There is no monolithic definition of democratic education or democratic schools. But what we mean here is “education in which young people have the freedom to organize their daily activities, and in which there is equality and democratic decision-making among young people and adults,” as quoted from AERO’s Directory of Democratic Education. These schools and programs take many forms and include public and private alternatives and homeschool resource centers.
AERO Alternative Education Ressource Organization History from 1989 in Sandy Lake, Ontario to 2015 conferences
Hundreds of schools are listed
The Ten Signs You Need to Find a Different Kind of Education for Your Child
by Jerry Mintz
- Does your child say he or she hates school?
- Does your child find it difficult to look an adult in the eye, or to interact with older or younger children?
- Does your child seem fixated on designer labels and trendy clothes for school?
- Does your child come from school tired and cranky?
- Does your child come home complaining about conflicts that they’ve had in school, or unfair situations that they have been exposed to?
- Has your child lost interest in creative expression through art, music, and dance?
- Has your child stopped reading or writing—or pursuing a special interest—just for fun? Are they investing the bare minimum in homework?
- Does your child procrastinate until the last minute to do homework?
- Does your child come home talking about anything exciting that happened in school that day?
- Did the school nurse or guidance counselor suggest that your child may have a “disease,” like ADHD, and should be given Ritalin or another behavior regulating drug?
Don’t Miss the AERO Conference, May 20-25 at LIU/Post University, near New York City!
The AERO conference is a unique event. There is no other one like it in the USA and only one other in the world, the IDEC, this year in New Zealand. It is a gathering of people who are involved with revolutionizing education, and who already have some of the answers. They demonstrate and work toward a learner-centered approach, one that empowers students, teachers and parents. It is based on the fact, confirmed by brain research, that children are natural learners and do not need to be forced to learn. In fact, if students are forced to learn it extinguishes their natural ability to learn, something that, unfortunately, happens in 95% of all schools.
One of this year’s keynote speakers is Sugata Mitra, winner of the TED Award and famous for the “Hole in the Wall Experiment” in which he put a computer in a wall in a slum area of India. Over the next few months the children not only taught themselves to use the computer, but also taught themselves English!
There will be five documentaries featured, some premiering, some with the filmmakers presenting! For example, Amy Valens, who made “Good Morning Mission Hill,” about the extraordinary public school Debbie Meier started, will present her film, and Debbie Meier will join her! Jeremy Stuart, who made the critically acclaimed “Class Dismissed,” which followed an unschooling family for two years, will come from California to present his documentary!to use the computer, but also taught themselves English!