AERO Conference Documentary (VIDEO)

January 18, 2011 at 11:15 am | Posted in AERO, AERO Conference, AERO Online Video Series, Democratic Education, New Resource | Leave a comment
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This is a short film by Franzi Florack of the 7th annual AERO conference, which took place in Albany, NY June 24-27, 2010. The theme of the conference was “Learner-centered alternatives for everyone.” Find out more about AERO conference and this year’s event in Portland, OR, “Transforming Education & Our World,” by visiting​conference.html

2010’s ‘Best of Democratic Education’ List (Resource)

January 3, 2011 at 10:26 am | Posted in AERO, AERO Conference, AERO Online Video Series, Democratic Education, Education Events, Education News, Education Revolution Magazine, International Democratic Education Conference, New Resource | Leave a comment
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Isaac Graves

I recently read through Education Week’s “Revisiting the Most Popular Stories of 2010” list and was generally disenchanted. This is not to say it’s a bad list, rather it didn’t represent my work and passions in democratic and alternative education. After a few days of jogging my memory, looking through a few ‘cheat sheets,’ and asking around I now present to you my ‘Best of Democratic Education’ list for 2010. I’ve organized the links into a few categories with no ranking system (I wouldn’t want Alfie Kohn to get mad).

Best of…

Visit for the list.

FreeChild Project Youth Engagement Workshop Guide (RESOURCE)

October 20, 2010 at 10:27 am | Posted in AERO, New Resource | Leave a comment
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Freechild Project Youth Engagement Workshop Guide

Author: Adam Fletcher

Date: October 2010

Publisher: The Freechild Project

Location: Olympia, Washington

The Guide features 24 workshop outlines designed to help learning groups explore different aspects of Youth Engagement. All exercises are hands-on, interactive, and focused on practical applications. The workshops are designed for learners of all ages, including youth-only and adult-only groups.

Topics include:


  • Youth Voice
  • Youth-Adult Partnerships
  • Adultism
  • Communication

  • And More!

Get the Guide today:

Free to Learn: A Radical Experiment in Education (VIDEO)

October 18, 2010 at 9:02 pm | Posted in AERO, AERO Online Video Series, Democratic Education, New Resource | 1 Comment
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Free to Learn: A Radical Experiment in Education

Free to Learn:

A Radical Experiment in Education

A Documentary by Jeff Root & Bhawin Suchak

Free to Learn is a 70 minute documentary that offers a “fly on the wall” perspective of the daily happenings at The Free School in Albany, New York. Like many of today’s radical and democratic schools, The Free School expects children to decide for themselves how to spend their days.

The Free School, however, is unique in that it transcends obstacles that prevent similar schools from reaching a economically and racially diverse range of students and operates in the heart of an inner-city neighborhood.

For over thirty years in perhaps the most radical experiment in American education, this small inner-city alternative school has offered its students complete freedom over their learning. There are no mandatory classes, no grades, tests, or homework, and rules are generally avoided. As a last resort, rules are created democratically by students and teachers, often at the prompting of a student. At a time when our educators are mandated to march forward with no child left behind, the students of the Free School, many of whom would have fallen through the cracks of today’s failing public school system, have managed to slip out of education’s back door and have run away free.

Free to Learn follows a handful of these children courageously meeting the daily challenges of hope, acceptance, loss, friendship, conflict, and the difficult task of deciding, for themselves, what to do with each day.

Arrange a Screening & Contact Filmmakers:

View the study guide:

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The Free School, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, is dependent on a network of individual donors to continue offering its unique and innovative approach to education to students who need it. Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution today:

Please also consider purchasing a copy of Free to Learn to support AERO and the filmmakers who gave so much time and energy into making this wonderful resource.


