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How the Common Core Went Wrong



Even before the Common Core State Standards initiative was officially unveiled in June 2010, dozens of states had already pledged to adopt the standards. By the end of 2010, 39 states and the District of Columbia had adopted the new education standards for reading and math with little fuss or controversy. The initiative was cheered on by an impressive array of supporters: President Obama, prominent Republicans like Jeb Bush and Chris Christie, the heads of national teachers' unions, the United States Chamber of Commerce, and the Business Roundtable. Supporters billed the Common Core as a state-led, technical, apolitical exercise that would modernize and rationalize American education. In fact, even as most Americans remained unaware that the Common Core existed, Arne Duncan, the Obama administration's secretary of education, declared that "the Common Core State Standards may prove to be the single greatest thing to happen to public education in America since Brown v. Board of Education."


Yet in 2014, the picture looks very different. Indiana, Oklahoma, and South Carolina have abandoned the Common Core, and legislation to do the same has been introduced across the country. Influential Republican legislators have made repealing the Common Core a top priority in battleground states like North Carolina, Ohio, Missouri, and Wisconsin. The Common Core has become a poisonous brand; one recent national poll found that including the phrase "Common Core" reduced support for the idea of common reading and math standards by nearly one-fourth.

Read the rest here.
Is it Time to Start Your New Alternative Program? Scholarships still Available
AERO School: ALC Mosaic, NC

If you plan to start your new alternative in the next year or two and you want to avoid common pitfalls, enroll in the online School Starters Course before it fills up. It is already one-third filled. This does not include the applicants for scholarships.


 See Nancy Tilton's description of how AERO helped her start her ALC Mosaic School in Charlotte, NC. 



We have received several applications for the partial scholarships for the School Starters Online Course. We're also looking for more donors so that we can offer discounts to more of the students in the course. We are still taking applicants for the scholarships. 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. 

A scholarship application does not guarantee registration for the course. Enrollment will close when we reach 25 individuals or groups. If you register now at the regular tuition (which will probably go up significantly next year) your place in the course is guaranteed.
Kinokuni Children's Village

By Shinichiro Hori


Kinokuni Children's Village opened in Japan in 1992 as an independent primary school. This article is an edited extract from a booklet by the founder of the school, Shinichiro Hori.

In the first decade after World War II authoritarian moral education seemed to be replaced by democratic ways in Japan, but it has retreated into the old type. Ready-made sets of values are taught by special text-books. It is far from Summerhill and Kilquhanity ways where children form their own values through self-government and living together.

We view with suspicion the following aspects of today's Japanese schooling:

  • Education takes place at school only, or mainly at school.
  • So-called subject matters are the main dish at school.
  • Children are to be grouped according to their age.
  • Only people with certificates can teach at school.
  • Teachers should be respected because they are teachers.
  • School buildings are enclosed by high walls.
  • Each class has the same number of pupils (one king/queen and 40 servants/slaves).
  • Teachers teach and pupils are taught.

Read the rest here.
Giving Doctors Grades (And what it could mean for teacher evaluation)
ED: The following story may not seem related to education but it is! It is about how the evaluation process of surgeons caused them to avoid the more difficult cases. It is not hard to see how that could extend to teachers, who would avoid tackling the teaching of difficult students at schools in low income areas. 

By Sandeep Jauhar

ONE summer day 14 years ago, when I was a new cardiology fellow, my colleagues and I were discussing the case of an elderly man with worsening chest pains who had been transferred to our hospital to have coronary bypass surgery. We studied the information in his file: On an angiogram, his coronary arteries looked like sausage links, sectioned off by tight blockages. He had diabetes, high blood pressure and poor kidney function, and in the past he had suffered a heart attack and a stroke. Could the surgeons safely operate?

In most cases, surgeons have to actually see a patient to determine whether the benefits of surgery outweigh the risks. But in this case, a senior surgeon, on the basis of the file alone, said the patient was too "high risk." The reason he gave was that state agencies monitoring surgical outcomes would penalize him for a bad result. He was referring to surgical "report cards," a quality-improvement program that began in New York State in the early 1990s and has since spread to many other states.


Read the rest here

George Washington University Drops Admissions Test Requirements
By Lydia O'Connor

George Washington University on Monday became one of the largest and most prestigious schools to join a nationwide movement against admissions tests, announcing that it will no longer require applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores.


The Washington, D.C., school's new policy will go into effect on Aug. 1 and applies to both freshman applicants and transfer students. The university said in a statement that it came to the decision based on the findings of its Task Force on Access and Success.


Read the rest here.
For a list of other schools that have done this click here
Links to AERO Conference Videos Now Available to AERO Members
 We are gradually adding links to the AERO Conference keynotes to the AERO video archive. This is available free to all AERO members. The ones there so far include Sugata Mitra's keynote, Mitra's dialog with Yaacov Hecht, and the Agile Learning Center keynote. 

If you are a member, just use your member code to access the hundreds of videos. If you are not yet a member you can support AERO and become one here. 
NewsNews, Resources, & Calendar
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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.  

August 2nd, 2015
In This Issue
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