No Teacher Evaluations, but.....
View Student, Peter Gray Videos
Sugata Mitra, Keynote Speaker from the 2015 AERO Conference
Conference info here. 
Click for Portland AERO Registration is only $225, but will rise soon

AERO Conference 2016 First Call for Proposals!
We're excited to announce the AERO Conference 2016 call for proposals. Please submit your proposal for a workshop, presentation or event on the form linked here. We've already received many impressive inquiries about presentations at the Portland August 4-8 event. And we've already received many registrations. We expect the conference to be full well before it opens. You can still register for the whole conference at $225. Rooms at the Holiday Inn Portland Airport are at a special conference rate. Reserve them now. 
Hey wouldn't an AERO Conference registration make a good Christmas present?

People have asked about the deadline for workshop proposals. As we have in the past, we'll close when we have filled the workshop and presenter slots. This usually takes a month or so. 
Fearless Teaching Hits #1 Best Seller on Amazon List!
The official launch day for Stuart Grauer's fantastic new book, Fearless Teaching, was Thursday, December 9th, although AERO network members had access to it earlier. So we approached the date with great anticipation. We were not disappointed. As the day progressed the book shot up to #1 on a key list of education books, and in the top of the new releases. 

Reviews are starting to come in. This is from David Blumenkrantz from the Center for Youth and Community:

" I think it demonstrates that all great teachers are great storytellers. For us "seasoned" educator Stuart helps us remember why we went into the field in the first place. For educators in training and new teachers it is a brilliant navigational aid for helping find your way in this complex field, cluttered with ideas that remove us from the essential ingredient - it's about relationships. William Arthur Ward wrote:  "The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires." Stuart inspirers masterfully with Fearless Teaching."

The Small Schools Coalition Reported:

This is the book we all wish we had, either on spring break or in the graduate seminar on education:  All 33 compelling short stories ask provocative questions that will propel you to compassionate action. Included in this book is research pulling from science, educational research, sacred wisdom, and teachers and, best of all, students from all over the world. As you read the book, we hope you will rededicate yourself to the process of discovery, intuition, and a playful approach to life: fearlessness. You will meet the entitled, the powerful, the dominant, and you will meet the disenfranchised, desperate, and the hopeless, all seeking the same kinds of wisdom, courage, and intimacy."

We quickly sold out of all our copies. More will be arriving soon, but if you want to get the book in time for Christmas we suggest that for now you get them directly from Amazon. Also, until 3 AM Monday you can get a 25% discount. Here's the info:

To use this promotion, you must enter "25OFFBOOK" at checkout under the "Gift cards & promotional codes" section to receive 25% off any ONE (1) book, with a maximum discount of $10.
  • The discount will be applied to the highest priced book in your order.
  • This offer is valid on print books only. Excludes Kindle eBooks and Audible Audiobooks, Book Rentals and Amazon Gift Cards.
  • The promotion is valid for a limited time, on orders placed between December 10, 2015 at 12:00am EST and December 14, 2015 at 02:59am EST. Amazon reserves the right to modify or cancel this offer at any time."

I f you want you can still order Fearlless Teaching directly from AERO. Order  your  copies  here
New York State Stops Teacher Evaluations for 4 Years, but....
On December 11th Long Island's Newsday reported that, under pressure from parents and teacher unions, the link from Common Core tests and teacher evaluations has been postponed for four years. This is a big change, a victory for teachers, but in the process something important was forgotten. Here's a letter I wrote to the editor:

To the Editor:
Teachers were rejoicing at yesterday's announcement that teachers will not be evaluated by the results of the Common Core tests for at least four years. However the New York State Public School Student Union pointed out that this decision did not have any significant positive effect on their quality of life. They would still be subject to the draconian Common Core curriculum and the endless barrage of tests.
You hadn't heard that? Maybe it's because there is no public school students' union in New York. They have not been represented in this fight.
The basic problem is that a lot of lip service has been paid to a "student-centric," or as we call it a learner-centered approach, which builds on the interest of the learner. That is the paradigm that must be used in the new millennium so that children can become entrepreneurial and life-long learners. But the school system is still stuck in the old paradigm-that children must be forced to learn with external motivations and evaluations.  We, and the people in our network, believe that children are natural learners and this has been repeatedly confirmed by brain research. Therefore forced learning, teaching to the test, competition for grades and even irrelevant homework make no sense if you understand this.
So if there was a New York State Public School Students Union they would be announcing that the opt-out movement will continue unabated until the Common Core and all its related tests are dropped permanently. 

Jerry Mintz
Special for Outiside In Book
Lisa Harris' new children's book about tolerance, The Outside In Book, is still on sale, but we will provide free review copies to teachers of grades 4-7 or ages 9-12 who want to check it out for their students. The narrater is a 5th grade girl. For a review copy just reply to this e news or write to
Two New Peter Gray Videos
These two new Peter Gray videos were made for an alternative camp that is an AERO member, 

Self-Directed Learning

Why Are Children Playing?
Compass, Homeschool Resource Center Video!
This is a great video by a well known Canadian cinematographer about Compass, a homeschool resource center on Ottawa. 

Remember, if you are an AERO member you get a free link to a video of your school or organization from the AERO member site

View the video here!
Fascinating Non-Western Math/Science History Powerpoint from AEROx Presentation
At our request, Jed Stamas sent us this powerpoint of his presentation of math and science history from a non-western prospective.It is called Incorporating History and Cultural Studies into Science Education. I think you'll be surprised how math history has been misrepresented to you. It was presented at the AEROx two weeks ago in Massachusetts. 

We've now received feedback from a survey of AEROx attendees, and they thoroughly enjoyed the experience. If you are interested in hosting an AEROx regional just reply to this e news or write to and we'll put you on the list of potential sites. 

Check out the presentation here.
Links and 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 a year end donation to AERO to help support our work. Thanks!