Reports on Two AERO Members 

12 Days to AEROx!
Sugata Mitra, Keynote Speaker from the 2015 AERO Conference
Conference info here. 
Click for Portland AERO 2016 Super Early Bird
Contact AERO

Phone: (516) 621-2195

417 Roslyn Road, Roslyn Heights, NY 11577

AEROx Scholarships Available!

The first AEROx regional gathering is beginning to fill up. It is just 12 days away! But we have some great news. We have received a surprise donation to help with scholarships to the upcoming AEROx. Contact AERO by replying if you are  interested or write to Jerry or Peter (see below).Scholarships are partial and full and can be for any age.  Of course, next year's AERO conference will be in Portland, Oregon in August, so this may be the last northeastern area AERO conference for a long time. 
The AEROx at Earthlands in Massachusetts will be an intimate affair. It is from the afternoon-evening of November 20th through Sunday afternoon, the 22nd.  It will be a chance to interact in depth in a way that may not be possible in bigger, more hectic venues. This will be particularly helpful for the school starters who have already registered and others who may still come, as they will have AERO School Starter Course instructors Chris Mercogliano and Jerry Mintz to themselves for consultation on their projects. The same is true for the other workshop presenters. For example, anyone interested in Goddard College can find out all about it. And students and staff members from Longview School will do workshops. 

Many people have checked out the trailer of the other documentary we will show that Jerry acquired when he was in Colombia.  It is a new and original documentary about a fantastic treatment community in Ecuador that works with traumatized babies and toddlers. It is called Grandir . We probably have the only copy of this video in the United States.It has English subtitles.  It is a truly beautiful documentary. 
The AEROx rate is only $195, and this includes registration, lodging, and meals from Friday night's dinner to Sunday lunch.  Children, presenters and low income participants are still $150.

Author/educator Chris Mercogliano will be a keynoter on Saturday the 21st. Chris was long-time director of Albany's Free School and has written many books, including How to Grow a School, and his latest, "A School Must Have a Heart." Class Dismissed will be screened on Friday evening. 

We are also offering a Saturday only rate at $150.  

Schedule and Workshops
Here's a link to the schedule and workshops from Friday to Sunday, Nov. 20-22. 

Lodging is rustic style shared rooms with bunks in off the grid, environmentally sustainable buildings.  

Meals are  vegetarian and vegan, provided by  Earthland's 
resident chef. People can also camp on the site.
We are still collecting workshop proposals. Send them to, or  

Full Schedule, workshops and meals list here.

AERO Visits Pono Learning Center!

On November 1st several people from AERO visited Pono Learning Center in West Harlem, Manhattan. It is one of the programs we helped to start, as Maysaa, the founder, was a School Starter. 

Pono is now 5 years old. It  has about 20 students and is in a beautiful corner building across the street from a big park. West Harlem is surprisingly diverse now. 

It is well organized and the students seem to enjoy it a lot. They have a morning meeting and one at the end of the day, as well as special meetings when issues come up. 

In their early years Pono was entirely outdoors, and they still spend a lot of time in the park. The students are very articulate about the school.  They range in age from 3 
to 8

They have several paid staff in two or three broad age groups, as well as some volunteers and parents. 
Educational Malpractice - The Child Manufacturing Process
In many nations around the world there is a struggle currently going on between two very different paradigms for educating children. The dominant system has been in place for over a hundred years. It is sometimes called the "factory model." This is where schools are set up to administer "essential knowledge" to large batches of same-age children simultaneously. After instruction has been completed the children are tested, to see how much of the knowledge they were able to understand and remember.

This system is based on the way factories and scientific experiments were designed at the beginning of the last century. While on the surface this approach seems to be about transmitting "knowledge" to children there is also an unspoken " hidden curriculum" being taught. As  John Taylor Gatto has written, such schooling teaches youth to obey authority, to comply with instructions, to be willing to engage in difficult activities that often seem meaningless, and to accept that society is comprised of people with different levels of talent and social status.

Read the rest here.
Chris Churchill: Kids need the lessons that only nature can teach
A group of children from the  Albany Free School journeyed to the woods last week, and I went with them.

I'm glad I did, because I heard sentences like this:

"I tried to pet the ladybug that was on my arm, but instead I knocked it off."

Those words, uttered by a fourth-grade girl named Alex, hit my ears like haiku. It's poetry that you're unlikely to hear from a child sitting inside with eyes fixed to a video game.

But inside, often watching a screen, is where today's children spend so much - entirely too much - of their time.

If you grew up more than 15 years ago, it was probably different for you. Most kids would come home from school, drop their backpacks and rush back outside.

They would spend the day running, tackling, arguing, stomping, jumping, throwing.


Read the original article with pictures here.
Self Managed Learning College
P eople in our current School Starter Course were interested in the democratic school that Ian Cunningham founded in England, Self Managed Learning College. Some like his model very much. The asked him a question about his funding. This was his response, along with a couple of great links to videos:
"There is an interesting TEDx talk by 16 year old Sam Watling (ex 
student with Asperger's) at

As to funding this comes from a number of routes. The company that I chair puts all profits into the charity; some schools pay for students to come to us (even though our local council has stopped funding schools can use their own budgets); we raise money from trust funds etc; and in cases where there is a shortfall in cash parents contribute. However we keep costs low eg people like me work for nothing; we get grad students from local universities to provide tuition for free (eg music students do their teacher training with us after they have graduated) - and all tutors are paid just fees for work done (we have no employees which saves us a lot).
The College is going well and we have 18 students from age 9 to 16. We are also getting more national and international recognition e.g. this year we have had visitors from Chile, Greece, Australia - and i have been to Puerto Rico, Sweden, Finland, Israel, Canada etc to show our work.".
Dr Ian Cunningham
Self Managed Learning College
Film available at
Phone 01273 703691 or 270995 or 07850 313814
Links and Calendar
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