One Day Book Sale Below!
Joe Nathan on Safer Schools
Yong Zhao, Keynote Speaker for the 2016 AERO Conference.
Zhao TEDx Talk
 Conference info here. Portland AERO Registration is only $275, but will rise soon. Workshop proposals now accepted here
Peter Gray will also keynote
See his TEDx talk here
Stuart Grauer
Founder of the Grauer School
Author of Fearless Teaching
See one of his videos here




Record Number of Long Island Students Opt Out of State Tests
Students who opted out of testing sit in the auditorium of the William S. Covert Elementary School in South Hempstead, N.Y., on April 14, 2015. PHOTO: ANDREW HINDERAKER FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

By  LESLIE BRODY

The number of students who opted out of state tests in Long Island rose to more than 97,500 this week, according to tallies by test-refusal advocates-or about half of the students in grades three through eight.

Long Island Opt Out, which has promoted the movement, said Friday it had volunteers cull numbers from officials and teachers in 124 districts this week. The group lacked data for six districts.

The group said the boycott grew from last spring, when it said 82,492 Long Island students opted out of at least one of the three days of English language arts exams. Next week will have three days of math tests.

The persistent strength of the protest comes even after state education commissioner MaryEllen Elia traveled the state encouraging parents to have children take the federally mandated tests. She said they were shorter than last year, untimed to alleviate stress, and wouldn't factor into teachers' formal ratings due to New York's four-year moratorium on using state exams that way.

But Jeanette Deutermann, a Bellmore mother of two and leader of Long Island Opt Out, said parents wanted more fundamental change inside classrooms. She said test preparation for reading and math still dominated class time and squeezed important subjects like social studies, science, art and music.

"Our goal is really to change this whole system," she said.

Read the rest here.

Also check out this article by Alan Singer about the opt outs.
Poll Results, Registration News
Thanks to all our readers who have participated in our last two surveys. The information you sent us has been very valuable. For the first survey we found that people who don't open some newsletters are still strong AERO supporters but are often pressed for time. We are considering streamlining the e news to address that. 

When we asked if people were coming to the conference, of those who said "maybe," their main concern was financial. One way we are addressing that is to start compiling lists of people for room shares which could bring the cost down to as little as $30 a day. We also still have a rate for low income attendees and special rates for groups and students. I wonder if some people planning to drive to the conference could do ride shares? If so, let us know. 

So we're now aware that many more people plan to attend than have registered. With almost four months to go the conference is about a third filled, not too bad as this hit it usually goes with AERO attendees! 

We do feel a need this year to have people sign up for the workshops they want to attend as the venue is not quite as big as it was four years ago, and you do need to be registered to do that. Sign up for workshops here.

In addition we are about to announce the terrific International Cafe that will happen at the beginning and at the end of the conference. We'll also need signups for that so we'll know how many tables we need to order. That's also in the signup form. More information in mid-week. 

If you are planning to attend but haven't registered yet, please do now or at least use the deposit option. It will help us greatly. If you can't register now or have a group, special need or want to volunteer, please contact us by replying to this e news or writing to JerryAERO@AOL.com  If you do we'll hold the current registration price for you for a few weeks. 

You can register this week for the 5 day AERO conference for  $275 , and you also have the option to register at the $225 rate if you are low income . This will end without warning as the conference gets more full. We still have the $500 patron rate for those who want to sponsor another attendee, half of which is tax deductible. Other rates: Volunteers and students can still register at the $200 rate . The rate for children under 12 is $100 , which includes child care. Contact us directly for special group rates. 

Get more info or register here!
Joe Nathan Column: Steps to Safer Schools
By Joe Nathan

Minnesota legislators are debating what to do about student fights and attacks on teachers in some schools. As legislators refine policies, I hope several principles are included: expectations, consequences, flexibility, support and students' strengths.

People like Don, Teresa and Mr. Phillips (not their real names) come to mind when I read headlines about assaults in schools.

Teresa often instigated fights in a public school where I worked. She constantly told one student something negative another student supposedly said. Educators will recognize the "he said, she said" gossip game. As an assistant principal, I spent hours sorting through this. We tried lectures, detention and suspension. But the fights continued.

read the rest here.
Butterfly Town USA
Ed: Although a little off topic, we're giving you this important and beautiful movie by Dorothy Fadiman, who you know as the film maker for "Why do These Kids Love School?"

Butterfly Town, USA follows activists in Pacific Grove, CA, who work
together to protect their fragile monarch butterfly grove from the winds.
One courageous activist leads this citizen effort to plant and care for
more trees. The effort requires not only hands-on intensive labor, but showing up at City Council meetings to defend their plan. Butterfly ecologist, Lincoln Brower, adds his perspective throughout the film.

WHY THIS FILM IS SO IMPORTANT NOW
While the numbers of monarch butterflies in certain locations are improving,

The story in this film is still relevant as citizens worldwide unite to fight
habitat loss due to climate change, deforestation and pesticides.

Watch the full movie here.
One Day Book Sale!
For one day we are selling three PRINT books from the AERO bookstore for only $5!

These are Jerry Mintz' No Homework and Recess All Day, Lisa Harris' The Outside in Book, and Ron Miller's The Self-Organizing Revolution

These are some of our best sellers. 

No Homework and Recess All Day gives a great overview of educational alternatives Around the World. Joh Gatto Says, "This is a delight to read, full of insights drawn from real life. Jerry Mintz' broad experience with other ways to organize the scholastic part of growing up is unique."Read More. 

The Outside In Book is a book primarily for students about tolerance and disabilities. It is told by a 10 year old girl who is curious about who he teachers really are and what their secrets are. Professor Arnold Dodge writes: "The Outside in Book is a small gem that illuminates a difficult subject..." Read More

The Self-Organizing Revolution is considered by author Ron Miller to be one of his most important books. It is about how the movement for learner-centered education sprang up from the grass roots and continues to grow. William Crain Says: "The clearest and most perceptive description of alternative education movements I have read. This is a marvelously lucid and thought-provoking book."Read More
Links and Calendar
Links
Ongoing
 
Calendar
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!