New Peter Gray Video
Open Education Resources

Coming Soon From AERO:
Next AERO Conferene Announcement!
New AERO Podcast Series!
Sugata Mitra with AERO attendees in NY in 2015

Next week we hope to announce the dates and location of the next AERO conference.

We'll also announce a new podcast series currently under production!
How We See Self-Directed Education, from Peter Gray  (A New Video!)
Dear Allies,

Are you practicing home-based self-directed education, commonly known as "unschooling"? Are you a location-independent "worldschooler" traveling the globe? Are you involved with a full-time school that supports self-directed education? Are you a part of a co-op or resource center that trusts children to pursue their own interests or even learn entirely through play? Maybe you have friends and family engaged in one of these approaches and you've seen the positive impact.

We understand there are many different expressions of self-directed education amongst us! To turn a struggle into a movement, we must acknowledge these nuanced differences as a strength and embrace a collective common denominator. We need to unite around what we all know to be true - that self-directed education works.

We're working on a video that will explain what self-directed education is and how it works, but today we're releasing a video about how we see self-directed education showing up in our world today:

Assessing Doesn't Mean Testing
By Alan Singer 

The U.S. Department of Education, Congress, the last two presidents, and textbook and test publishing companies are in love with high-stakes multiple-choice standardized tests. In the name of higher standards, teaching and learning have been pushed aside as students face test after mandated test. A new report from FairTest (National Center for Fair and Open Testing),  Assessment Matters: Constructing Model State Systems to Replace Testing Overkill, charges that the "test-and-punish approach" embodied in federal legislation from No Child Left Behind through Race to the Top and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) has "undermined educational quality for many and inhibited school improvement," especially in the most "under-resourced communities." It has produced "mass firings, school closings, and deteriorating educational climates that fed the school-to-prison pipeline."

The power of the FairTest report lies in its acknowledgement of the value of assessing student work, coupled with descriptions of what fair and useful assessment actually looks like in schools. The report describes a "model system that could be built under ESSA." They believe their approach will "liberate classroom assessment from the confines of standardized tests, as well as provide useful accountability data."

Read the rest here.
Open Educational Resources
By Michael Q. McShane

When Lois Griffin runs for school board in the animated television comedy 
Family Guy, she stumps on a platform of "competent teachers, a better-funded music department, and updated textbooks that don't refer to the Civil Rights Movement as 'trouble ahead.'" Perpetually outdated, inordinately expensive, and a pain to lug around, textbooks have been the bĂȘte noire of educators and technologists for years. Replacing them with resources that are less costly and more flexible has been their cri de coeur.

While digital products have made significant inroads into the educational resources market, textbooks and other print materials still command about 60 percent of sales. But whether print or digital, all of these commercial offerings now face threats from a burgeoning effort to promote "open" resources for education-that is, materials that can be used and replicated free of charge because their copyright exists in the public domain.

Read the whole article with links here.
ADEC 2016
By Cecelia Bradley

The 2016 Australasian Democratic Education Community Conference was hosted by Koonwarra Village School in Victoria, Australia, from Monday evening, 26th September till Wednesday 28th September. More than 40 participants from Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory, came together to share their experiences of democratic education.

Special thanks to Fiona McKenzie and all the people from Koonwarra who welcomed us to their beautiful school and enabled us to have a productive gathering. It was great to see the renovations and additions to the school and to be able to enjoy the stylish, light filled spaces, the gardens and green spaces which surround the buildings.

Read the entire article here.
Book Review: The Reason I Jump: One Boy's Voice from the Silence of Autism by Naoki Higashida
Exclusive to AERO:

Constantinos Mantzikos,  Special education teacher.

Below is a review of the book "The Reason I Jump: One Boy's Voice from the Silence of Autism" , written by Naoki Higashida. The author writes about autism.

First of all, the author is an autistic man. He was born 1992 in Kimitsu, Japan and he received his original autism diagnosis in 1998. He has classic autism (Leo Kanner's autism) and can't talk effectively with speech. He developed an alternative communication system with an alphabet with his teacher. He wrote this book, because he wanted to show how he functions as an autistic person.

Autism is the most known human condition and many scholars have studied this condition. This remarkable book promotes the real image of autism and autistic individuals. He gives us an exceptional chance to enter the mind of another and see the world from a strange and fascinating perspective. 

In this book there are 58 questions and answers from the author. He answers the most common questions, such as: Why do autistic individuals demonstrate stereotypical behaviors? Why do these people delay giving an answer to a question? Why can't these people have eye contact? He gives answers in various fields, such as sensory issues and behavioral conditions. 
Read the original with links 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!