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Letter From Taiwanese School Under Attack

Dear all,

This Heather from Taiwan.

Our school is in an emergency. We need your help!!

Humanity School’s Elementary and Junior High is funded by the government. It is run as a not for profit, founded by our parents, The Humanity and Differential Education Foundation. This model is sometimes translated as a “Charter School,” but it is not exactly the same as the way it is in America.

Yesterday we got a very sad news. The government announced to cancel the contract with our foundation!!! Which means, the Humanity School is being taken back by our local government!!!!

The main reason the local government is taking back Humanity School from us is: For a long time, we have been neglecting the academic achievement of our students. We receive payments in addition to government-funded tuition (For example, the budget that the government provides only supplies classes with a 1:30 teacher-student ratio, while the ratio of Humanity is 1:7. But we always seek for financial support for those in need.) Therefore, they say we are harming students’ growth and is socially unjust.

In the year of 2014, Taiwan passed the “Three Acts Governing Experimental Education”, which accredits three forms of experimental education: The Non-School Form, the School Form, and the Charter Form. By calling them “Experimental Education,” it means that none of these experimental initiatives are required to follow the national regulations, such as the national curriculum, among others.

We have always been proud of Taiwan’s policy change. But I feel it’s a shame that our school’s situation could still happen at a local level

How can I just let it happen and do nothing!?

So we need your help!

You can help us by doing the following steps:

  1. Take a short video (around 30 seconds), or write a letter. Tell everyone what the value you see in our school is, and in what way is our education important to the world.
    In the end of the video, please tell us: Where are you from, what is your name, what is your organization/position, and say “don’t kill the pride of Taiwan.”
  2. Where to put the video or letter? Please put on your Facebook page, hashtag #DontkilltheprideofTaiwan #別用框框扼殺孩子的未來 and also send the profile to for me.
    If it’s possible, please do it before December 10th, because we are in hurry.

Thanks for everything~~~
We will keep you updated when we have more information!

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A Letter to Everyone in the AERO Community

Dear AERO Community:

Sometimes we assume that all 14,000 of our readers know about everything that AERO does, has done, and wants to continue to do and why you should support us. Here is a short list of some of the things for which AERO has been a catalyst.

We helped start well over 100 schools and programs that we know of:

These include Brooklyn Free School, which was organized out of the International Democratic Education Conference that AERO hosted in 2003. In 2004 it became the first democratic school in New York City in decades. Now there are several others.

One of them was Manhattan Free School that has evolved into the Agile Learning Center. ALCs are now spreading around the world.

We also helped to start one of the first homeschool resource centers in England, A Place to Grow, in Stroud. It is now being replicated in other parts of England.

When Summerhill School was threatened with closure by the English education bureaucracy in the late 1990’s, AERO helped organize support for them around the world, including organizing the International Democratic Education Conference in 1999 at the school to demonstrate this support. Summerhill won their case and continues to this day.

When we helped organize the IDEC in Germany in 2005 democratic education was illegal there. We had the last day of the conference in a well known university and that was a game changer. Now there are democratic schools all over Germany.

AERO’s website is #1 on Google for Alternative Education. AERO has helped innumerable parents find educational alternatives for their children, and teachers find schools in which to teach. We also help people who want to start homeschooling. Mostly we do this free of charge. Furthermore, we often don’t hear  about people who find the resources they are looking for directly on our website, through our lists of member schools and democratic schools, for example. Many people have told us they have visited as many as 50 of the schools on our member list. Tens of thousands of people have accessed and copied the Ten Signs You Need a Different Kind of Education for Your Child. It has been translated into many languages.

We have over 600 member alternatives listed in 57 countries and 45 states. But it’s an open secret that we won’t remove any school that has ever joined because we know what an important resource it is for people who come to our website. So only about a third regularly renew their memberships. It’s a dilemma for us. Nobody ever asks us to have them be removed from this list because every student enrolled is worth thousands of dollars to them. We also provide current member schools with free job ads.

We used to publish Education Revolution as a quarterly magazine. People subscribed to it through paid membership. Now we publish Education Revolution free as an e newsletter every week, more than 50 times a year. Many people depend upon it for the latest news about learner-centered education.