A Humane Parenting Handbook for Parents of Young Children (RESOURCE)

August 25, 2010 at 11:43 am | Posted in AERO, New Resource | Leave a comment
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From our friends at the Institute for Humane Education:

Most parents have a shared interest in nurturing a just, compassionate, peaceful, sustainable world for their children, and raising children who are kind, conscientious, happy and healthy can be a special challenge in today’s world. Passionate about humane parenting and seeking shared support and connection, IHE M.Ed. graduate Kelly Coyle DiNorcia dedicated her Independent Learning Project (ILP) to creating a handbook for parents of young children (ages 18-36 months) to help them raise children with a humane ethic toward other people, other animals, and the earth.
According to Kelly, her handbook “guides parents, other family members, and other caregivers through the five elements of Humane Parenting….Specific techniques for dealing with common parenting concerns such as food choices, gift-giving occasions, literature and media selections, and teaching children about diversity are given.  The handbook concludes with a list of suggested books, periodicals, weblogs and organizations that parents are encouraged to consult for more information.”
Click the link below to download (The handbook begins on page 27 of the PDF file.).

Rethink Learning Now

July 22, 2010 at 11:57 am | Posted in AERO Conference, AERO Online Video Series, New Resource | Leave a comment
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Below are two public service announcements created by the Forum for Education and Democracy’s Rethink Learning Now Campaign.

Turning Points: 35 Visionaries in Education Tell Their Own Stories (BOOK)

June 9, 2010 at 11:45 pm | Posted in AERO, Education Events, Education News, New Resource | Leave a comment
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Turning Points

Turning Points


Contact: Isaac Graves, Outreach & Publicity

Press & Reviews:


Phone: (720) 475-1602  |  Fax: (720) 475-1623


Turning Points

35 Visionaries in Education Tell Their Own Stories

Edited by Jerry Mintz & Carlo Ricci

Foreword by Alfie Kohn

ISBN:  978-0-9745252-5-9

$29.95  |  432 Pages  |  6×9  |  Hardcover

Publish Date: July 1st, 2010  |  AERO (Alternative Education Resource Organization)

Visionary Authors Include:

Lynson Beaulieu, Sharon Caldwell, Lisa Delpit, Riane Eisler, Gustavo Esteva, John Taylor Gatto, Arnold Greenberg, David Gribble, Yaacov Hecht, Helen Hegener, Matt Hern, Don “Four Arrows” Jacobs, Mark Jacobs, Shilpa Jain, Herbert Kohl, Arnie Langberg, Mary Leue, Dennis Littky, Grace Llewellyn, Basir Mchawi, Deborah Meier, Chris Mercogliano, Ron Miller, Jerry Mintz, Pat Montgomery, Susan Ohanian, Kirsten Olson, Wendy Priesnitz, Carlo Ricci, Tim Seldin, Herb Snitzer, Len Solo, Lynn Stoddard, Zoe Weil


Thirty-five visionary educators were asked:

What was your schooling like?

When did you realize that there is a need for an alternative approach?

What have you done since to help realize that vision?

What are you doing now?

Turning Points is an anthology of their responses, a peek into the lives and journeys of these pioneering individuals who have—and are—transforming what it means to be a teacher, a student, and a life-long learner.

PRE-ORDER Turning Points today and find out more at

Advance Praise:

“The [educators] we’re looking for are those who say, “I want to work to change this system so others will be spared what was done to me.” They have the compassion and the courage to shake up the status quo and denounce cruel traditions. They’ve mastered the art of negative learning and developed a commitment to making the world, or at least whatever part of it they come to inhabit, a better place than it was before they got there.”
Alfie KohnEducation Week (adapted from the foreword)

Turning Points is unique and fascinating. It offers us insights into how some of our most significant educational innovators and visionaries experienced their own educations and how these experiences brought them to their callings as adults. The book is intriguing and informative both as biography and as insights into our history of educational innovation during the past 50 years.”
David Marshak
Coordinator of Explorations Academy Online, adjunct lecturer at Fairhaven College, and author ofThe Common Vision: Parenting and Educating for Wholeness

“Anybody interested in Education will find Turning Points enlightening!”
Zoë Neill Readhead
Principal, Summerill School in England

