New Alfie Kohn Video
New AERO Podcast: Eisenstein!

We'd like to thank all of the AERO network members around the world. We offer you holiday greetings, and the hope that our combined positive energy will help make the coming year a wonderful one!

The New Standardized Testing Craze to Hit Public Schools  (Fairtest Report)
By Valerie Strauss

Last year, the Obama administration conceded that U.S. public school students were taking too many standardized tests, this after after a revolt among students, parents and teachers, and after a two-year study found that there was no evidence that adding testing time improves student achievement. But if you thought that the administration's admission meant that the problem was on its way to being resolved, guess again.

Today the rise of online or computer-based testing threatens  to reverse whatever progress has been made in reducing the number of tests in the last year. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing, known as FairTest, a non-profit organization that works to end the abuse and misuse of standardized tests, has put out a  new fact sheet about this program, which says in part:

Read the actual report here.
Play - by Daniel Greenberg
By Daniel Greenberg

Nothing disturbs visitors to Sudbury Valley School more than the sight of children of all ages playing freely all day long. The image contradicts every notion people have of what a school should be. Moreover, it seems to offer proof of our culture' s prevailing view that children, left to their own resources, cannot be expected to amount to much, since all they do is play. No matter how the situation is viewed, it doesn't look good.

In general, play has gotten a bad press in Western society. It is considered to be the activity that is least useful economically, socially, even ethically. It is associated with laziness and shiftlessness. It is the antonym of "work". At best, it is what one does when one has earned time off from productive work, when nothing more is expected of a person; it is to be discouraged at all other times. In the case of young children, it is sometimes acknowledged to be a necessary evil, and much effort is bent towards improving its quality, or justifying it as a partially excusable preparation for something more substantial.

Read the rest here.
Alfie Kohn - Unorthodox Ideas About Education

Interviews with Summerhill Pupils
Pauline & Tom
Pauline, aged 17 from Germany has nine siblings, 5 of whom have been to Summerhill.  Tom, aged 16 from London has two brothers.

How long have you been at Summerhill? 
P: 5 years, since age 12.
T: 5 years, since age 11.

Why did you come to Summerhill?
P: My three older siblings came to Summerhill so it seemed right and I wanted to find out what it was all about.
T: I always wanted to go. My dad worked here so I have always known about it. I came with him for reunions and after a brutal experience on an induction day for a secondary modern school I decided that I needed to be here instead.

How did it feel when you first started at Summerhill? 

Read the whole Summerhill Newsletter, including articles by  Zoe Readhead, Henry Readhead, Summerhill state members, archive here!
New AERO Podcast!

On this episode, Jerry interviews Charles Eisenstien about paradaigm shifts in human thinking, education, his books, and Donald Trump's effect on education.

You can listen here.
Last Week!
Half Price for AERO memberships . That is $20 for individuals, $37.50 for schools and organizations. This also means banners on the member site for just $75 for schools and organizations. Renew your membership at these prices if you want to keep your link on the member site and your spot on the map. 

Special price for new advertisers on AERO website and e news combo. Join Antioch University New England, Goddard College, Self Design, Marlboro College, High Mowing School, Ojai Village Academy, Summa Academy, Liberated Learners and others and be seen in 50 e newsletters and all major pages on the AERO website. 

E books are just $9.99

The price to audit the school starter course is now at 70% off, $300! 

Please consider sending an end of year donation to support AERO's work. AERO is a nonprofit and donations are tax-exempt. 

We will send a thank you print  of your choosing to readers who send a minimum of a $50  donation  to AERO. for an 18 x 24 print, and $100 for a 24 x 36 print. The pictures on the website are low resolution and are not to be copied or disseminated. The prints we send out are in high resolution.  When you send in your donation, please indicate the number of the painting that you want in the comment section or by separate e mail. You can see all the pictures and their numbers  here.

 We're Awaiting the Final Contract and Will Soon Announce the Location and Date of the Next AERO Conference

Links and Calendar
Please send us feedback on this issue. also, we would like to have more articles written by AERO members and about AERO school and organizations.  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 an end of year donation to AERO to help support our work. Thanks!