AERO is a book publisher. We sometimes publish books that need to be published but can’t find a publisher. For example, we published the book of Nikhil Goyal, a 17-year-old student, One Size Does not Fit All. At the time we told him it could lead to having another book published by a mainstream publisher, and it did. His second book, Schools on Trial, was published by Doubleday. He is now getting his doctorate in England. AERO has now published more than a dozen books and e books. We also carry a hundred other hard to find books on educational alternatives in our online bookstore.

After AERO hosted the IDEC in 2003 we started having yearly AERO conferences and have now had 14 of them. Even though many of our attendees are not wealthy and our conference fees are very low, we’ve had keynoters who might ordinarily be expected to be at much higher-powered events. These included people such as Zoe Readhead, Head of Summerhill, Sir Ken RobinsonSugata MitraRiane Eisler, Mimsy Sadovski of Sudbury Valley SchoolAlfie KohnYong ZhaoPeter GrayDebbie Meier, Yaacov Hecht and dozens more!

Many organizations and documentaries got their initial launch at an AERO conference and make good use of AERO’s resources to keep their important work going.

AERO is one of a very select few organizations in the world that brings anyone interested in educational alternatives and the idea of people as natural learners together under one banner.

We appreciate everyone in the AERO network and AERO truly is all of you. Just staying subscribed to the e newsletter and going to the AERO website do help us some because we have advertisers that support us. But if you want to help in a more substantial way and keep us doing this work please get our books, downloadsenroll in our coursescome tothe AERO conferencemake a tax-deductible donation, or better still, join the AERO elite and become a sustaining member for as little as $5 a month.

Your support will enable AERO to continue the transformational work it has been doing for decades and embark on new initiatives. We need much more support to really be a catalyst for the Education Revolution. Only you can help us do that! We’re not satisfied to just survive.

We know we don’t need to put in any special carrots or gimmicks! Nevertheless, all donors will get free membership or membership extension and a signed copy of my book.

Thank you for your support.


Jerry and the AERO Team

You can make your donation here.
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The Difference Between Personalized Learning and Learner-Centered Education

This week I was reading about Personalized Education in one of the newsletters we receive. We’ve heard a lot about this lately and the term seems to be used more and more. You might ask, does this mean that our concept of learner-centered education is being widely adopted?

Well, not necessarily. When we talk about learner-centered education in our schools we include the concept that what students learn should be based upon and built from their interests. And in the case of democratic schools, students are specifically empowered to make significant decisions about themselves, their education and their schools.

It could be argued that learner-centered education is a form of personalized education. But is personalized education learner-centered education? When you look carefully at what some schools and educators mean by this you discover that they are talking about an education DESIGNED BY TEACHERS to fit what they believe each student needs. It seems to me that this is quite different from learner-centered education. What do you think? We’d like to hear. Write to us. We’ll print some of your comments.

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World Premier of Children’s Village Documentary

Filmmaker Marvin Blunte has made an incredible documentary about Moo Baan Dek, The Children’s Village, a very special school/orphanage in rural Thailand. I have known about it for decades, as it was inspired by Summerhill and runs democratically. The film, “6 Weeks to Mothers Day,” will have its world premier on Thursday November 16th at the DOC NYC film festival in lower Manhattan at the IFC Center.
It was founded 38 years ago by Rajani Dhongchai, known as Mae Aew, or Mother and her husband, Piphop. The film centers around the celebration of Mothers Day 38 years after Mae Aew founded the Village. She will be at the showing and will see the film for trhe first time!
It is very skillfully filmed and has many insightful and dramatic scenes. For example one shows two young twins meeting with their birth parents for their first time in memory.  There are also several scenes with democratic meetings. The documentary is not a public relations piece but shows a variety of real life situations and issues.
If you are in the New York area, don’t miss this. Tickets are going very fast but here’s a link to get them.
If tickets are sold out please email: and let them know you would like to be put on the waiting list. Additional screenings my be added.
6 WEEKS TO MOTHER’S DAY is also collaborating with Google Expeditions to create a virtual reality (VR) field trip, where teachers and students can use Google Cardboard to be transported to Children’s Village Thailand. This will be the first ever Expedition available in both English and Thai, further solidifying Mother Aew as one of the most progressive minded teachers in the country. Special edition “6 Weeks to Mother’s Day” Google Cardboards will be handed out to the audience after the DOC NYC screening, and instructions will be posted on the film’s Facebook page.
If you are further afield you can look for other places the film will show and you can reach the filmmaker at
or follow them on their social media pages here: