The Weekly Newsletter of Educational Alternatives -
We are short $3000 on Matching Fund
10 Days to go
We've asked a lot from our AERO network members in the last year and you've come through with flying colors.  We had great participation in our online course, at the AERO conference, in the first part of the New Visions matching fund through last December, and the fundraising for the Nepal orphanage earthquake fund.
Last year the New Visions Foundation made an unusual two-part, two-year grant to us which included a $10,000 match ending in December, which we made, and another $10,000 match ending this month,  June 30th. We are still almost $3,000 short on that one, having raised $400 in the last two weeks. If you haven't donated to the matching fund yet, please do. If you have, or have donated to the match or to help the Nepal orphanage relief, please consider a small additional donation to help us make the match.
Thanks so much for your generous support! We will still send conference DVDs and books in thanks, as we said last week.
Send your gift here.
Announcements: School Starter Course, DVDs and CDs
Reflections from an (Albany) Free School Graduate
By Harmony Bickerton

Loud shrieks emanated through the worn walls of the curious red brick building on Elm Street in Albany, New York's South End neighborhood. The little girl gazed up at the crooked sign on the fire escape, swaying in the wind. "The Free School" the sign stated proudly, towering above her head. She struggled to pull open the doors. The stairs made clicking sounds as she tripped over herself, stuffed animal in tow. When she reached the top of the stairs she cautiously shuffled through the door. The girl was welcomed by her new classmates who were busy chasing each other with arms flailing above their heads like flags, and the smell of crayons and dirt permeating the room.  She hugged her stuffed dog close to her chest, eyes wide with astonishment. There was a light tap on her shoulder.  When she turned around, she was greeted by a lady with a big smile. "What's your name?" the woman asked kindly.  The girl looked down at her light-up shoes and mumbled, "Harmony."  She didn't like to talk to people much. When the lady left, she sat in the corner and buried her head in a book.  She stayed in the corner most of that first day and spoke sparingly.


But that was nine years ago...


Read the rest here.
A Visit to Summerhill - Possibly the Happiest School in the World

By: Alexander Khost

"When people come here, they don't say that Neill's writing inspired them, but rather, that Neill's writing changed their life," I heard Zoe Readhead say in a meeting I attended last week. Zoe is the principal of Summerhill, a ninety-four year old boarding school in Leiston, England and the daughter of A. S. Neill, the school's founder and the author of many transformative books. I am one among the self proclaimed life-changed people.


Many years before, across a huge ocean far away in the suburbs outside New York City, Summerhill seemed like an unattainable fantasy to my fifteen year old public-schooled mind, But the very thought of it, just the possibility that a school could be as such made me come alive and has had me so for the twenty-five years since.

Read the rest here.
Big Bird Can Close the Achievement Gap? Not So Fast . . .

Don't get me wrong: I love Big Bird as much as the next guy. But when people start talking about how Sesame Street is just as effective at closing the achievement gap as preschool, I start to worry that we're becoming enamored with a seductively simple characterization of a deeply complex problem.


To wit: this article, in which we are told the "new findings offer comforting news for parents who put their children in front of public TV every day." Or this radio story, in which the reporter claims that the show's heavy dosage of reading and math can yield long-term academic benefits that "close the achievement gap."

Read the rest 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.  

June 21st, 2015
In This Issue
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