Pictures from Summerhill
 Opt Out Threatened

IDEC 2017 Report

This 2016 International Democratic Education Conference was held in Mikkeli, Finland. It was co-sponsored by the EUDEC, the European Democratic Education Community, which is one of the sub-groups that grew out of the IDEC. The first IDEC was a small meeting of democratic educators that was organized by Yaacov Hecht in 1993 at the Democratic School of Hadera, in Israel. The IDEC is not an organization,  by design. At each conference we find schools and organizations to organize future IDECs.

There was a weekend of EUDEC meetings before the IDEC officially started on Monday, June 6th. The key organizer of this IDEC was Marko Koskinen, who worked with several  local partners.

One of the most striking discoveries that the participants first realized is that it is still light in Finland well past  10 PM at this time of year, and that the sun comes up at  4 AM! This makes sleeping problematic for some. Also, the days were packed full of activities. Sometimes going past  11 PM.
Unlike many education conferences, more than half the participants are students, many from democratic schools. People came from 35 countries!
We learned several  startling things about Finnish public schools:

Read the rest here.
Schooled In Nature

There's a way to teach children without colonizing their minds: the lifelong way of the indigenous people of Mexico

Read the rest here.
Gates Foundation's Mega Philanthropy Keeps on Colliding with Democracy
By Jan Resseger

her annual letter summing up the year's accomplishments of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Foundation's CEO, Sue Desmond-Hellmann, offers a sort of mea culpa to explain what has happened in the organization's philanthropy in education. Gates has been at the forefront of strategic philanthropy, by which a foundation sets the priorities and tries to accomplish particular reforms its chosen "experts" have identified.

Read the rest here.
Education Jam At The AERO COnference

By Will Grant
YES Education Jam Facilitator

When you attend conferences, do you ever wish there were more ways to connect with the interesting people at the conference? More ways to explore education with them? Conferences like AERO bring together creative, big hearted people. When I meet these engaging people, I want to do more than talk with them.  I want to experience being one of their students. I want to have them learn with me. I want to make art with them, to see what their hidden talents are, to dance, to grieve the heartbreak that is always part of true education, to push our edges together, to co-create something transformative right here, right now.

Read the rest here.
Why Young Kids Learn Through Movement

One of my children is spinning in a circle, creating a narrative about a princess as she twirls. The other is building a rocket ship out of a discarded box, attaching propellers made of cardboard and jumping in and out of her makeshift launcher. It is a snow day, and I've decided to let them design their own activities as I clean up and prepare a meal. My toddler becomes the spinning princess, imagining her character's feelings and reactions. What seems like a simple story involves sequencing, character development, and empathy for the brave princess stuck in her tower. The rocket ship my first grader is working on needs a pilot and someone to devise the dimensions and scale of its frame; it also needs a story to go with it. She switches between roles and perspectives, between modes of thinking and tinkering.

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

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