Brazilian Students Take over Schools, Resist Police
New Video: High Stakes and the Black Community
Yong Zhao, Keynote Speaker for the 2016 AERO Conference. Conference info here. Portland AERO Registration is only $225, but will rise after the new year. Workshop proposals now accepted here

We at AERO Wish You a Great New Year!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ((((( ))))) ( : ( :  : )  : )  (((((  ))))) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AERO's Sustaining Members
Very quietly AERO has been developing a cadre of stalwart sustaining members. They have arranged to have a small amount donated to AERO every month, so that we have a continuing means of support we can count on. Of course all donations are tax deductible. Our great thanks to those who have done so and to those who will do so now. If you would like to become part of this group, please go here and make your commitment for the year. 

Brazil students take over schools and fight off police

At the time of writing,  students aged between 13 and 18 have autonomously occupied over 50 state schools in São Paulo,  Brazil, with the number rising by the hour. The occupations started on November 9, following the announcement of a re-structuring of the state school system, which would involve the closure of 98 schools. The "E day" of the announcement, as it's being called by Brazilian media, left 311,000 students and their parents without much knowledge of where their sons and daughters would be transferred to, and 74,000 teachers with uncertain destinies.

One of the first schools to be occupied was Fernão Dias, situated in a busy, middle class neighborhood of São Paulo. Students occupied it overnight, and remain locked inside despite police pressure, barracading themselves in with chairs and tables and decorating the gates with signs stating "It's our school", "We are taking what's ours by right" and "The students resist". The schools that followed were situated all around the city, including the poorer, peripheral neighborhoods, where police pressure has been even larger and more violent, since the fear of reprehension and accountability is lower.

Read the rest here.

More coverage from the NY Times here.

Robert's Rules Can Make Any Meeting More Efficient

Ed: Ted Weisgal is a regular presenter at AERO conferences and will be back again this year in Portland (see top right, current rate ends at New Year's Day). 

Chris Tomlinson

Henry Martyn Robert was sitting through an interminable meeting, where loudmouths dominated, more thoughtful people were afraid to speak up and the group wasn't accomplishing anything.

Everyone over the age of 6 knows what Robert was feeling. We've all sat through staff meetings and conference calls that spun out of control. And while I normally write about grander topics, how to improve meetings is vital to every business.

Perhaps most embarrassing for Robert, he was supposed to be in charge of the meeting in New Bedford, Mass. He was a West Point graduate and an engineering officer in the U.S. Army, so he knew how to analyze problems and give orders. But this was a public meeting filled with civilians with whom he could not enforce military discipline.

After 14 wasted hours, Robert decided to never lead another civilian meeting until he learned parliamentary procedure. But he found those rules inconsistent and inadequate.

Read the rest here.

You can buy Robert's Rules For Kids from AERO here.

The Ten Worst Things That Happen in School

Ed: People have been asking us for a while to create a list like this with footnotes referring to research to back it up. Please feel free to reply or write to us with other items or with useful research. Thanks!

1. Sometimes you have to get up when it's still dark.
Research has shown that children generally learn better when they start school later.1

2. Most schools dispense curriculum from the top down, from distant sources.
Children learn best when the approach is learner-centered, based on their interest.

3. Students are forced to stay in classrooms and are not allowed to leave.
Democratic and progressive schools have found that children are happier and learn better when they are free to come and go.

4. Children in most schools are forced to sit in rows of desks and not move around.
Research shows that it is unhealthy for children to not move around, and is especially painful for kinesthetic learners. 2

See the rest and footnotes here. 

Bulletin! Beyond Measure Book Just in!
We have just received 15 copies of the new hard cover book, Beyond Measure, written by Vicki Abeles, who made the stunning video, Race to Nowhere. The video went viral and Abeles wrote the book as a practical follow-up. 

You can buy the book here.

Get New AERO Ebooks!
We have just created the Fearless Teaching ebook! You can order it now from Amazon as a holiday gift and have it instantly. 

We also have a newly updated e book of Nikhil Goyal's One Size Does Not Fit All. His new book with Doubleday will be coming out some time next year; You can also now get the re-edited original  here

We have several other ebooks you can get, listed below. 

In his recent view of Fearless Teaching in Lib Ed, educational pioneer David Gribble writes:

"... Grauer simply tells relevant stories, thirty-six of them. The variety is irresistible. The topics include. at one extreme, a visit with a group of students to a tribal village in Tanzania, where they saw him assisting in the slaughter and cooking of a goat, on which they feasted with the villagers and, at the other, simple stories of surf-boarding. Grauer tells how he went with students hither and thither between Israel and Palestine. He describes what he found when he was invited to South Korea to try help the Koreans to take a less prescriptive approach to schooling . . . From his choice of story and his own comments Grauer reveals, among other things, an energetic opposition to conventional school organisation, an unqualified approval of  the benefits of tribal cultures, great respect for the natural environment and an opposition to large schools because teachers and students in such schools cannot really get to know one another.  He believes strongly in the value of introducing young people to a variety of experience...." 

Buy the Fearless Teaching Ebook here.

You can order the physical book Fearless Teaching directly from AERO   here

We have several other e books you can now get.  Here's a list of them.  

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!