--which later became a lab for educational/social change experiments, a campaign in Taiwan, China, and Hong Kong to 'Design Your Own Education' since 2013, and an 'Education Bypass Surgery' since 2015.



Read the rest here.

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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 19th, 2015
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