“Turning Points is a marvelous compilation of personal memoirs of progressive educators. From Alfie Kohn’s stirring introduction to the heartfelt, intimate stories of some of the most influential progressive educators of our times, this volume is a revelation. This book is for those of us who need to get started and for those who need to be rejuvenated.”
Rick Posner, Ph.D.
Author of Lives of Passion, School of Hope: How One Public School Ignites a Lifelong Love of Learning

Read more praise at

Lifted by the Heart (BOOK)

June 7, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Posted in AERO, New Resource | Leave a comment
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Lifted by the Heart

Lifted by the Heart

Writings from Option

Journal of Folk Education Association of America

Edited by Chris Spicer

Table of Contents:

The Becoming of a People, N.F.S. Grudtvig

Dedication, Mary Cattani

Foreword: A Story of Folk Education in North America, Chris Spicer

Selected Editorials, Kar Parke
Life’s Education, N.F.S. Grundtvig
Sing Appalachia, Johannes Knudsen
The Hodja and the Pulpit, Traditional
Between the Poets and the People, John Ramsay

The Roots of Folk Education
Peace-Clay, John Ramsay
Grundtvig in My Experience, Johannes Knudsen
How I Became a Folk School Teacher, Christian Kold
Det Folkelighe, Albert Haugesund On Firing the Smoke-toned Pot, Naoma Powell

Folk Education in North America
An Open Letter to the Poets of America, Leonard Randolph
Folk College Initiatives by Danish Immigrants in America, Otto Hoiberg
In Debt to Heritage, Elise Hermansen Olsen
Farmin’ Land, Chuck Floro
Adapting the Danish Folk School Idea to the United States, Chester A. Graham
The Clearing, Patricia A. Takemoto
Highlander Folk School, Myles Horton
Mountain Heritage, Don West
Culture: The Roots of Community Spirit, Jane Sapp
John & Olive Campbell, Pioneer Educators, Loyal Jones
Arthur E. Morgan, Grundtvig, and Education for Life, Griscom Morgan
Royce Pitkin: Founder of Goddard College, Evalyn Bates
Testimony, Don West
Residential Adult Education: A Canadian Memoir, R. Alex Sims
The Antigonish Movement and Its Team, Kay Parke
A Call for Diversity, Jonie Kristensen
The Story of Audubon Expedition Institute, Collen O’Connell & Louis Carl
The Story of Plaza Resolana, Kathleen Jimenez

Reflections on Folk Education
To Be a Folk School Teacher, Frederick Christensen
From Ideas to Everyday Practice, Johan Norbeck
The Folk College in America, Kay Parke
Folk Education: An Historical Perspective of FEAA, John Ramsay
Folk Education in the United States Today, Chris Spicer
Folk, Folkelighed, and Folk Education, Peter Siegle
N.F.S. Grundtvig’s International Influence on Education, Per Himmelstrup
The Archer and the Arrow, Traditional

Afterword, Chris Spicer

Author Biographies


Order Lifted by Heart this historical treasure at

Chris Spicer’s love of folk education is rooted in his early work in residential outdoor education programs in the early 1970s. His subscequent work has included a variety of experiential learning programs involving children and adults. He was the Education Director at the John C. Campbel Folk School (North Carolina) in the early 1980s and he led the Folk Education Association of America from 1989-2002.

Culturally Responsive Teaching (BOOK)

June 6, 2010 at 9:02 pm | Posted in AERO, New Resource | Leave a comment
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Culturally Responsive Teaching

Culturally Responsive Teaching

Theory, Research, & Practice

2nd Edition

by Geneva Gay

The achievement of students of color continues to be disproportionately low at all levels of education. More than ever, Geneva Gay’s foundational book on culturally responsive teaching is essential reading in addressing the needs of today’s diverse student population. Combining insights from multicultural education theory and research with real-life classroom stories, Gay demonstrates that all students will perform better on multiple measures of achievement when teaching is filtered through their own cultural experiences.

This bestselling text has been extensively revised to include:

  • Expanded coverage of student ethnic groups: African and Latino Americans as well as Asian and Native Americans.
  • A new section on standards and diversity.
  • New examples of culturally diverse curriculum content.
  • More examples of programs and techniques that exemplify culturally responsive teaching.
  • An emphasis on positive, action-driven possibilities in student–teacher relationships.
  • New material on culturally diverse communication, addressing common myths about language diversity and the effects of “English Plus” instruction.

Geneva Gay is Professor of Education and Associate of the Center for Multicultural Education at the University of Washington-Seattle.

Order the book at:

Praise for the First Edition!

A Choice recommended title.

“A comprehensive account of the important role that culture plays in the teaching and learning process.”
—Urban Education

“From her careful analysis of the educational research and best practices literature, and her wealth of experiences from working with Pre-K–18 students and teachers, Gay clearly explains how culturally responsive teaching can be used to dramatically influence the academic achievement of students of color and other marginalized students.”
—Carl A. Grant, University of Wisconsin at Madison

“Geneva Gay has written a passionate and inspiring book that provides a comprehensive explanation of culturally responsive teaching and how it can make a difference in the lives of students of color. She argues that all teachers, regardless of their ethnic group membership, must have the ‘courage, competence, and confidence’ to teach in a culturally relevant manner.”
—Christine Bennett, Indiana University

“Written by one of the leading interpreters of diversity in the schools, this book challenges all teachers to reconsider their pedagogical and personal approaches to young people in our nation’s increasingly multicultural classrooms.”
—Carlos E. Cortés, University of California, Riverside

College Without High School: A Teenager’s Guide to Skipping High School and Going to College (BOOK)

May 25, 2010 at 10:34 pm | Posted in AERO, New Resource | Leave a comment
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College Without High School

College Without High School

By Blake Boles

High school can be boring. High school curriculum can be frustrating and out of touch.

So what is the answer for young people whose creativity, bright ideas, and boundless energy are being stifled in that over-scheduled and grade-driven environment?

What would you do if you could go to college without going to high school? Would you travel abroad, spend late nights writing a novel, volunteer in an emergency room, or build your own company? What dreams would you be pursuing right now?

College Without High School shows how independent teens can self-design their high school education by becoming unschooled. Students begin by defining their goals and dreams and then pursue them through a combination of meaningful and engaging adventures.

It is possible to pursue your dreams, and gain admission to any college of your choice.

Boles shows how to fulfill college admission requirements by proving five preparatory results: intellectual passion, leadership, logical reasoning, background knowledge, and the capacity for structured learning. He then offers several suggestions for life-changing, confidence-building adventures that will demonstrate those results.

This intriguing approach to following your dreams and doing college prep on your own terms will be welcomed by students (and their parents).

Order today at:
Blake Boles has worked extensively with teens outside the traditional high school environment. He designs and leads innovative trips through Unschool Adventures. He has worked in a variety of fields, and holds a self-designed BA in education theory from the University of California at Berkeley. He lives in Portland, Oregon.
“Words fail me. This is the most inspiring, convincing, and practical case for self-directed learning that I’ve seen in many years. Mr. Boles draws on time management principles from the business world and on his own adventure-packed youth to map out a brilliantly simple way that people can live life to the fullest while also preparing masterfully for admission to college. If you believe, as I do, that our time on earth is a grand gift not to be squandered, then buy this book for all the teenagers you love, and watch as all manner of quests, discoveries, inventions, and miracles emerge.”
Grace Llewellyn, author of The Teenage Liberation Handbook: how to quit school and get a real life and education
“Mr. Boles has much to say worth thinking about and the reader will be grateful for how he says it, in clear, forceful prose uncluttered with the jargon of academia. A fresh new voice on the school scene. You won’t regret spending time with this book.”
John Taylor Gatto, author of Dumbing Us Down, The Underground History of American Education, and Weapons of Mass Instruction

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