Poll Results
Apply now for 15 Minute Mini-Talks
Yong Zhao, Keynote Speaker for the 2016 AERO Conference. Conference info here. Portland AERO Registration is only $225, but will rise soon. Workshop proposals now accepted here

AERO Conference Deposit, Mini-Talks
$50 Deposits Still Possible
You can now make a $50 deposit to hold the current rate for the AERO conference. You must send it in by January 31st.  The balance does not need to be paid until May 30th.
First Day Mini-Talk Form
We now have a form to submit a proposal for a 15 minute TED-like presentation on the first day of the AERO conference. These will be presented to all the conference participants. Some may be stand alone, but may also be introductions for people doing other workshops. Some will be eventually available on Youtube. To apply to do a mini-talk just click here. You can also still submit regular workshop presentations here. We now have twenty workshop proposals in but can still take some more, although there will be a lower total this year because of the first day mini-talks. 
Fundraising Idea
In communicating with a school with very limited funds we suggested a technique that has worked for many such schools interested in bringing students to alternative education conferences. We thought it might be useful to others:
One technique that has been used used is to have the interested students go to family,  friends,  merchants,  and businesses with a sponsor sheet that says, in essence, "I have a chance to go to the AERO conference in Portland, OR to represent the ______ School and our city. We've never been to such an international conference before. I need to raise $X to be able to go. Will you be one of my sponsors? Any amount will help. We'll send you a card from Portland and have a big event when we get back to report our experiences." 
It would give you publicity and maybe some new students. 
Keynote Suggestions
We are working on additional keynoters and are open to your suggestions.  
England's Charter-Style Schools on Rise

Without a doubt, the biggest change to the educational landscape in England over the next few years will be the growth of so-called academies and free schools, both modeled at least in part on U.S. charter schools. 

Prime Minister David Cameron has said he would like every government-funded school in England to be a free school or academy by 2020. At present, they represent 60 percent of the country's roughly 2,000 state-supported secondary schools.

The Government's academies program was launched in the 1990s under former Prime Minister Tony Blair. Initially, they were confined to inner-city areas. Now, though, any school can seek academy status. Failing schools, however, are forced to become academies with new private sponsors and - usually - a new principal (or headteacher, as school leaders are called in the U.K.) 

Read the rest here.
How to Fix the Country's Failing Schools. And How Not To
By David L. Kirp

A QUARTER-CENTURY ago, Newark and nearby Union City epitomized the failure of American urban school systems. Students, mostly poor minority and immigrant children, were performing abysmally. Graduation rates were low. Plagued by corruption and cronyism, both districts had a revolving door of superintendents. New Jersey officials threatened to take over Union City's schools in 1989 but gave them a one-year reprieve instead. Six years later, state education officials, decrying the gross mismanagement of the Newark schools, seized control there.
In 2009, the political odd couple of Chris Christie, the Republican governor-elect, and Cory Booker, Newark's charismatic mayor, joined forces, convinced that the Newark system could be reinvented in just five years, in part by closing underperforming schools, encouraging charter schools and weakening teacher tenure. In 2010 they persuaded Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's chief executive, to invest $100 million in their grand experiment. "We can flip a whole city!" the mayor enthused, "and create a national model."

Read the rest here.
Opt-Out Activists Aim to Build on Momentum in States

Activists driving the resistance to state exams are attempting to build on their state-level momentum over the past year, while also venturing into a new political landscape that will test whether the energy behind their initial victories will last.

And they say they're forging ahead with their plans regardless of how much support they get from traditional education advocacy groups, including teachers' unions.

Several leaders within the so-called testing opt-out movement, which has gained considerable traction in New York and also found a foothold in states like Colorado and Connecticut, say they will continue to push parents to refuse to allow their children to take standardized exams, particularly state tests, for as long as it's necessary.

Read the rest here.
Joseph Chilton Pearce
Ed: I last met Joseph Chilton Pearce at a conference in Hawaii in 2000 where I learned about Heart Math from him. He is a giant in our field, still a force at 90 years old!

By  Michael Mendizza

Wisdom never goes out of date.

Our Academy is a unique, dynamic, user lead platform that instantly filters and sorts hundreds of hours of in-depth personal interview focusing in on the themes and issues that are most important to you; pregnancy, birth, bonding, parenting, the origins of love and violence, athletics, optimum states of learning and performance, expanding human potential and amazing capacities and self-infected limitations.

The Academy is the home of the Joseph Chilton Pearce Library, over fifty hours of streaming audio and video spanning over twenty five years. The James W. Prescott Library, multiple interviews, documentaries and research publications on the impact of sensory deprivation and the developing brain. The Bev Bos Library, summarizing the best of one of the world's most sought after and respected early childhood and parenting educator. The Keith Buzzell Library offering multiple interviews on the nature of the self-as-image and rich commentary on the teachings of Gurdjieff. And the Krishnamurti Library offering highlights of this world renowned teacher's insights.

Read the rest and see video here.
Poll Results
These are the tentative results of the poll on e news topics:
All topics had at lest 25% interest. We had 45-50% interest for learner-centered education, democratic education, research on alternative education, unschooling,  and higher education alternatives.. Following closely behind were public choice alternatives,  and homeschool resource centers.
Some thought we shouldn't report quite so much on common core and testing. Others wrote in topics of Regio, and white privilege,
Bernie Sanders won the presidential poll on who would help alternative education the most with "none of the above" coming in second. 

Thanks to all who participated in the poll and congratulations to the quiz winners. Your books are on the way!

Alt. Ed. Quiz Answers
1.  Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad, Dragon: Why China Has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World.
2.  Rudolf Steiner
3.  Hall of fame link is here. 
4.  Alexander Sutherland
5.  John Taylor Gatto
6.  AERO Rep List is here
7.  Jonathan Kozol
8.  Sugata Mitra
9.  Stuart Grauer
10.  Sir Ken Robinson
11.  Russell Sage College
12.  Israel!
SelfDesign Graduate Institute Webinars
SelfDesign Graduate Institute FACULTY WEBINARS
All webinars are one hour; all are free

January 24, 4 PM PST -How an Understanding of the Evolution of Consciousness Helps Us Make Sense of Our "Crazy" World, with David Marshak   Please register for the webinar here.

January 31,   1 PM PST  - Integrated Learning and Leadership, with Peter Berg   Please register for the webinar here.

February 7,   1 PM PST -Dancing with Ambiguity, with Pille Bunnell   Please register 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 making a donation to AERO to help support our work. Thanks!