The Weekly Newsletter of Educational Alternatives -
L'shanah tovah, Happy New Year 5776!
We'd like to wish you and those who celebrate it a happy and healthy Jewish New Year!
The Next AERO Conference Will be....
The Next AERO conference is now set for the first week in August, 2016. Next week we will announce the venue and the fantastic first keynote speaker!
Participants at this year's AERO conference gather around keynoter Sugata Mitra

Joe Nathan Column: New Policy Threatens 30 Years of Great Work 
By  Joe Nathan

College in the Schools, aka  Concurrent Enrollment , one of the Minnesota's most family friendly, successful education programs developed over the past 30 years, is threatened by a questionable new policy from the ironically named  Higher Learning Commission .

The commission is a self-perpetuating, nonpublicly elected group, based in Chicago, that accredits colleges and universities in 19 states, including Minnesota. Its power comes from Congress, which requires colleges and universities wanting federal "Pell" grants to be accredited.

In 45 years of work with educators and legislators, I've never seen so much bipartisan, widespread opposition develop so quickly toward a single policy, as has arisen in the past two weeks since high school educators learned about the policy. Urban, suburban and rural, district and charter, Republican and DFL policymakers and educators are challenging it.. They agree that the new policy would reduce students' and families' access to higher education and could cost millions to implement.

This policy demands that, effective fall 2017, all high school concurrent enrollment teachers have either a master's degree in their field or a master's in teaching, plus 18 additional credits (essentially six additional courses). The commission refuses to allow current high school teachers, regardless of their success, to continue teaching the concurrent enrollment courses if they don't meet these standards. The commission wants to impose its model on high schools - a model that doesn't require college and university professors take even one course on how to teach.

Read the rest here.
A Brief History of Education in the United States (Part 1)

Introduction: As schools reopen this fall, I thought it would be interesting to put together a brief history of education in the United States. One thing that stands out to me is that education is never either an independent force in American society or a principle agent for social change. It is a reflection of the basic debates talking place in the broader society.

During the colonial era literacy was to promote religious orthodoxy. In the revolutionary era when colonials overthrew monarchy and established a new republic leaders were concerned with building an educated citizenry, though their vision was limited to White male property-holders. In the early industrial era the expansion of public education was a response to the transformation of society from agricultural to industrial and urban. In this era and in the age of mass Eastern and Southern European immigration from 1880 to 1924 education was also about the assimilation or Americanization of new groups. Zero tolerance disciplinary practices in schools in recent decades followed zero tolerance policing practices, mandatory sentencing, and three-strikes policies in response to the crack epidemic and fear of urban crime.

In each of these periods education was also about mechanisms for social control in a society undergoing cultural and demographic change. In the 1950s expanded educational funding and opportunity was part of the Cold War. Today educational "reform" is a major part of both the debate over how the United States should respond to globalization, computerization, and deindustrialization and also again over what to do about a new wave of both documented and undocumented immigrants.

From the Puritans to the Age of Immigration

The first schools in the original British North Atlantic colonies opened in the 17th century and were to prepare boys to read the Bible. The Boston Latin School was founded in 1635. The first tax-supported public school was in Dedham, Massachusetts. In the 1640s the Massachusetts Bay Colony made basic education compulsory and similar statutes were adopted in other colonies. Originally schools were only for boys and instruction was by rote memorization. Schoolbooks were initially brought from England, however in 1690, Boston printers were republishing the English Protestant Tutor as their own The New England Primer. In 18th century common schools, which were generally financed by a combination of local allocations and fees charged to families who had children attending the school. All students were taught in a single room by one teacher. Anything beyond a basic literacy and numeracy required attendance at a private academy. Boston finally started the first public high school in the United States in 1821.

Read the rest here.
School Starters Course is Full, but....
Jerry with schools starters from Kalapa School in Colombia

The AERO School Starter Course is now technically full. But if you were not able to register for a good reason, let us know and we may be able to arrange something. 

We're very excited about this year's class! We have students registered from California, Michigan, North Carolina, New York, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Nevada,  Philippines, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Mexico,  Belgium, Australia, and Ireland!

Teens Should Start School at 10 a.m., Scientists Suggest. Is That Realistic?
Sixteen-year-old students should be  starting school no earlier than 10 a.m., a group of scientists wrote recently, citing the effects of changing sleep patterns on areas like health, learning, and memory.

And 18-year-olds should start their school day at 11 a.m., said the researchers, from Oxford University, Harvard University, and the University of Nebraska.

The position is a  dramatic extension of previous research recommendations. In 2014, for example, the American Academy of Pediatrics said  middle schools and high schools should start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. to better sync with students' changing sleep cycles.

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.  

September 6th, 2015
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