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Finland Education Visit

Holiday Sales End This Week
Holiday sales will end after this week. 

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Pasi Sahlberg on the Beauty of Small Data
Pasi Sahlberg is the great Finnish educator whose book Finnish Lessons gave us a vision of a nation that succeeds without high-stakes testing, without standardized testing, and without charter schools or vouchers. He wrote of highly educated teachers who have wide scope and autonomy in their classrooms and who collaborate with their colleagues to do what is best for their children. He wrote of a national school system that values the arts, physical activity, and play. And, lo and behold, the OECD calls it the best school system in the world!
So entranced was I but what I read about Finland that I visited there a few years ago and had Pasi as my guide. The schools and classes were everything he claimed and more.
Pasi, like many other education experts, is aghast at the GERM (Global Education Reform Movement) that has swept the world. The agency that has spread GERM far and wide is international testing, the great horse race that only a few can win. Since most are losers, the frenzy for more testing becomes even stronger.

Read the rest here.
How Satisfied are Parents with Their Children's Schools?
All four sectors in K-12 education compete for the support of their customers-that is, the parents of their prospective students. Those parents have more choices today than in decades past: they may send their children to the public school automatically assigned to them by their school district, or opt for a private school, charter school, or district-run school of choice. These choices include a range of cost and convenience-and, not surprisingly, a range of customer satisfaction levels.

The assigned-school-district sector has a strong competitive advantage because assigned-district schools are free and universally available, and 76 percent of American students attend them, according to a 2012 survey by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), part of the U.S. Department of Education. The three choice sectors do not enjoy those advantages and enroll fewer students: 10 percent of U.S. students attend private schools, 9 percent attend district schools of choice, and 6 percent attend charters, according to NCES. The private sector has a strong disadvantage because most families must pay tuition. The charter sector has the advantage of its programs being tuition-free but is limited to operating in specific places where charters have been approved by a state-determined authorizer. Similarly, district schools of choice also are tuition-free but cannot operate in competition with assigned-district schools unless school boards specifically allow them.

Read the rest here.
Explosive Growth of Career Academies Changing Workforce
Joseph Baucum

Although  job contraction in the industrial Midwesthas jumped forcefully into the national spotlight in the aftermath of the presidential election, 19-year-old Jesse Marti confessed that forces such as outsourcing, automation and artificial intelligence inspire little trepidation in him as he continues to chisel out a career.

Marti, a first-year student at George Stone Technical Center, intends to eventually test for the Federal Aviation Administration's Airframe and Powerplant certification. Once attained, the A&P license authorizes mechanics to work on the more complex components of aircraft. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual median salary in 2015 for aircraft and avionics mechanics and technicians was $58,390, with Florida ranking as the state with the third-most positions at 12,010.

As a recent graduate of the Escambia County School District's Booker T. Washington High School, Marti credited the school district for assisting his aspirations by implementing  an aviation maintenance career academy at the high school.

Read the rest here.
The Tried-and-Trued Model of Personalized Learning That's Been Around for 100 Years
Personalized learning is all the rage. And for good reason.
Our world is rapidly changing, and students need a broader set of skills to lead the future - adaptability, goal-setting, critical thinking, problem-solving, executive functioning, collaboration.
Many of our schools are stuck in an antiquated "factory model" mindset where everyone does the same thing at the same time in the same way, which is more aligned with preparing adults to follow directions as opposed to innovate and invent.

Read the rest here.
Homeschooling Increases in the United States, Parents Cite School Environments as a Concern
Homeschooling in the United States increased between 1999 and 2012, although nearly 97 percent of the nation's 56 million students from kindergarten through high school attend public or private schools, according to a new report by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) and the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

The homeschooling rate increased from 1.7 percent in 1999 to 3.4 percent in 2012, the report finds. Nine in 10 of these students' parents reported that concern about schools' environments was an important reason for their decision to homeschool.

Read the rest here.
How Virtual Reality Could Change the Way Students Experience Education
by Andrew M. Koke and Anthony Guest-Scott

The headlines for Pokémon GO were initially shocking, but by now they're familiar: as many as 21 million active daily users, 700,000 downloads per day, $5.7 million in-app purchases per day,  $200 million earned as of August. Analysts anticipate the game will garner several billion dollars in ad revenue over the next year. By almost any measure, Pokémon GO is huge.

The technologies behind the game, augmented and virtual reality (AVR), are huge too. Many financial analysts expect the technology to generate  $150 billion over the next three years, outpacing even smartphones with unprecedented growth, much of it in entertainment. ButAVR is not only about entertainment. In August 2015, Teegan Lexcen was born in Florida with only half a heart and needed surgery. With current cardiac imaging software insufficient to assist with such a delicate operation on an infant, surgeons at Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami turned to 3D imaging software and a  $20 Google Cardboard VR set. They used a cellphone to peer into the baby's heart, saw exactly how to improve her situation and performed the successful surgery in December 2015.

Read the rest here.
 We're Awaiting the Final Contract and Will Soon Announce the Location and Date of the Next AERO Conference
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 an end of year donation to AERO to help support our work. Thanks!